Bonfire. Pub Lunch. Chutney. Packing for the Pyrenees. Mega Mow – and frogs.
I spent Tuesday at Winchester. A long day but all good in the end.
Wednesday was dedicated to bonfiring.
The pile of hedge cuttings and large pond clearings had got very wet, multiple times, so it was a slow and smoky bonfire.
In between I repositioned the hopefully fixed (no longer leaking) water butt, scooped out blanketweed from the small pond and poured in 250ml Tetra AlgoFin, raked the goner apples (and gorging digger bees) into the ditch and picked two big buckets of apples from the Laxton tree, which went on to occupy 4 trays in the apple rack and there are still plenty to go. I’m contemplating setting up “Abbey Dore Apples” PYO and chutney.
Finished off weeknotes in the run up to VWW in the evening. Bonfire still smouldering.
To the gym on Thursday morning and squeezed in a chat with S about apples – the shop has a community swap shelf and a box of apples would be welcome. Perfect!
Called in at the GPs on the way home about my travel vaccinations and ended up going back in for a midday appointment about the skin scar I’d spotted on my arm (always wary of skin cancer risk). Phil and I had planned to go for lunch at The Temple Bar Inn so we route marched from home to Ewyas Harold via Dicks Pitch to get to the surgery for 11.45, by the skin of my teeth. Also sorted out travel vaccination appointment ahead of this year’s Nepal trek and had a chat with the nurse on our walk back home re typhoid (need a booster), cholera (recommended) and Japanese encephalitis (“think about it”). Having chatted with Val, I’m going for all three.
We had time before lunch to register at the Community Library, to have a mooch around the bookshelves, and to have a chat with MJ from KG who was on volunteer duty there.
Lunch was lovely! Although we abandoned the eating outside option in light of wasps / bees.
Two pints of bitter shandy made for a lovely wobbly walk home over the Common and back via Dore Abbey. And a snooze on the conservatory corner sofa.
To the gym on Friday, and to drop off a box of apples at the Pontrilas Post Office & Community Shop. Bob got another big bagful later in the day. Back at base, Phil and I started to clear the scythed grass from the front lawn. Two and a half cleared rows = 4 big rubble bags. Here’s hoping RJ wants the rest!
We disturbed a grass snake in one of the rows, and found the remains in another (a scything casualty).
Lunch then Pensions & ISAs review followed by computer admin, including completing online checkin and printing boarding passes for the Pyrenees trip, postal voting, LED Fundraising Walk reminders, home insurance quotes, organising prepayment for my Japanese encephalitis vaccination.
Pizza and the last couple of episodes of The Chalet in the evening. Oh, and chopping windfalls into two large bags of crumble-ready apple to freeze.
Saturday was a day full of showers – some heavy, others not. A good day for indoor tasks: financial admin and emails first thing including organising Stansted rendezvous, polishing the dining room table with Jean’s magic Lemon Oil Polish (that’s done the job – so I did the old wooden fruit bowl and table lamp wooden block base too), and watering inside the greenhouse and picking a box of windfalls in between the showers filled up the morning.
Making a double batch of The Cottage Smallholder’s Apple Chutney kept me busy all afternoon.
Also caught up with Val, who’s fractured her knee cap….
Sunday was overcast but dry. A good day for gardening. I washed the second of the two buckets of Discovery apples Phil has picked yesterday then filled another bucket with windfalls from Laxton and Discovery apples trees by the old garden railway. In the orchard I picked some of the bad apples from the Golden Delicious and raked them into the hedge, then to on the Solarium to dig out the dead roots from the shrub patch.
And then it was time to get the mower out for a spin. First up, the lawn between the kitchen and the road and the orchard where I opted for the No 2 cut setting, in the hope that this’ll give me longer before I need to cut again. Ha! Then the section of the front lawn around the patio, down the slope and along the hollow, plus up under the apple trees where I’d cleared windfalls.
After lunch, time to tackle the front lawn. Phil had been wheelbarrowing more of the scythed grass to the compost slope, which meant I could mow across ways rather than the usual “up and down”. The ant hills and rough grass made for an occasionally bumpy ride and the amount of grass made for lots and lots of trips to mower turn. The slope below the large pond and the Solarium were the last two areas. All on setting No 3.
Lots and lots of cut grass: two loads at the end of the orchard, three by the orchard compost heap, one at the side of the front lawn (full of scythed grass), eight down at mower turn (two rounds), four up on the solarium and one on the BBQ compost slope.
Clearing the Solarium grass cuttings I discovered not one but two medium size frogs that must have escaped the blades! (Unlike a few grass snakes…..)
The first I took down the small pond, the second I rehomed in the large pond. Plop!
And then it was time for a shower, tea and panettone, apple racking, washing and chopping and dinner.
Monday = prep: these weeknotes, Pyrenees packing. Dad and Jean come over for morning coffee, bringing jam doughnuts and danish pastries.
After lunch, chopped apples for crumble, scrubbed the chutney pan, prepped risotto dinner, scrubbed the chutney pan, picked and racked Orchard apples, scrubbed the chutney pan….
RJ called round at the same time as dad and Jean and Phil and he loaded the three rubble bags of scythed grass onto his van, and in the afternoon P headed next door to help with hay baling. I saw him pass by a few times over the course of the afternoon, lounging in the back of R’s pick up truck as they shuttled between hay meadow and barn.
Indoors, I joined the LED Trustees Teams meeting followed by the KMCA Zoom – Hello Ladies!!!
I don’t mention them that often, but as well as the noisy, bustling blue tits and great tits on the bird feeders, we have stacks of chaffinches foraging for dropped peanuts and bird seed on the ground. Lovely. And I’ve heard the screech of the tawny owl a few nights too. During the days, buzzards mew as they cruise high overhead.
TV: The Chalet, Klem / The Blood Pact (first couple of episodes only), Heat, Sensationalists: The Bad Girls and Boys of British Art (part 1).
Photos: Herefordshire week 191 on Flickr.
Phil: w/e 2023-08-27.