It's been a very busy spring. We planted about 1700 of the 3000 trees before realising that there was a lot more clearing needed to be done before we could plant the remaining 1300. Also it turns out that the grant only requires that they all be planted by February next year, so we plan on getting them in in the autumn. Nothing like putting off a job, ha! Why do today what you can leave until tomorrow? Still, we've not been resting on our laurels, you know (whatever that means). There are plenty of other things to be getting on with.
New beds are being created in the vegetable garden, at great effort. The land is horribly compacted after being used for horses by the previous owners, it's as hard as rock and shot through with thick, parsnip-sized dock roots. Pernicious weeds such as buttercup must be removed. Meanwhile last year's beds are being given the once-over before this year's plants are put in. So far we have several beds of potatoes, white and red onions, parsnips, asparagus, peas, broad beans, beetroot, leaf beet, kale and lettuce.
We've done a good (mostly timely) job of sowing our seeds this year, and have managed to keep on top of pricking out and potting on. Last year's success stories were: potatoes, parsnip, beetroot, basil, cucumbers and courgettes. Surprise failures included: spinach, carrots, peppers, aubergines and leeks. You'd have thought that leeks would be happy anywhere in Wales, being the national vegetable, but apparently not.
I've been trying to juggle Meg and the smallholding projects, and have been feeling quite frustrated by my inability to give my full attention to either as thoroughly as I would like. Megan is flourishing though, so I mustn't feel guilty for sometimes calling "Hang on a minute," as I finish hanging the nappies out to dry, or putting her in the laundry basket in the garden whilst I do some weeding for half an hour!
About a month ago I realised that I was getting stressed again, and that there was a whole host of stressful things hanging over me, needing to be dealt with. My mum encouraged me to write a list (one of my favourite activities) and I focused on sorting stuff out over the course of a couple of weeks. It's amazing how much lighter I feel now, and how much more able I am to face oncoming tasks. A weight has been lifted. :D