Around this time last year, the snows were beginning to melt and I was gearing up for a big season of planting. I put the beetroot, onions and carrots in on the last day of February. Despite how warm it’s been in the day, it still feels very cold and early in the year for such crops. In 2011, we had plum blossom already – albeit on the trees in the courtyard. It shows no such sign of doing that yet.

Yesterday, I finished pruning back the longest row of vines – some 30 or so. The rest are still under water so they can wait. I’ve probably got about another 60 or so to do, having done the two longest rows.

If it continues to be dry for the next couple of days, I should be able to turn the soil with the rotivator as it’s just annual weeds now. Yay. I’m so sick of digging. I’ve got blisters like you wouldn’t believe. However, digging is the best way to get the convolvulus out. Unfortunate for me!

RhubarbThe rhubarb my mum sent me has got its first shoots.

I have about 10 baby Alicante tomatoes, 2 banana chili plants – not sure what went on with that seed, since I planted 10. I also have another 8 “special” cauliflowers.

The ‘merveille de quatre saisons’ cauliflowers I planted are almost past baby leaves.

Today I planted another dozen ‘gardener’s delight’ tomatoes, a tub of kale and a few lettuce seeds. I just keep on going until my lean-to is full and then in April, I can plant them all out.

cauliflower seedlingsAnd yet we’ve still had a little time to play in the garden lake…

I love how Tilly just tolerates him leaping around her. He’s a fruitloop when it comes to water. It seriously sends him crazy giddy. He plays like this all day. You can hear him leaping through the water even in the dark.

The closest vegetable patch is just like a slurry pit. I went to test how wet it was and nearly lost my wellies to some serious suction. It all still stinks and bubbles. It’s very strange. There’s noticeably less water now although it’s still flowing fairly quickly. The top two patches are dry enough to dig, and soon will be too dry to dig unless they get some water.

You can also hear the digger in the background. I don’t know what they’re doing. It’s ERDF up to something. I suspect they might be burying cables and putting in new junction boxes. Good. It’ll stop it looking like a third word country with all the wires everywhere. Plus, hopefully they are putting in new wires and so I won’t have so many powercuts. The only place I’ve ever been with such power trouble is Cuba – and they were scheduled brown-outs.

I just can’t wait for the day they run mainline plumbing through here. Considering I live only 7km from a fairly large town, and 25km from a city, it’s a bit rustic to still have a septic tank. I don’t mind, but I just know I’m going to need a new septic tank and I’d rather pay to be connected to the mains rather than get a new one installed. I just know if I fork out for a new septic tank, they’ll run mainline sewage pipes through within the year. I’m blessed with luck that way. It is never going to happen, though.

As in many countries, if you live in a rural area, you are less likely to be able to access the power and sewage networks. In England, I never even really thought about turning the gas on or switching the radiators on; it never even occured to me that people might not be able to. In England, only 7% of houses aren’t connected to the gas network. In France, 23% aren’t. That’s higher than Wales or Scotland, which are also much more rural. It’s not so bad. It means I’m frugal with my gas and electric. If it were there, it’d be so tempting to just switch it on.



2 thoughts on “Progress…

  1. And another thing that amazed me about the UK 🙂 Everyone, even if you lived on a farm, had ‘town’ water! Nobody had tanks, nobody drank rainwater, everybody had treated water (and thought it was OK to sluice out teacups with about a gallon of running water before washing up in a plastic bowl — what is that all about?)

    1. I know… if the world ever falls apart, English people would be the first to fail. We’re so pampered! I guess it’s different in parts of Scotland and Wales, just because of the logistics. I think you can blame Bazalgette for our obsession with sewers and clean water. If Japanese people are obsessed with air-borne diseases, English people are obsessed with water-borne diseases. It was a knee-jerk reaction to cholera, I’d guess.

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