Autumn Clearing

Autumn is my favourite season. The changing of the leaves, the hint of frost in the air and the nights closing in, all mean it’s acceptable to curl up with a hot drink and a warm blanket. Down the allotment however, I find autumn a rather depressing time. The myriad of green foliage slowly gives way to brown soil, the houses hidden for months by plants, come into view. People start to come down less often, leaving only those of us with chickens to battle with the worsening elements each day. With my husband at work, I dragged the bags of chicken food down to the allotment using a small trolley. It worked but it clearly wasn’t designed for moving food bags as inevitably, one of the bags ripped, sending corn all over the floor. This necessitated removing both bags from the trolley,. inverting the offending corn bag and depositing the layers pellet bag on top.

Due to this, I often lack enthusiasm for autumn jobs on the plot which include clearing away plants, digging over the soil and cleaning out the greenhouse. But today, I made a start. Late though it is to begin digging over the plot, I did three sections before giving up. I began to weed around the compost bin and at the base of the willow screen which made the path seem much wider. Pleased with my progress, I pottered around to check on the chickens in their various coops. Everyone was busy scoffing their treats and refusing to lay eggs so I ambled off elsewhere.

The lady on Plot 35 has given up the bottom half and I had agreed with the new Warden that I would try to clear the worst of the weeds and have it reasonably respectable for a new tenant in the spring. After several difficult weeks at work, it was rather cathartic to rip out swathes of weeds and grass, creating large mounds in the middle of the plot. Tomorrow I will go back with a builder’s bag and pile it in. Removing the weeds overgrowing the path was rather more difficult and I soon gave up. This was a job that needed tools rather than tired hands. Something else to do tomorrow I reasoned.

On the way back to my plot, I stopped by the Community Garden. The bees have gone I to hibernation so I thought it would be an opportune moment to prune the olive tree. Someone, I suspect Will, has been busy clearing the flower bed the tree is in which meant I could actually get to the tree without destroying any plants. My poor secateurs complained all the way through but eventually I managed to get the tree back into its proper shape. I really must remember to ask some knowledgeable person about where and how to sharpen my secateurs – they are almost completely blunt! The combination of willow and olive tree clearly is too much for them. Maybe I should invest in a pair of tree loppers? Things to ponder anyway…

As I closed up the shed, I spotted Roxy and Foxy cuddling together in the corner of their run. No sign of Trixy anywhere. Odd. I walked down and opened up the nest box. A beady eye glared at me from the best perch at the back. Smiling to myself, I closed up the nest box and walked home. Trixy is nobody’s fool!

Tomorrow is an exciting day as the committee (including myself) are off to visit another site in Crewe. This is something I have wanted to do for years as every site is completely different. It’ll be great to see how they have improved their site. As for jobs on the plot tomorrow, more digging and clearing the path on Plot 35.

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