Any food grower knows that April is frantic sowing season. It was all hands (and knees) on deck in the polytunnel on Sunday morning as we sowed our brassica seeds – five kinds of kale, four kinds of cabbages, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, calabrese and something that can’t make its mind up whether it’s sprouts or kale (which apparently tastes a bit like cabbage). I was particularly careful with the labels, in what will undoubtedly turn out to be another failed attempt to avoid random brassicas.
Here are ten other things that I’ve done this week whilst wearing jeans (muddy or clean):
I stood with Cherry on the footpath to Hall Bower for a couple of minutes, watching a Kestrel hovering intently next to a tree. She’d pointed it out to me. A stunning act of levitation that I might have overlooked without her attentiveness. She walks every day and has a richer life because of her connection with our local environment. The hip problems she’s developed this year must be frightening in all kinds of ways. When we eventually set off again, I still struggled to keep up with her pace. It amused us.
I made a valiant defence of the Agile development process, got shouted at for my efforts, did my product owner and peacemaker duties to the best of my understanding then trotted around Sainsbury’s listening to a spot of essential venting, punctuated by some bonus cheese protein comparisons.
I put curlers in my mother’s hair, with the bottle of setting lotion being watched suspiciously by the cat.
I offered sound advice about web usability, content development and digital engagement.
I listened carefully to some difficult messages that we need to share with local residents soon, and thought about how I can help people to keep informed and prepared.
I gave a talk to Thurstonland Village Association about Growing Newsome’s work over the past five years and heard some of their own ideas and challenges. Rena and her husband Colin kindly picked me up so that I could get there straight after work, and brought me back home again afterwards. Not only that, but I was given four lovely herbs for our allotment as a thank you for the talk. Rena told me about her experiments with planting by moonlight, which turns out to be a bit problematic with the British weather – if it rains, that’s another four weeks of waiting for the right night.
I reminded colleagues about the importance of making connections between people – not quick ways of getting something done for nothing by finding a willing volunteer, but growing long term, trusting relationships between people so that we can all find new ways of supporting each other.
I made three more batches of paper cranes: 12 x classic colour collection, 13 x patterned papers, 14 x contemporary colour collection – 39 in total, carried carefully into the office in a paper bag. Our running total (according to the crane master) is 409, so we are nearing the half way mark of our 1,000 cranes.
I potted up 97 tomato seedlings, of over twenty different varieties. They include some of my favourites, such as Yellow Pear (a heritage tomato with small, tasty, pear-shaped fruits) and some varieties that are new to me which promise to do well in a cold climate, such as Glacier, Latah and Alaskan Fancy. We shall see. 97 might sound a lot, but I’m growing most of them to give away. And I’ve already planted another batch, even though every windowsill in the house is full. You can never have too many tomatoes.
I continued to be a human being, despite being looked down at on the way into a lift on Monday morning (and on the way out of the same lift) for wearing jeans to work.