Friday, 30 October 2009

More muck

"Are you still interested in horse muck?" the neighbouring farmer asked me yesterday afternoon. Last year I had asked him and he hadn't been able to come up with any good ideas. But this morning he arrived with a huge trailer full of five-year old rotted muck, then another trailer, then two more. We now have to negotiate the price, but I'm sure we'll come up with something satisfactory to both parties! We haven't finished spreading the municipal stuff yet, but most of the bare areas are now covered and we may finish weeding the rest by christmas and will then spread the black stuff around.

My last seasonal farmer's market yesterday went surprisingly well - I wasn't very positive as I set out as I didn't have a vast amount and some of my bunches were decidedly odd, even by my standards. But I was sold out very early and met dozens of people I knew as the town was buzzing, partly half term, and partly an influx for the weekend as this weekend is the annual Hay on Fire festival. It's created and organised by my husband and has a cast of several hundred, so usually I'm completely hectic running around for it but this year I have been so busy with everything else I haven't got involved at all which is oddly tranquil! However, the theme this year is giants, based very loosely on Jack and the Beanstalk and  in a very weak moment I did agree to be the front half of Jack's cow Daisy. This afternoon I must whip into town to buy the requisite half a pair of Marigolds for the back end, and the friend who I have co-opted to be the other end  and myself need to practice getting from A to B and see if we can manage a few high kicks.....

We've managed quite a bit of seed collection this autumn as there have been such good dry spells. I'm becoming obsessed with seedheads, scabious pingpong are definitely top of my must-have list but they don't last in their gorgeous dodecahedron form (or similar) for all that long before dropping the seed and browning. Nonetheless they are splendid. Nigella hispanica are a close second for their splendid horns, and the purplish pods of Nigella Kramers Plum are a glorious colour. But though they may be the most recognisable of all there's something so satisfactory about the plumpness of poppy seedheads. My favourite plant this week have to be the remaining eryngiums. They look like pert little purple raspberries. I have dried masses of their seedheads and though I usually leave everything as nature intended I will paint some of them white rather than leaving them browning.

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