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Showing posts from 2022

Kitchen Hygiene

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30/6/22, A Thursday. Yesterday’s forecast suggested ‘light rain’ but the clouds clearly had not paid that much attention. Yesterday’s washing is sagging on the line, dripping like it's been dropped in a pond. We did not check the weather this morning; we drank our coffee, listened to the birds shrill, and lest this sound too much of a rural idyll, also scrolled our phones for emails and social media whatevers. We speak to each other too, Mr and I. This morning’s chat ruled out repurposing old carpets for suppressing weeds on the bare-earth areas on our land, due to possible contamination of the soil and transportation cost. We chose terram, a geotextile fabric, instead, which we will buy new but be able to reuse. We tog up for a land trip (which for me includes flower earrings, a pretty hair tie, maybe a polka-dot scarf; this is part of my fun-on-the-land policy, which in turn is part of preventing burnout), taking a tape measure to check how much terram to purchase. At the land

Theft, Solstice, Sweetpea

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Theft: At first we thought: we have moved them and forgotten. We went home from the land and looked- we doubted ourselves and went back to the land. The stable was all locked up as expected, so how our Mitsubishi strimmer (fitted with a scrub cutting blade) and our long poled Tanaka hedge trimmer had been stolen was a mystery until our contractor told us he’d found a latch on the floor- he thought it had fallen out and had pushed it back into place. (That’s the downside of honest people, they don’t expect dishonesty.) On closer inspection the marks of it being prised off were visible. From now on we will be noting all serial numbers, indelibly marking all articles of worth, photographing things, and remembering to complete our insurance documents. While we work on upgrading security we have moved all the expensive things to a secure lock-up. Obviously, it’s not an actual tragic occurrence. No life or limbs lost, and we will purposely look to the bright side: how much we’ve learned abou

On Track

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  The grass track was supposed to be a fairly straight run from the top gate to the bottom gate. It had additional wiggles where the muddy spots had snagged a wheel. I will not miss digging the van out of muddy trouble, or pushing it. We rarely dared to drive uphill. The stone track gently curves to follow the land. It will need compacting before we call it a job done- but here we are, driving uphill, downhill, hearing the stone crunch, not quite believing what our ears and eyes are confirming. It’s a silly-hot day, we barely get any work done, and every job we do wanders back to the stone line and rechecks: yep, it’s here. We did dream it, but then we ordered all this stone and now it’s real. So, what next? Of course, there’s a list we can refer to, and subdivisions of lists depending on which segment of our project we deem to be the next practical step. So..? It’s easy to write lists. The first item usually starts ‘research…’ because we are edging along a tightrope here, a couple

Yes!

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June’s weather has been issued in short spells: sunny-dry, sunny-drizzle, cloudy, downpour, rainbows, humid, might-rain-might-be-blowy. Washing is on the line to dry or to get an extra rinse. Roses bloom, and when I get a chance to check the polytunnel there are tomato plants rising, the strawberries and nasturtiums are zooming over the path, the lovage has doubled. When I get to the land, with Mr, Old Dog, and grandchildren 6 & 7 (aged 4 and 3 respectively) there are tracks through it. This is magic to all of us: we, the adults who instructed this progress and fully expected to see it, and the children to whom this is pure surprise. Knowledge is no impediment to murmuring ‘wow’ and savouring the press of our boots into bare earth as we wander up through the fickle mizzle. I see the levelled area which will become an outdoor kitchen: it’s mud and scraped nettle root and it makes my heart boom YES THIS IS IT! We walk to the top field to admire the yellow digger, the huge blue tra

The Silly Ones

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After six months or so of diary reports that make the speed of progress indelibly clear- slow, edging around various constraints, meshed with life in general, savoured, scary, and delightful- I am whittling reportage to (mainly, anyway, one must be wary of making rash promises) a series of snapshots from our land journey. I want to focus on the specifics of bringing a dream to life- I want to bring you, Dear Reader, closer to the process. I want to share. So come with me, and Mr, and our wonky arthritic but otherwise healthy-happy Dog, and feel free to chortle as we set up camp in the stable on a June night. The day has been glorious, summery, hot. The stable is cool, dusty underfoot. There is still a roll of dung in each corner, dried like cement. There are mouseholes, ratholes, old spiderwebs thick as ropes. There is sunlight sneaking through the gaps, there is a calmness here, there is birdsong and a swoop of wind through leaves. We fix our camping mattresses on top of the sofa

We Are The Flow

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This week I was a stranded fish. Time and tasks rolled me onto the shore where I couldn't catch a calm breath; where everything is a struggle, and even though I know that overwhelm is part of this Bringing Dreams To Life process, it gets to me. No big problem has caused this, it's more that I lost focus and perspective after doing housework instead of writing, but I don't want to live in a disgusting mess all of the time.  If you've been following my year, you will probably know this pattern. You will know that I just need a minute, then I'm back to swimming and laughing. It is a pattern, it has a repeat.  So, dear Reader, where are you? In the flow, on the shore, caught in a current?  I am not so caught up that I don't think of you, I just forget to tell you that. But if you listen to the water, to the wind, to the shuffle of the sand, the twist of a leaf- here we all are. We are not isolated, not separated. We are the flow. We reach under the surf, under the d

Bunting And Butts

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14/5/22 Saturday I am at work. Hydrotherapy on a warm spring day leaves us relaxed like rag dolls. Washing is pegged and dried on the line. I had to add extra water to the lupin which appeared to have fainted. All the pots are well mulched but they dry out anyway. Luckily the maintenance is pleasing. I tell the plants how beautiful they are, and taste-test the mint. Mr is out at Paddock Garden cutting up felled trees and clearing nettles to make compost tea while Dog slumbers in the stable. 15/5/22 Sunday I peg washing on the line before leaving for work; as I start the car a light shower also begins. Goodbye washing, enjoy your second rinse! At work we have a mission of putting together some jubilee planters, so we scour the garden department at Homebase for red, white, and blue blooms. I have mixed feelings about the jubilee, partly because the world is on fire and that seems more important. I’m neither a royalist nor a hater. It was good to have a Queen when I was growing up, she w

Planting, Plans, Pants, And Perfection

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7/5/22 Saturday I am raring to be back to work shenanigans. Little Care Client has not been well though, so she is having a quiet sleepy day. We make do with a YouTube beach; the garden pots are watered, the window ajar, the washing machine rumbling. Mr is at Paddock Garden clearing the storm-felled ash, ready for track building times. As is usual, we are not sure when our contractor will appear. It's a little frustrating mixed with the excitement of surprise. 8/5/22 Sunday Coffee in bed, listening to birdsong, peering at weather forecasts. Watered the polytunnel which seems untenanted since last week’s pest control clearance. It will soon fill up: lulls and excess is how it rolls. My drive to work starts sunny; gathers mist from Bodmin onwards. My legs are cold but my dress has a bright floral print, my scarf is cobalt blue, my shoes are giraffe print and fun. At work I have shopping chores - batteries for the noisy toys little Care Client loves the best, and canes for her pea

The Week Of Clarke And Covid

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30/4/22 Saturday It’s not odd to wake up achy. Yesterday I was dragging and rolling logs, amongst other land tasks. I don’t feel right though, so I take a covid test before thinking about heading to work. The control line is bold red, the test line is barely visible but it’s not not there... message my coworker to pre-warn her that I might not be arriving, though the result may be erroneous. Wait one hour. Re-test. Both lines bold red. Mr’s test is negative, putting him on nurse duty. It feels wrong, at first, not to be off to work, but while I am sitting in bed reading up on the pros and cons of stone tracks; drainage issues in particular; the excitement of having a rest kicks in. Mr goes to the shops and comes home with a cream tea.  1/5/22 Sunday The last calendar month of spring begins with light rain, light grey sky, barely a breeze. The hedge birds have a lot to say; swallows swoop by the bedroom window so fast I see only a fork-tailed blur. Today I rest, I write. 2/5/22

Unusual Koalas

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23/4/22 Saturday Coffee and stretches start this day, then I go off to work and Mr readies himself to meet Contractor Thomas on the land, to talk tracks and flat areas for camping pitches. (This meeting has taken around 5 months to arrive, and that’s how it goes with land plans, folks.) Hydrotherapy sessions have restarted, so to keep our care client entertained but not tired prior to this we have set up disco lights to play over her mat where she sits with her toys. It’s a cool clouded day and we are all disco-dappled and listening to birdsong on YouTube. 24/4/22 Sunday Rain, moderate, mostly over Bodmin Moor. Our care client is tired from her hydrotherapy yesterday, she plays on her mat in between snoozes. We have lakeside and beach scenes courtesy of YouTube; she loves the sounds of nature, I love pretending to be on a writing retreat. Get writing done in short bursts. It is not easy to world build in break times like this, but we edge through it. I type ‘we’ here because Care Clien