Sunday, 24 April 2011

Mo' Peas...beans and onions

Two visits to the allotment this week = good times. First visit Parsley, Weasel and I transported down runner beans to be dropped off at the pavilion. Spoke quite a bit with John and Sue about PESKY KIDS coming through the fence near the storm drain, running over all the plots. Little buggers! It's an ongoing battle to keep them out.

I planted two varieties of onions in nice straight lines (snigger) as Parsley pointed out to her daughter how often my bum crack was on show. Let's say about 99% of the time. Took a lot longer than expected. This was due to the soil being rock hard, cracked up into uncompromising slabs and boulders. If it wasn't the soil, it was layers of hay strewn horse manure...dried!

Oregano: 'Bloody hell this is hard! It's all rocks and dried tobacco leaves!'
Parsley: 'Haaa!'
Weasel: 'Haaaaaaaaaaah!' (Laughing at my bum falling out all the time, not my quip).

It was however a glorious allotment afternoon, splashed with gold.

Once home, I was fairly vivified by the time spent on the allotment. I cleared our 'wood store' comprised of kindling and treated planks, tipping some compost in for good measure. This was for our new herb and salad bed! Yeah winks!

* * *

Second trip was hardcore rugged and raw. Utterly rushed after spending a hellish half hour at Homebase, nearly arguing with an Oliver Reed lookalike for getting in the way, slapping four 60 litre bags of compost on a wonky donkey trolley, then getting the hell out of there, I legged it over to Parsley and Cakeatonne's. We (Cake and I) took down several lengths of wood, bantering about the size of our snakes / pythons, all the while trapping the skin of our arms, laughing, screaming etc, all the way down to the allotment. We dropped off the wood then met Alan (Parsley's dad in case you're new or have forgotten). He'd brought along some special stakes which would act as support for the beams, which in turn would support the beans! Arriba arriba! For the first time in my life I saw a swarm of bees, I don't mean a couple of winged dudes hanging around in a heat haze, I mean hundreds of buzzing insects about seven feet in the air. We beat a hasty retreat.

Whilst Cakeatonne and Alan erected the posts (I told you DIY was not my thing) I plucked out weeds from the carrot bed, aka a 70s bath raised from the ground on bricks. I didn't fail to take some photos though, as you can see.

Once the frames were up and tied together, I cut lengths of string that would run over both sides, in order that the runners could climb up them. In itself not a hard task, but Dieu, it was hot. The sweat was running down my face like it was going out of fashion. I kept on cowering under the trees, atop a pile of earth and weeds. Cakeatonne came back, armed with tent pegs and two forks. There's a joke and punchline in there somewhere, alas I have not the power to summon one at present. Tied the strings round the pegs (ten in total), making sure they were nice and taut. Cakeatonne forked over the plot behind us so we could put more stuff in. We swapped jobs half way through. Digging and a piggin, forking and a squawking on a blazing hot day is saved for Greek gods not Kings Heathians! Nonetheless we overcame. It's no mean task getting frames up, digging up hoochy coochy and then planting stuff on a day determined to turn your flesh to wax and joyously watch you melt into a puddle. Spring you say? No man, Summer's come early. Paaayce.

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