Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cauliflowers, Asparagus and....Fire!

We plod along. By and large, life's excitements pass us by. It's tranquil up here. In the past week we have seen the greening of the countryside and basked in glorious warmth. We note the arrival of birds* and the tapestry of wildflowers shoving forth from hedge and ditch. Last week, on Tuesday, we harvested 12 cauliflowers and three still languish in the fridge. There is only so much cauliflower cheese a person can eat. (I should add that we have also donated cauliflowers to anyone who looked vaguely hungry....)
This week we have also started harvesting asparagus from the bed Alan planted in 2006 - fresh spears, dressed with butter have been on the menu each night this week. I suspect we will be sharing some of this crop too. How good it is too eat food in season.

But what's this disturbing the rural idyll? A thud, a bang and next door's dog sets off barking. Smoke is blowing across the lane from beyond the barn. A tractor is on fire. Its driver is on his mobile - struggling for a signal - and trying to establish where he is so the fire service can come and do the business. With the best will in the world they are at least 15 minutes away so in the meantime it is, literally, all hands to the pump. We race to our sheds and unearth inadequate looking extinguishers while a neighbour and the young driver connect a hose from a drinking trough to a spare bit of alkethene pipe. There are flames and some alarming bangs and clouds of stinky smoke coming from the tractor. Extinguishers are pointed and water is sprayed liberally. There are a few dramatic moments in which I wonder if knowing a bit more first aid would be a good idea. By the time the brigade arrive we think the fire is out but they go into full fire-fighting mode anyway - helmets, hoses, the lot. It's an incongruous sight at the end of our quiet lane - flashing blue lights on the shiny red appliance which came up from Welshpool with sirens blaring.The good news is that the driver is OK, only a little shaken, and that he hadn't started loading straw from the barn - a potentially volatile situation. The adjacent barn was empty too - the cows and calves had been moved on at the end of last week. I guess it took the Fire Service about 20 minutes to arrive and while that's pretty good I guess there would be situations when that time span would seem like an eternity.

With the excitement over, mundane chores await us at home; Alan finishes hoeing chickweed from the asparagus bed and I prepare supper - salmon and new potatoes. With cauliflower and asparagus.

Swallows: Saturday 29th April - 10 days later than last year. I need to keep a note of that.


kissa said...

So much excitement for your sleepy hollow. We live in the land of the tractor too but so far I am not aware of any of them catching alight. I see them on the hills working just as they used to in the Ladybird books of my childhood with seagulls following the plough.Cauliflowers and asparagus... mmmm.

All Shook Up said...

Strewth, what excitement! Swallows late here, too... April 16 last year, about the same time as yours, this. Wonder why...

L3m0n said...

fresh asparagus - i am so jealous - if any needs despatching to others give me a shout :)

Nikki-ann said...

Ohhh, a bit of excitement in them there hills! That's my worry about living in the wilds (OK a village) of Mid Wales... the length of time it takes for emergency services and even more so when they have to take you to hospital (one that can deal with a proper emergency!). Still, I wouldn't want to live in a city!

All that fresh home grown food is making me feel hungry!

Mopsa said...

Excitement - what we crave for and hate. And I love your new photo shapes; very impressive.

joco said...

Hiya ,

Is the plural of 'plateful' platesful or platefuls?
Just thought you might enjoy a grammar query when you wake up today? Not?

BTW, 20 minute response time is brilliant.

Picture this: a sweet little village in Berks. nearest townlet 4 miles away, seems safe as fire brigades go. This thatched cottage, our cottage, in the middle of a thatched row, with loads of other thatched rows going off it. At midnight fire breaks out at the youthclub across from us. We ring the fire brigade. Nobody turns up. Somebody else rings and they say: "We thought it was a prank". Hmm. It seems we are now all being judged at a different level of civilization.
Outcome@ many scorched thatches but nothing serious. We moved house.

Pondside said...

I'm envying all that garden bounty! Still too cool here for anything much. Have you tried your cauliflower lightly steamed (whole head) and slathered with guacamole? Delicious!