Friday 26 June 2015

The deepest cut of all

Yesterday, Thursday, dawned dry and bright.

Patchy blue skies, a light easterly breeze and the promise of a day without rain meant that, if not all, then at least many things were possible. I was very tempted to nip off to a suitable pool or pond to look for damselflies, as the temperature was almost high enough to encourage emergence. OK, it was nowhere near 17 deg C :o(

However, living in Orkney soon makes you realise that decent weather mustn't be wasted upon frivolous dragon hunts, so it seemed the perfect time for a little more mower-cise. I had managed to cut half the garden earlier in the week and, as we're trying to lower the nutrients in the soil to encourage wild flowers over grass, I had also been able to cart all the clippings away to the local composting site.

Happily, things went according to plan. I pushed the lawn mower around, wreaking havoc amongst docks, thistles and nettles, until I ached, then augmented my efforts with a gentle application of the self propulsion lever (oh dear, that sounded a bit ruder than was anticipated!).

Apologies for the wonky horizon, I was suffering from dehydration and exhaustion.

After a tea break to replace fluid loss, I tackled the pile of trimmings, cramming the grass and weeds into recycled fertiliser bags, packing the bags into the car and then transporting the whole lot to the local recycling centre. In due course, the treated green waste is turned into a soil improver, which is available free to householders.

We're contemplating an area of raised beds for growing vegetables, so I decided to mow a suitably-sized patch even shorter, in order to gauge how it might fit in with other possible plans.

This produced further clippings and precipitated another trip to the dump with a car stuffed full of grass.

Meanwhile in the 'flower' border at the front of the house, I was heartened to see the welcome return of some Common Ramping Fumitory, Fumaria muralis.

By way of contrast, this morning is damp, grey and cold. Low cloud and rain are disrupting flights and washing away the memories of a day's pleasant gardening. However, life must go on and a small flock of a dozen Starlings are busy in the severely cut patch, searching successfully for invertebrates to feed their hungry nestlings. And a Brown Hare cantered along the track at the northern side of our garden, presumably in preference to negotiating its way through the wet grass.

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