Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tumbleweed and cobwebs....

Just why is it so difficult to difficult to get down to work again after a holiday - albeit a blogging one? It's been a month and a week six weeks since I last shuffled down the echoing corridors of my blog world. There has been the usual round of summer things here - same old, same old - and perhaps my reluctance to post has been a fear of going, boringly, over old ground. There is though a 'ruck' of stuff cluttering up the desktop of my lovely Mac; pictures for posts that never were.....

Where to start then? Where was I? I'll be brief.

Ah yes. Wasps. Well we haven't seen once since. And this is a good thing.

Sweet peas? Actually they've come good at least 3 weeks later than in previous years. Gorgeous of course; bowls, vases, jugs and glasses of them fill the house. They have a short life but a heavenly scented one.

My seeds are from Thompson and Morgan and probably 'Fragrantissima'. These however are not like any 'Fragrantissima' I've grown before; the petals are speckled and blotched. Remember what it was like, back in the day, when all the lovely coloured bits of Plasticine got mixed together?  A muddy amalgam which still moulded but looked bleugh. These sweet peas are like that. A friend down the road tells me that hers are much the same. Perhaps it is a local blight.

However, the brashness of the 'hot' border does not disappoint. This picture is at least 10 days out of date and Helleniums in red and orange now provide extra fire.

In the vegetable garden we've harvested peas by the bushel - those we can't eat as young and succulent petit pois we've frozen or converted into pea and ham soup. (I get huge satisfaction in stocking freezer and larder in preparation for the the winter months ahead.) Red and white currants have been jellied and raspberries savoured with cream.

As usual we look for things to do with courgettes. So far we have managed to eat/or give away our crop but we are fighting a losing battle. The blasted things grow at such a prodigious rate. Common sense tells me that probably 2 plants would suffice. I will have forgotten that bit of wisdom by spring of next year when sturdy little seedlings look too good to be consigned to the plant sale or compost heap.

I notice this morning that the vegetable garden, though still productive, begins to look tired and old; its freshness gone. As fruit swells and ripens - in abundance thanks to the frost-free spring I detect a slide into autumn. Sigh.

This little cherub caught my eye.
I should remember which Shropshire church it came out of but will hazard a guess at St John the Baptist in Mainstone; a building sweet and humble, sheltered from the elements by surrounding hills and at the end of a seemingly endless narrow lane. My feelings on religion - particularly the organised variety - I shall keep to myself lest I offend. (Shall we put some of my feelings down to childhood experience?) I seem to have been in a number of similar churches this summer - mostly as a curious onlooker wearing my 'nosy' hat. Almost without exception I found simplicity and serenity, both loved and neglected in equal measure; the scent of artlessy arranged garden flowers vying with dust and mould. I've no desire to worship (though if poked with a sharp enough stick I will go and sing hymns) but would fight till my end to keep them as places of stillness in our landscape. 'Nuff said.

Some hymn singing yielded these words from 'How Great Thou Art':
I ponder the small mountain kingdom in late summer; the land ripe and fruitful, a patchwork of greens and gold - a cornucopia of things 'bright and beautiful'.

Then sings my soul.


Cro Magnon said...

You echo my own sentiments re churches, cathedrals, et al. Here we have such beautiful medieval churches almost around every corner, but they are neglected. Even the day to day decor has been reduced to plastic flowers in bean tins. However, they are still wonderful places to sit and ponder!

Frances said...

Mountaineer, this post was well worth waiting for.

I am another sweetpea fan, and was interested to see the "melanged" colorways of your current crop.

You've reminded me of my long ago Brooklyn garden, and the experience of the zucchini/courgette harvest. Quite a challenge to distribute the bounty!

And I am so with you on what I take to be your feelings re organized religion, mixed with love of beautiful old churches and the spiritual uplift to be found there and in the great outdoors. xo

Fennie said...

Welcome back. Your garden is magnificent. Mine a jumble and a poor ineffective, unproductive jumble at that. Where you grow courgettes and sweet peas I grow caterpillars, slugs, snails. Petunias, nasturtiums, foxgloves, lavender, pears and greengages, we have a plenty. The nursery slopes of gardening. Supposedly you are never far from God in a garden - (or cod in an ocean) I add facetiously. Both are invisible but I suppose you are glad they are there.

Pondside said...

It's lovely to see you back. Gorgeous sweet peas - we didn't have any at all this year. I'm glad that all is well in your part of the Kingdom.

Jayne said...

Phew! you are back, I have so missed your eloquent words these last few weeks.
Sweet peas are just a joy, mottled or not, so pretty amongst your blue and white china.
You are right there is definitely a hint of autumn about. The swifts have disappeared too.

bayou said...

This summer was not very alike. We never could be 24 h without rain and the grass has grown quicker than EG could follow with mowing. He comes to the resolution that one can only have a potager when he is retired, otherwise it overtakes you too quickly. Being the same than you, cannot throw anything away, we have TWELVE courgette plants. Some wander on the compost but I harvest daily, even when the flower is still on them. Some are round (very convenient for filling with chicken or other veggies) but we are only two people and the freezer is full already. Same with sweedes, beetroots, Jerusalem artichokes (4 m high by now) lettuces growing alongside the box knot, kale, red and yellow stemed other things, you name it! But the sweet peas (also T&M) never grew how they should have and I couldn't cut any. The quinces are non existing this year whilst the tree was full of blossoms, the late frost killed it all. What was a joy to look at were the water lilies: since May not one day without flowers :-). As you know, I love details of old churches and enjoyed the whole of your blog, as usual.
P.S. Yesterday, the king fisher visited us but unfortunately no camera handy.

elizabethm said...

So glad to read this. I have been wondering where you were and thinking about you and your garden. I agree utterly about churches. I love them as buildings and am often moved when i am in them Sometimes I worry that people assume that this is indicative of being a member of some form of organised religion which it is not. would hate to be without them though.