Thursday, October 02, 2008

Things to do in Autumn

Bowling home last night along the road that follows the spine of Long Mountain I kept my eyes peeled for a glimpse of the new moon. It seems forever since we have had a clear sky and this night was no exception - indeed as I neared home a misty and persistent drizzle fell and I drove the last few miles lulled by the rhythmic slap of the windscreen wipers and a fascinating tale on the car radio. (One of those programmes that make you want to drive around for a few more miles just to hear the ending.) I'd been to Shrewsbury and the County Archives where D and I have embarked on a short course of Medieval Latin. (I think I shall need to explain this venture at a later date.) Suffice to say I wish I had paid more attention at school because by 9 0'clock my brain felt like it had fought 10 rounds with something harder-hitting than grammar.

I fell into bed declining nouns and conjugating verbs. It's a good way to send yourself to sleep - maybe better than counting sheep.

On waking the litany of 'amo, amas, amat' hadn't quite cleared from my head - but hurrah! - a gutsy wind was blowing the cloud away and give or take a few spots of rain the weather looked set fair. A good day to take stock of the garden in early autumn; what has been successful, what can be composted and what was a complete waste of time. It's a job best done with the sun on one's back and a mug of tea to sip while making mental notes. Ever the optimist I know I will be beguiled by such fripperies as fennel and sweetcorn - the evidence in front of my eyes should make me question the sense of trying to grow the like on the top of a low Welsh mountain.

There are still vegetables to harvest and winter greens and roots still in the ground but we are clearing beds and applying compost and muck in readiness for next year. There are apples to be gathered in and bulbs to be planted too for a splash of welcome colour when spring comes round again. The flower borders, so exuberant in spring and summer, have something of the Matto Grosso about them now (so dense is the vegetation that there may indeed be lost civilisations hiding there). I need to summon up much energy and enthusiasm to start tidying them. This will not be a job to do today.

So today under a bright and beautiful sky I pressed onion sets into newly tilled earth - exhorting them as always to 'grow, damn you, grow' - and planted garlic. It's good to get things growing - both I hope will be ready in the early summer. Thus the cycle begins again.

15 comments:

Lindsay said...

Did not know that you could plant onion sets at this time of year - we usually do the sets in the spring.

bodran... said...

I keep venturing out then going in again. I don't feel quite ready to put anything to bed yet . And of course i tend to get transfixed this time of the year if the suns out, It's so beautiful. xo

Pipany said...

Lovely blog Mountaineer. I love all the autumn blogs about gardening and fires, etc. xx

muddyboots said...

It's one of the things that l miss, growing veggies and pouring over seed catalogs, no time now and veg plot has turned into the outdoor seating area. l do have pots though

Pondside said...

Beautiful blog, Mountainear. I wish I had a proper vegetable garden - but it won't happen until we put up a high fence or wall against the deer. Until then I'll garden vicariously in cyber space with you.

Wipso said...

Wow. What beautiful apples. I usually beg a few bramley apples from my neighbour but alas the tree that is normally heavy has only about 6 apples on the whole tree this year. We think it's a bee shortage cos the damson and plum trees are bare too.

Cait O'Connor said...

Good luck with the Latin. It was one of my favourite subjects at school cos I had a lovely teacher.

Lovely day today so I have swept up leaves, have not put garden to bed yet.

I always enjoy your blogs.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

very impressed with the Latin classes! I'm sure things will grow in your lovely garden with little exhortation - they should be pleased to be there - after all they could be with me having a very miserable existance!

kissa said...

I hope that your planting has been more successful than ours here in unseasonally soggy and windy Cornwall.The tomatoes got blight which was disappointing as even the green ones were rotting on the vine and the rest is a story of considerable sadness oh well we have a very good farm shop just on the edge of the village.

Faith said...

Lovely rosy apple photo. Latin? Yuck. I got 29% in my first year exam and got chucked out - mind you nowadays that's prob equivalent to a B or something! Good luck to you with it anyway.

Fennie said...

That's a lovely, cycle of the seasons blog, Mountainear. My garden looks like the Matto Grosso too with Bindweed, Russian Vine, Clematis and Wisteria in a desperate rush to see who can be forst over the garden gate and up the side of the house and into the roof. I have given up. Very impressed by the Latin. When Finland took over the Presidency of the EU they published pres releases everyday in Latin, for some reason (along with other languages too). I shared a room with a classicist at University which was a useful if indirect part of my education. Vita dura est and all that.

Milkmaid said...

Not much time left for me to tend my veg plot either, I've been wistfully looking at the seed catalogue, knowing full well those seeds will not get planted here.
My discovery apples have been cracking this year the best for at least 8 years

Anil P said...

Back here in the density of a teeming city I can only imagine the joy of working the earth and sigh, helped in no small measure by your posts.

Marianne said...

One of the benefits of being brought up a Catholic half a century or so ago was the Latin Mass which rooted itself, along with the proverbial guilt, deep in my soul. Even so, I managed to bomb my O level latin. Good luck with the course though.

Fire Byrd said...

oh the memories that came flooding back with that bit of latin, it's the only thing I can remember from doing it at school. And of course it's proved so useful throughout life????