Weatherwise, we’ve just had a pretty much ideal weekend. Warm enough to spend most of our time outside but not so warm that no-one wants to do anything. Perfect gardening weather, in fact, which is why all of the nettles around the house have now been pulled. And, since it’s spring, the strawberries are starting to emerge, the blackberries are blossoming and there is even some fruit on the cherry tree.
None of the cherries are ripe yet, of course, which is why we can still see them. I’m sure the birds will be along soon.
We’ve had the cherry tree for several years now and every year I promise myself that I will beat the birds and treat myself to a home-grown cherry. Maybe, just maybe, this year will be the year.
We have more pumpkins. This is the most incredible plant. Once it’s in the ground, I do absolutely nothing apart from a (very) occasional spot of weeding and yet it keeps on growing and today we harvested two more.
The big on is 21 kilos, the largest we’ve managed so far, and there are more out there still growing strongly.
Back in February I attempted to cut down a tree. It’s quite a big tree and the branches were stretching over the road, managing to cause problems for anyone trying to bring a van down the street. I say attempted because, although (with some help) I managed to remove the branches, the trunk proved too much of a challenge for my underpowered chainsaw and borrowed ladder.
And now it’s gone. And yes, I did have a lot of help.
The original plan was to remove the root as well but, given the risk of causing our wall and the neighbour’s drive to collapse, we decided that it would probably be best to leave it where it was. So this stump is all that remains of the almighty tree.
This means, of course, that I shall be spending the next few weekends chopping and clearing. I think we’re going to have enough firewood for the next three years.
Following on from yesterday’s post I can report that, with some help from our neighbour, I have successfully disentangled the pumpkin plant from the fence. We ended up having to cut away some of the plant but managed to avoid removing any of the actual pumpkins.
The neighbour was even kind enough to return the big pumpkin that had been growing on his side of the fence. All 11 kilos of it.
I also planted courgettes earlier this year and we harvested the first one yesterday. It’s a pretty decent size although I haven’t gotten around to weighing it.
While weeding and clearing, we discovered this little lady helping to protect the plants.
After some searching, I think she’s a wasp spider (Argiope bruennichi) and I know that she sent me down an internet rabbit hole for much of the evening. They are fascinating wee beasties.
I tried not to disturb her too much but all of our banking about was enough to send her into hiding at some point during the day. I hope she comes back, though, as she provides a cheerfully colourful way of keeping my vegetables pest free.
I haven’t being paying a lot of attention to the vegetable patch recently, which is why the pumpkin plant has been able to grow completely out of control. Not only has it climbed the neighbours’ fence, but it has also grown a spectacularly large pumpkin on their side of said fence.
We have already told the neighbours that they can keep the pumpkin, unless it turns out to be the most impressive one we manage this year. I do, however, need to ensure that the weight of the plant doesn’t cause any actual damage so today I shall be mainly tying to exert some sort of control over this stationary triffid.
Way back in 2014, we acquired a trio of chickens. Chickens don’t live that long and when the first one died, Eve decided to go out and buy three more, and so we had five. Of those five, three grew old and died and two decided to up sticks and move in with the rooster next door.
This left us with no chickens at all. Until Friday.
And now we have three again and, I’m promised, these are a bit tamer than the last lot and less inclined to climb over, under or bite through the fence that should keep them safely in their chicken run.
This weekend, I spent Saturday mainly trying to cut down a tree.
The tree in question has been here longer than we have and its higher branches are leaning over the collection of stones that we laughingly refer to as the road. It doesn’t look too bad now but, come summer when all the leaves have regrown, it does block the street somewhat. Worse, though, is when autumn comes around and the fallen leaves become a bit of a nightmare for everyone.
So down it has to come. And down most of it came on Saturday.
The tree is quite high (over 10 metres) so those higher branches are not easy to reach without help. Fortunately I did have help, and a borrowed ladder long enough to reach the top of the tree.
We started with the branches, cutting them off and then clearing them out of the way. This proved to be pretty straightforward and we made progress a lot more quickly than I had expected.
Unfortunately, the trunk proved to be too much of challenge for my 40cm chainsaw blade, so the tree is still standing, silently defiant.
I’m hoping to be able to borrow a bigger chainsaw in the near future but until then, I have a whole stack of branches that need to be chopped and stacked for next winter.
In fact I have more than a single tree’s worth of branches as I also took advantage of having such a high ladder sitting around to trim back some of the previously unreachable branches on several other trees around the house.
But the logging is for the future because, having spent six hours handling a hot chainsaw, I decided I deserved to put my feet up and enjoy a cold beer before the rest of the family returned.
Today was the day that we finally decided to harvest the pumpkins. It’s not a bad haul this time around, especially when you take into account the number of times I have caught cats and/or chickens in there.
The biggest of the pumpkins weighed in at 14.35 kilos, which is impressive for me.