Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thursday 3-22

Thursday is cleaning day, so Clara and I split the three areas and spent an hour straightening and hoovering. Lindsay was staying at Lesley's to watch her dogs while she was traveling for the week so she was not around to lead the cleaning spree as she normall would. We headed out into a warm sunny day, one of th first Clara had seen since she arrived. We were going to start the day preparing beds and planting onions which required rotovating, raking and placing a few hundred bulbs before lunch. I first had to gather tools and take apart the rotovator from its trench digging model back to a tiller. I spend a while piecing together the blades and forcing pins to hold them together and took the machine out to the rocky dry soil that we had to work with. I first went along and lightly scraped the surface of the bed, tearing jup roots and rocks on the surface as Clara quickly followed behind picking them up in a large pot and piling everything ito a wheel barrow. Once tje surface was mostly clear of weeds I readjusted the anchor of the tiller to pull the blades deeper and started turning the soil. I went slowly to shred the larger clumps of hard soil and ensure the machine was digging deep enough. I passed over the bed two or three times until the topsoil was light and easy to work with. WE used a string line to mark the edges of both onion beds and used a rake to start pulling soil into mounds along the line. One side was raked into a straight mound and then we would switch sides and rake a mound one the other line then flattening the two mounds together into oune large raised bed. The raised beds were raked and smoothed for a good planting surface and fiverows were lined out to plant about twenty five collumns of onions. One bed was all white onions and the other was all red. We finished planting just around lunch and went in for an amazing vegetable curry Jo had prepared with rice and potatoes with fresh bread. I was so hungry from a buisy morning I helped myself to seconds of the curry which they had a spiced mango chutne to add even more flavor. After cleaning up from lunch and taking a few minutes to relax, we headed back out to the garden and began putting nets over the onion beds to prevent crows and pigeons disturbing the sprouts. black flexible tubbing was placed a few feet apart in an arch over the beds down the entire length and black nets were streched over the tubbing covering the entire bedding area. Rocks were placed down each side of the netting to hold it to the ground and keep a strong tension across the top. We waterd both beds, cleaned up the tools and took the weeds and rocks to the compost piles.
We worked on transplanting bulbs again from half past two until quarter to four until James was back from Dublin and free to help us plant trees in one of the planations. We focused on moving blubs that were growing in the path of the lawn mower and tansplanting them farther back into the field. We also moved a load of snow drops to the pillars by the front gate mixed together with daffodils and white tulips. When we met up with James, we got the left over bags of trees from the previous Friday when we planted a few large sections of Birch and Ash and carried them out into the fields were a several hundred small trees had already been planted the year before. Several of these trees had been damaged by rabbits and needed replaced, so we used the left over trees to fill in all the gaps. We split up around the plantation, each taking a long row of trees and searching for any sparce areas. We emptied four or five bags of various trees across the large field and did not get every gap filled. It was after five when we finished and we were all worn out from the long day. We agreed to miss out on the pub that night and take an easy watching movies by the fire. We made seperate plates of pasta and shared some puddings for desert with a bottle of wine and headed to bed early. The weather was going to be warm and clear again the next day so I planned to rise an hour early and go out for an early run down the road.

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