Friday, 8 February 2013

A load of shit

Ah. Me. With manure.
It comes to something when a couple of hours spent with a load of shit leaves you with a grin on your face.

But sure enough, this afternoon’s endeavours have left the warm glow of satisfaction, as well as the slight, but not unpleasant, ache of muscles that have never hefted manure – or a wheelbarrow – before.

As mentioned a few days ago, Hackney City Farm, which is only a five-minute walk through the park at the back of us, had said that I was welcome to a load of manure – and they’d even let me use one of their barrows to wheel it home.

Indeed, I got the manure free, as I’m “community”, which chuffed me rather a lot. Actually, I gave them a donation, but they were reluctant to take it initially, since they didn’t want me to think that I had to do that.

Very nice people and a really friendly environment.

And a big ‘hello’ to Larry the Donkey and all the other residents, plus all the carers, at the farm.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve toddled down occasionally on weekends when The Other Half is away.

It’s easy to assume that such a place is for young families with tots, but I find it has something to ofer the likes of me too.

I have real, concrete memories of staying on farms for holidays as a child. And they are valued, loved memories.

And discovering that I can wander just a short distance from my middle-of-a-bleedin-big-city home, and smell the same smells that I remember fondly from farms, is not – how shall I put it – unwelcome.

And after all, we only think it’s a ‘bad’ smell, if we don’t remember what it means and how incredibly productive and life-promoting what makes that smell can be.

But anyway, if you’re up this way, Hackney City Farm is very well worth a visit. There’s a nice cafĂ©, with fresh food, too, plus the opportunity to buy such things as fresh eggs.

Anyway, let’s go back a bit. It’s probably a bit early to say that today has been ‘a job well done’, since the job isn’t finished yet, but it’s certainly a case of ‘a job well started’.

Before any digging in.
Although it wasn’t the only soil-improving arrival today,

Les from Halifax – or more pertinently, from a shop just off Columbia Road – brought me up two 60l bags of organic all-purpose compost.

The majority is going on the same bed, but some will be used for sowing the first batch of seeds that will sit in the new growhouse.

God, I love discovering real, local, independent businesses! And is it any coincidence that the service is almost always so much better?!

I have to say, I was also absolutely thrilled when Les, having driven into the car park and pulled up right next to my precious bed, looked at it and praised what I’d done.

I was elated – really.

Now because of the lack of readily-available hot water this week, much of my intended cooking and preserving has been put on hold, so it’s been rather easy to see the week as a failure – or at least a part-failure.

But what I’ve managed to do in terms of the garden is pretty good – I’m on track for everything I wanted to achieve. And that can’t possibly be bad.

What remains is more digging in, plus a lot of sowing. And, err, that’s it.

To add, I’ve just joined the RHS and I feel all sort of frizzy and excited. I hope you understand.

And finally – a big shout out to Larry the Donkey, and all the other residents (and helpers) at Hackney City Farm. You really do rock, guys and guyettes.

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