Opposite my bungalow on the estate where I live there is a patch of open ground. When the builder who built many of the dwellings on the estate built them he left this one patch free with an eye to eventually building a bungalow there for himself one presumes. Well that day has not arrived yet and I rather like the wildness there is there. The ground is very uneven. Here and there are patches of daffodils and snowdrops, presumably where folk have dumped garden rubbish (although I have never seen anyone do this) and there are a dozen or so silver birch which about once every three years are pollarded - each time more 'trunks' having grown. This year was the year and when I got up yesterday morning the builder's lorry and various bits of equipment were outside my property. As the morning went on neat piles of branches were piled up - presumably the builder intends to collect these and dispose of them on another day. Well all I can say is that he had better hurry up. No sooner had the chap gone than from all corners of the estate middle aged and elderly men (ie most of the owners of property round here fall into that category) arrived with saws and wheelbarrows - often wives pushing the wheelbarrows - and began sorting through, sawing off the side branches, generally removing barrows full of wood.
Our gardens are quite large - I would say that mine is big for a town garden and many are the same size as mine. I automatically thought beans sticks, sticks for persuading sweet peas upwards, sticks to build 'rustic' trellis for clematis. Like flies round a honeypot many were there off and on until sundown. When I opened the blinds at six this morning there was already one man and his wife there hard at work. And by the time I went out for my walk at eleven there were three more couples. One couple L and M I knew well so I walked across to have a chat. What were they gathering the sticks for? Clematis? Sweet peas? Climbing roses? Wrong every time. All these people have wood burners and were gathering and sawing up the wood to stack for seasoning for next winter's fuel!! A case of fortune favouring the prepared mind I suppose.
Before my carer went this morning she opened the patio doors for me and turned on the very stiff stop tap for the outside tap. After J had gone Priscilla and I went out into the back garden and using the garden hose already fixed to the tap we watered the shrubs in pots - they were desperate for a good watering. Now it is all set up and we can water once a week until we have a good rain - if we ever do. Poor Derek - either the Nature Reserve on Sheppey is almost flooded out or - more likely at the moment - too dry for anything to flourish. I suppose it is the same for all of us gardeners - the weather is never right.
It made me smile this morning on Breakfast television when the weather man said we were going to have a very warm and dry week end and the weather was going to continue dry well into next week - "all you gardeners will be pleased to hear" - a remark which made me immediately sure he was not a gardener. We are all desperate for rain.
Until tomorrow friends...
Your description of the wood theives (they probably wouldn't think of themselves like that!) sounds like a comedy sketch. To be completed when the builder returns, scratching his head.
Must water my pots. Thanks for the reminder. Yours is a very useful blog!
We've had the hose out today for the pots as well Like you, we are not usually short of rain in West Wales!!! It's lovely to see the trees start to fuzz green, although it's still really cold at night, and I've started to worry about the lilacs. Never happy, are we?
May it rain at night and be sunny all day... keeping the weathermen AND the gardeners happy. ~Andrea xoxo
The builder probably knows the wood will disappear and it's probably why he left it there.
Nothing worse at the moment than the weather man saying it'll stay dry all next week. I was walking round the reserve this morning counting Coot's nests and it was amusing to see some that were started when the ditch water was higher and that now ate sitting a foot above the water, the water levels have dropped so much. Likewise, where the cattle left thousands of hoof prints in the soft mud before they were taken off in December, they have now dried rock hard and it's like walking over cobbles.
Same sort of thing happens here. When my 60ft leylandi was felled there was an enormous pile of wood for the company to take away. It didn't get that far. A local just a couple of hundred yards away took the lot.
Some years ago I had to have an old ash tree felled after it became dangerous (part having fallen on my roof during a February snow storm). Some I chopped up for our open fire. Before I had finished cutting it all up a local farmer's wife asked if I wanted to sell the remainder. I named a price and a tractor and trailer was sent next day. That recovered half the cost of having the tree felled.
With so many homes these days having wood burner stoves there is always quite a scrum around here whenever any trees are felled.
We have been out watering our pots today. First time for ages that they have not been waterlogged due to the rain.
Here when folk prune their olive trees as they are now they immediately burn the trimmings filling the valley with smoke, yesterday we had one large fire below us and three above. I appreciate the branches cannot be left on the ground during summer because of wild fires but it’s a huge waste of useable calories, your Yorkshire gatherers would have a field day.
All sounds good. Glad to hear about the outside tap and hose after years of talking to you about why were you struggling with a watering can.
I'm glad you are all set with the hose and can water your plantings during the drought. As predicted, it continues to snow today in Massachusetts. Thus far there is 2 inches on the ground and I shoveled my walk to the front door. Some call late season snow poor man's fertilizer.
We got overnight snow, as well! Suppose to be like this for most of the week! Bah humbug!
Our garden is incredibly dry at the moment, can't remember when we last had rain.
The pile of wood gets less by the minute.
Your news about your neighbours collecting up the branches cut from the trees reminded me of my father, many years ago, rushing out into the road with bucket and shovel to get the manure kindly donated by the milkman's horse!
How nice that you can use the hose to do some watering yourself. If only our weather could be a little better organised so that rainfall was evenly distributed.
Heather - I remember my father doing exactly the same!
Our son commented that where he currently lives if a big branch or tree comes down someone in a truck comes around to ask if they can have it for fuel, vs here, where he grew up, where the question is "do you want me to haul that away for $300?". So true! And yes, there is nothing more annoying than being in the middle of a 2 month drought and hearing the weather forecaster saying "another beautiful sunny weekend coming up".
Glad you could get to that outside pot, too.
I knew exactly the fate of that wood when you wrote of it! If we were out on walks and found "a useful bit of wood", it would be earmarked to pick up in the car later . . . When several tons of dead trees were pulled out from the river, where they had fetched up against the bridge, folk were there with chainsaws and pick-up trucks - enough to block a road gone in the space of two days!
Glad you have got your outside watering system sorted there now. We are having lovely sunny days, but frosts at night so I am having to water everything in pots waiting to be planted and I am rugging up the tender plants still at night.
The outside tap and hosepipe sounds a perfect solution.
The wood has almost gone this morning - and it is 'another perfect day for gardeners !!'
I am happy without rain. The soil is quite wet enough about here. We have had almost non stop rain since last October.
Lucky you Rachel. We have had none here for a few weeks and the plants are looking decidedly thirsty. However, I know that when rain comes they will mostly recover.
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