Friday, October 12, 2012

A new follower! Welcome back, Jean!

We are safely home, with no more to worry about than a low-blood-sugar episode on Tuesday evening, and not disastrously low, at that. Wonderful weather Tuesday and Wednesday. I planted my garlic patch, and got some – not enough – weeding, forking, manuring, and covering done. If someone would discover a culinary use for the creeping buttercup, our problems would be at an end.

The deer have been back (if they ever went away). The grass is dotted with their dung – no doubt there is a Correct Technical Word for it. Vegetable-growing will have to be re-thought from the beginning.

They haven’t jumped into my new vegetable cage. The broccoli still looks happy, with little flower buds in the axils where I have cut the main stem. If they survive the winter cold, I would expect them to produce a second crop.

One of my catalogues offers a mesh “pop-up vegetable cage”, 50x50x36 inches, I think it was. Two of those would accommodate courgettes and salad greens and perhaps some spinach, with mange-tout peas and broad beans crammed into the bigger cage. No brassicas? Oh, dear.

We could have the whole area deer-fenced, at enormous expense, but my husband says that that would be a bit like living in a concentration camp.

The pinus bungeana looks very happy, with not a needle lost.

What follows will be, for us, an exciting weekend. Archie has been on a Duke of Edinburgh outing with his school. He will come to us by taxi this evening, and I will drive him to the airport tomorrow for his two-week half-term break in Athens. [The more you pay for education, the less of it you get.] I don’t know what the Duke of Edinburgh Award involves, other than extreme discomfort out-of-doors. The DoE phrase is very familiar, and I look forward to learning more.

Archie is not an out-of-doors man, and Helen is seriously afraid that this will be the end of his previously happy relationship with the school. My money is on Archie, and on Merchiston. Being utterly miserable out-of-doors is one thing; being utterly miserable out-of-doors with your mates, quite another.

And then another grandchild, Rachel’s daughter Lizzie, now at Birmingham University, is coming to lunch on Sunday. That will mean rearranging our Mass-going for the weekend. We were in Birmingham for 25 years -- it will be interesting to hear how the University is getting on.


I devoted the Strathardle knitting-time to the Cousteau hat, and will press on this evening, and tomorrow if need be, to finish it. I am using the small lengths of yarn the moths so kindly cut off. I started with a largish ball, but soon realised I was in one of those situations – 140 stitches, ribbing – where you can knit on forever without getting anywhere. But what I could do, was finish one of those wee balls and start the next, even if the knitting itself was stuck obstinately at 1 ¾”. So after grasping that,  I just dipped my hand into the bag and took what came. And of course the glow of virtue, for turning those useless little balls into a cosy hat, is beyond compare.


  1. Deer dung is called fewmets.

  2. Anonymous2:36 PM

    Fuzzarelly - you're kidding! How cool! Thank you!

    Beverly near Yosemite CA

  3. I am harvesting my second crop of broccoli after cutting off the main stem - I call them broccolini, but don't know if that's right. It makes me feel fancy and not like I'm rushing to beat winter. They are much sweeter now than in the heat of summer, that's for sure.

  4. There is something extremely satisfying about planting garlic on a beautiful October day. I got mine in yesterday, ahead of today's forecast of rain. Everyone living in rural BC has a fence around their garden plots. Maybe you could convince your husband that if you fenced your property it would look Canadian rather than like a concentration camp.

    And I think you are right about Archie. Being with friends makes all the difference.

  5. Sarah JS5:23 PM

    The things I learn here! Thanks Fuzarelly on the definition. I only know of "fewmets" due to L'Engle's "Wind in the Door" in which Charles Wallace describes dragon dung as fewmets.

  6. I was going through old catalogs before recycling them, found the pop-up nets, and was going to email you about them. This catalog in the US has a number of widths and heights - 4' square by 3' high, 4' by 6', 3' wide by 6' long by 3' high, and 3'W by 6'L by 6'H. Perhaps dividing up your garden to fit the nets will work? Here's a link

  7. Oh pooh to the DofE being utterly miserable. My lad is doing his Silver award at the moment and absolutely loves the expeditions. The secret of success? Good kit, a good tent and a well broken in pair of walking boots. Oh, and LOTs of food. All of which you have to carry of course but Archie looks big enough to cope with that. They all enjoy the camping part, it teaches them a lot about looking after themselves. Utterly miserable? Lad would do it every weekend, given half a chance.
    (He's in the USA atm though, on a school trip.)

  8. My nephews were required to go on similar expeditions - in the middle of winter - and came back saying "Everyone hated it." Apparently that made it bearable so Archie should be fine!

  9. Anonymous12:01 AM

    I suggest you check the measurements for the pop-up cages - "50x50x36 inches" - in case they are really in centimetres. "50x50x36" centimetres = close to 18x18x12 inches.

    Broccoli plants left over winter through snow produced "broccolini" the next year.

    Here in Melbourne, Australia we have problems with possums - large appetites and very mobile.


  10. Have you seen this.....

  11. Anonymous5:31 PM

    "Fewmets" - I recall learning that one in childhood when I read The Sword in the Stone.
    -- Gretchen