Monday morning started off easy with a clean out of the chicken hutch. I gathered a few eggs and scooped out the poultry litter which we are collecting to spread in the gardens during the cool season. I spread wood chips in the hutch to replace what I had taken out for bedding. Clara and I then went back to rake the rocky soil that we had started spreading on Friday. One of the farm workers brought in a few more loads of soil to extend the lawn and I got to work with a larger rake to move the piles across the sod. We quickly noticed a lot of the new soil was filled with mostly thick gravel. This material was not going to work for growing and mowing a smooth lawn so me and Clara had to pick out all of it and bring in another few loads to rake again. This took the rest of the morning. Lesley was working to finish a few portraits which she planned to take to a framer later that day and sent off for a show. She came out to chat with us a few times but quickly went off claiming if she hesitated much longer her paintings would never be done in time. Each time she said this I could see her circle the gardens doing various tasks and chatting with james or on of the workers and then stopping by us again only to be even more rushed about getting back to her studio. Lesley, like many wise minds, often has more going on than she can focus on and most of the time seems very scatter brained. Eventually Clara and I got the majority of the gravel out with some lawn rakes and Lesley made it back into the studio. We ccoked with Lesley for lunch as Jo and James were buisy working with party plans. We had broccoli, potatoes and lamb with jellies which is one of Lesley's favorite traditional meals.
For the afternoon we planted parsnips and weeded some various beds. The Parsnips got an entire row, spread a few inches apart and covered with a light layer of top soil. I then used the tiller to go over a few areas around the brassicas and legumes to break up any small weeds. Clara followed behind gathering all the pieces into a wheel barrow. Clara then went to work on weeding th berry patches while I moved to the poppies. A large section of one of the beds was set aside for oriental poppies which were spread around the different gardens. A lot of scotch grass and two hour crawlers which are both quickly spreading weeds had taken over the bunches of foliage and needed to be carfully forked and pulled. For the last hour we helped James move in a bunch of large photo prints which were to be hung around the house and gallery. On Tuesday a friend of James will come by and build a bar and shleves for the gallery. It was going to be a buisy week getting ready for James birthday party on Friday. Most of his family and friends would be here along with a lot of locals and buisness partners. He was determined to give the best impression before the gallery and gardens opened the following week.