Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Z looks at the garden and worries

The Sage and I went out into the garden and solemnly discussed what needs to be done. It's depressing. I mean, it was quite positive in that we agreed on the first things to do -some of those 5' tall weeds that Al mentioned on the bee blog must be cut down and cleared, then we can finish (or nearly finish, there's another section that has Jerusalem artichokes over it at present) making the concrete paths. We will also decide on the size and position of the shed that Al and I want to make. It will be a lean-to against the wall, and we'll be able to keep pots and tools in it.

We also agreed that we need to clear the bit between the soft fruit and the stream, so that we can put up rabbit-proof netting.

There's some problem regarding the wall. It was meant to be a 4-year project, but this is the 4th year and the Sage kept vetoing bricks until last autumn, when he finally found some he would accept. I just can't face another 4 years while we build it slowly, but the alternative seems to be getting a brickie in to do it in a great hurry - as taking his slow time while I *help*would also waste it and that's too expensive - and I'm reluctant to let go of this project. I'm not at all happy about it, but I'll let it mull.

The area around the lawn which we cleared last autumn was not entirely completed - there's some stuff I can't shift, and the Sage is a keen starter but not, I'm afraid, a completer of tasks; he thinks that 90% is enough, whereas sometimes it's the last bit that makes it all pull together. I am a completer (though not too good at getting started) and this has always been hard for me to cope with. Anyway, we've agreed on the way forward there, and also to get a new smaller lawnmower; either electric or at least with a key start, so that I can mow the grass as I want it regularly. I think that there's nothing more counter-productive than nagging and husbands, like children, have a hair-trigger 'off' switch when they're reminded of something too often. Better to work out another way to solve the problem.

The front field has been simply mowed for hay for some years, but we'd quite like to have it grazed. It needs to be fenced before this can be done, and water provided. He's busy sorting this out and that will be excellent. The grass was mowed yesterday and it looked an excellent crop. It's lovely quality hay, as it isn't fed and watered but grows naturally, so has very good flavour. Or so I'm told. I haven't tried eating it myself. We finally seem to have got rid of the ragwort, with several years hand-weeding (a tedious job in a 4 acre field) so it's safe for animals to eat.

Anyway, yes, it was positive in that we decided what needs to be done most urgently and we agreed on everything except the wall, which we have agreed to wait and see how I feel in a few more weeks about, but there's just so much to do and we're both very busy and one of us is a bit lacking in physical strength and neither of us (one more than the other) is as young as we used to be. But although I'm feeling a bit anxious about the amount to be done, what we are doing is going to make things better than they are now. So I suppose it's positive overall. In its way.

The other thing is that Phil and I, having worked very hard for the past few days, got used to a lunchtime (short) sit-down with a can of beer. I rather want a drink right now as a consequence. Also, it might get me wildly cheerful again and thus able to go and tackle some of the garden instead of worrying about it. I think that'd be a good idea, don't you?

40 comments:

Dandelion said...

Dear z, how did it get like this, if you don't mind me asking?

LizSara said...

Yes to the beer, then enthusiastically tackle every weed in sight.

Z said...

It took remarkably little work actually, Dandelion. I think another post will be wanted to explain though.

Yay, Lizsara, and I've just made soup too - a girl must have lunch...

Dave said...

I quite enjoy bricklaying, although I suspect I will not be up to the sort of standard that a man who takes 4 years to decide on the bricks would expect. Otherwise I'd offer to help - in a few months, once I've got settled in.

john.g. said...

A female Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ?

Z said...

Watch out, Dave, or I might take you seriously and take you up on that.

Female, certainly, John.

Dave said...

Well, if all you want is a rustic-looking job, I might seriously be available for some jobbing-building come the autumn.

Dave said...

Seriously.

Z said...

Dave, I'm taking you seriously.

The footings are in and it is to be about 5 foot high, one course deep and about 100 foot long, with one corner and one break for a gate. The footings were laid by a professional brickie, so are good. The wall needs to be good too, as it's quite tall for not being two bricks thick. Also, I want to take part in the building.

The Sage's word goes around here and when he vetoes, I obey (unless he's wrong of course). But if you are still interested and think you could work with me (I'm not that annoying, honestly, and I am dogged and not at all girly about getting nails broken and stuff), I'll have a chat with the Sage and see what he says. He has a Polish brickie lined up, potentially, which is sensible but not quite in acccordance with my dream.

Z said...

'Course, I should really have replied in an email. But now you all know what I said, and you were wondering, weren't you?  *apple with bite taken out that only shows in Safari (I lost that argument big time, didn't I?)*

Dave said...

I would be delighted. I will throw in a caution about my health - if I get a stone passing I may not be up to much, and similarly will not be able to cope with doing 12-hour days.

I'll also need to unpack at my place and at least make a start on my own garden, so realistically wouldn't be available until say the middle of September.

I do have my own trowels.

Dave said...

Oooh. The middle of September. That's my birthday, of course.

Z said...

And mine, darling, just over a week before. Shall I make a cake or scones?

Regarding the wall, I will have a chat with the Sage.

Id Entity said...

What a nice little chit-chat you two have been having!

Incidentally, how does one polish a "brickie", as you so endearingly call the things?

Z said...

One uses a hod and a frog, I believe.

Id Entity said...

Remarkable!

Id Entity said...

But why not a hoddie and a froggie?

Dave said...

Because that would be silly, id.

I have the feeling, z, that id is itching to help us build your wall, but is too shy to say.

Z said...

Neither of us would ever want to leave out id, Dave.

Blue Witch said...

That's a day's work for a Polish brickie! Two at the outside. It'd be money well spent and you could work with him, mixing cement and stuff. You'd then learn how to do it properly and would be able to do it next time (if you must).

Mr BW made a wonderful raised herb garden with incorporated seats when we first moved in. I think he laid about 20 bricks in the first hour. It took ages to do. It was good, but it didn't warrant hat amount of his time or effort.

When we wanted to make a 9' high curved wall for a Mediterranean garden, we had Cleaner BW's husband (a builder) do the brickwork, and Mr BW did the labouring. They started at 9am and had built the whole wall by 2pm.

We'll be building another wall soon. Or rather, Mr Cleaner BW will. There are more important things in life than building walls. And it is very, very, very hard work. Especially for people of your ages ;)

Dave said...

But building walls is fun.

The Boy said...

Building walls is fun only if you know what you're doing and don't get frustrated every five minutes and throw down your tools. Not that I'd know from experience however...

Definately worth netting the bunnies away, though we're currently having problems with squirrels getting into the soft fruit cage. Nearly the whole crop of currants has been plundered. I am considereing getting a gun.

Id Entity said...

Cleaner BW?? Does that mean you are Dirty BW, BW?

Dave is right, building walls is wicked fun.

If something is done by choice, and for pleasure, I don't see how it can possibly be hard work, no matter how big the job, or how strenuous, or how long one spins it out. I'm not even sure that knowing what you're doing is entirely a requirement, though of course, if it's a finished product you're after, it probably helps. Isn't that what books and pieces of string are for?

Now then, isn't the frog the empty caved out part of some types of brick, which helps to make a stabler wall, on account of the cement being able to go up inside it?

And yes, I would LOVE to help do brick-laying.

Dave said...

Well, id, I'm sure z would be delighted to invite you up to Norfolk (I realise nothing else would get you up here) in the autumn, and we can have a lovely wall-building gang.

You clearly know all the technical terms.

I've got two trowels, two yard-long spirit levels, lump hammer, bolsters, books etc. Perhaps you can supply the 100' of string.

Dave said...

That's two spirit levels, each one yard long, not one very long one. that would just be silly.

Oh, and z's baking scones for our joint birthday celebrations (spread over a week) then too.

Dave said...

I'm sorry z. I shouldn't have presumed to invite someone else to your house without the Sage's permission. You'll end up with all your blog-pals wanting to spoil your fun now (apart from Blue Witch, obviously).

We'll keep this wall-building lark our little secret, shall we?

Z said...

Hang on, hang on, I go to the Norfolk Show for ONE day and I come home to find all this.

Yes, I know, BW - but if I'd wanted a wall magically to go up in a day, I'd have had that done at the same time as the footings were put in. We have some other work for the Polish chap, who works for a builder friend of ours, so how the Sage and I had left it was that we'd get that done and see how we get on with him and all that and then decide what to do; which was the point at which I wrote this post.

But it had always been meant to be a project for us, and I'd never minded the thought of it taking a while. However, in the last 4 years I've - er- got older and stuff and I appreciate that it's beyond us alone. But in my mind, it's still in the nature of a hobby thing, although I know perfectly well that I'm not being particularly sensible - but hey, have I ever struck you as sensible?

In short, you're right. And if I don't follow your advice, it won't be that I don't appreciate you having given it, and thank you for sounding cautious notes. I prefer the thought of the wicked fun and the hard manual work, because I love getting stuck in to things (that's not the same as stuck in things or stuck into things, BTW) - but the Sage and I will talk it over and decide; there's no great hurry.

Z said...

Id, don't be so cheeky. BW is being helpful. MInd you, she did point out how old Dave and I are, so she's being cheeky too.

Well done on the frog, I was testing you.

If this all goes ahead, those who have any idea what they are doing (or not, heck I don't) will be welcome to come and help (though I'm not offering to pay anyone but Dave). Lunch and scones will be provided of course, with or without meat/vegetables/gluten/nuts or any other dietary requirements. Boy and Blue Witch can come and judge the finished efforts, check out the kitchen garden with its new netting and see how the bees are getting on.

Z said...

Oh, and I never throw down my tools. I find someone to hug, if appropriate, and try again, and get all happy when it finally goes right.

Dave said...

dave wasn't looking for payment. Some scones and pleasant company will suit him fine.

Z said...

Dave, now I'm embarrassed. I hope I haven't hurt your feelings.

Dave said...

No, you're right. I did speak about jobbing-building, and of course have spoken in the past about surviving frugally on a half-pension.

I'd just be embarrassed myself to take money for something I do as a hobby, and may not do up to your standards.

And if the wall fell down a week later, you might expect me to come back and mend it if you'd paid me.

Z said...

We'll talk about it. We're all far too buttoned-up and British to discuss money in public.

If I don't lean my considerable weight on the wall, whyever would it fall down?

Kelly said...

Hello z...

Have you checked Dave's credentials,is he a bricklayer or a layer of bricks?

Z said...

Nice one, Kelly, and welcome indeed with comments such as that. I believe that Dave is dropper of bricks and fisher of men.

Id Entity said...

Hey! I wasn't being cheeky, I was merely asking obliquely who on earth "Cleaner BW" is, and cleaner than whom. Anyway, a person can only be cheeky to a person who is older than them, can't they?

luckyzmom said...

What delightful comments. Sorry I missed the party!

Z said...

We're still planning, LZM - this won't happen before September!

Gordie said...

You always seem so in control of your life, I must say this is a delicious diversion.

Z said...

In control? Oh Gordie, whatever gave you that idea?