Monday, 14 March 2011

Mon: Back to work, and the sun is nearly out again.

First the good news - Yes! I saw the man about the land, there is indeed a little piece of land that might be mine to rent for a while, if I can sort out a few problems with it.

Firstly I spent a merry morning weeding: yup, now that those prairie beds are nicely cut down, all the weeds are clearly visible and need sorting out.

The client came out mid-morning to say hello: "Don't you get backache?" she exclaimed, "You've been bending over like that all morning!" Answer, yes, I do get backache, but not as much as I used to when sitting behind a computer all day....

Here's one of my thistle roots, by the way, showing the importance of digging them out on the right sort of day - just look at the length of that root!

And it wasn't even a particularly big one...

But after a few damp days, they just slide out of the ground, so satisfying.

Well worth the backache.

And here is the left-hand crescent, or prairie bed, all neatly cut down and now mostly weeded.

It looks a bit bare, but things are starting to show: last year we added a lot of  Lysimachia ciliata 'Purpurea' and some of my favourites, Eupatorium purpureum 'Riesenschirm' so I'm very much looking forward to seeing how they turn out this year.

Oh look, there's my shadow in the picture - how  unprofessional!!

Here's the other crescent bed, you can see from the clumps of green Spanish Oat grass towards the right-hand edge that I cut them down a couple of weeks ago.

Already they are losing the tight clipped look, and starting to get shaggy again.

Always a relief!

I have more trouble with the fluffy, flowing grass - the one that looks white in this picture, it's Stipa tenuissima and it's very hard to manage, as the clumps so often die off.

Over the winter I rake through the clumps every so often to remove the dead fronds, and show the new green stems, but it seems that when they reach a certain size, they just keel over. Luckily they self-seed all over the place, so I just have to keep replacing them with newer ones.

After lunch, I have the afternoon off to go and inspect "my" new yard.

My mate Jim comes along to lend a hand: here's one of the two  main problems - there's a derelict barn to the northern edge of the yard, and what you can't see from here is the huge gaping hole in the roof on the far side.

On the right is an awful tin-roofed lean-to that is, as you can see, leaning rather more than it is supposed to.

My problem was to decide if it was possible to prop it back up so that I could use it for potting and storage of tools - with the addition of some sort of door on the front - or whether it was so far gone that it would be safer to take it down.

Jim and I looked at it, poked it, prodded it, and admired the woodworm in the rafters. We noted how the joists at this end didn't actually make contact with the main part of the building. And the way some of the joists had had extra bits of scrap wood nailed to them... so we pulled it down. Carefully, bit by bit, saving all the nails as we went (you never know, they might come in handy later on).

And here's the result, actually it's not leaning quite as badly as this picture would suggest, my phone has distorted things a bit!

Without the sagging roof, we could see a good firm concrete base and a solid back fence, so it seems my best option is to buy a shed and place it here.

But first I will have to remove that one remaining upright post, somehow, as it's flopping about and is a real nuisance. The wood has completely rotted away, but there's a metal bar going into a hole in the ground.

Still, that's a problem for another day!

The first problem - the lean-to being the second - is the lack of water: there's no water point within the yard, I have to find a way of bringing the water in from one side or the other. But again, that will have to wait for another day.

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