It’s October already. Seize the moment, my friends. Yesterday I figured out that because of all the seed packets I ordered, I’d need more shelving. Without further ado I ordered blocks and timber, and both were delivered a few hours later.
The tomatoes are still producing, so I needed to build around them, and I’m almost finished. There’s another shelf to be constructed tomorrow. Seven tomatoes needed to be eaten during the construction process. All the seeds to be grown here between now and spring will be very cozy!
I’m participating in an Instagram challenge called My Garden This Month. The idea is to post something each day according to a given prompt. The link is here. If you’re an IG user, do consider joining in using the hashtag #mygardenthismonth
Storm Alex is arriving from France over the weekend. I am reminded of my reaction in October 2018. The scouts taught me to “Bí Ullamh”. In the case of this one, it may not be severe as Met Éireann have issued no weather warnings. That could change.
The timber shed was demolished, to be replaced by a steel one. We’d had it for nearly twenty years and it was beginning to crumble. As I look at this photograph, Meabh’s tree is on the right, planted when she was born in 1994. It too is gone, as it grew too big and cast too much shade.
Clearly, there was grass, but truthfully, it was never a lawn.
The previous week we had spent some time in Kerry and took a boat trip to the famous Skellig Michael. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it did not disappoint. The monks lived in isolation there in the 6th century.
I was reminded of this as I cycled the Beara Peninsula last Saturday (13th September 2020). Both islands (Mór & Beag) can be seen from the road between Allihies and Eyeries. Monks residing there were made of tough stuff. No Amazon Prime free deliveries back then.
I’ve been saying it for many years and I’d been thinking it for a few years prior to saying it. Now is the time to do it, and hey presto, it’s done in two days. It’s my Cold Frame 2020 v. 2.0. Timber bought, measured, cut and varnished yesterday. Assembled early this morning and now my many cuttings have a sheltered warmer home for the winter. I intend growing winter salad as well, and it will be a mighty advantage in getting vegetable seeds started much earlier in Spring. In April next year it will be used as a half-way-house between the glasshouse and the garden for delicate seedlings because I’ll be able to leave it wide open during the day and closed at night.
It’s a deluxe Cold Frame, with two separate WiFi-controlled hinged vents and stylish teak knobs. I decided to place it directly on the concrete walls of my raised bed but it can easily be moved to the next bed or even further along the bed. It will not be needed between May and August and the area will be needed for vegetables, so I may just move it away to a quiet corner. Why on earth did I not get this sorted years ago? Note: it’s not WiFi-controlled!
I did have a Cold Frame back in the last century, but now I’m bang up-to-date again. However, I am looking for advice. This frame is west-facing and gets sunlight most of the day, and importantly from midday to 4pm it’s direct sunlight. Will I need to shade it? Will cuttings survive inside? If it were WiFi-controlled I’d be able to pull a blind remotely.
As I mentioned up top, this was in my mind and on the tip of my tongue for ages, yet it was only when I saw a friend of mine showing his gorgeous updates on Instagram that I was prodded into action. Bit of maths, trip to Topline, gloves and paint, wine & sleep, and finished the job before breakfast. I might toast my efforts with a further glass or two of Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva. Would that be good advice?
It is highly likely that this super-duper high-tech project (and the contents within) will feature over and over again in future articles. I am excited, and in a strange way, looking forward to some cold weather! Having said as much, I sat in the gáirdín this afternoon in warm sunshine. Felt like about twenty. The thermostat in the Cold Frame measured 28.3C just before 4pm.
“Why isn’t it called a Warm Frame?”, my daughter asks.
Míle buíochas to my brother Ray for his willingness to donate two teak windows to the project. There will be a half dozen plants winging his way in 2022.
The gable end of the new shed is just crying out for some climbing plants. I’ll somehow need to attach something to it that will enable plants to climb. Of course, additionally, I’ll need to plant a plant or two, preferably climbers.
My Six on Saturday this Saturday features six tasks that need doing. All were in my garden yesterday, they’re there today too, and all will need doing soon. There’s too much for just one day. Matter of fact, chun an fhírinne a rá, some have been there as ugly eyesores for the past thirty-something years. I now create this numerically ordered alphabetical to-do list and will revisit it shortly to prioritise the six items, most likely non-alphabetically.
Alphabetical Ugly Eyesores:
Climbers to be secured to the unvarnished fence (different from 4 below).
Gable end to be planted up.
Fence behind glasshouse to be completed as soon as I get myself into size 38 trousers.
Oiltank to be camouflaged.
Tree-stump to be removed, once certification is in place.
Wall behind rhubarb to be upgraded to “less annoying”.
Here are my six this week, in no particular order:
Hiding the ugly plastic oil tank will be my number one priority if it rises to the top of the prioritisation process, as I feel it will. I know exactly the way I intend to do it and when it’s finished, the ugly plastic oiltank will be hidden from view. That’s the whole point. It’s on the way to being a top priority.
The gable end of the shed is just crying out for some climbing plants. I’ll somehow need to attach something to it that will enable plants to climb. Of course, additionally, I’ll need to plant a plant or two, preferably climbers. Instructions will be added to their DNA to stop growing as soon as they reach shed height. It’s an unusual form of genetic modification which is purely cosmetic, called SWSHIR. (As Gaeilge: SNASBAB).
We completed 20 metres of new fencing last month to hide the ugly wall, and there now remains but a very short ugly section behind the glasshouse. The plan is for me to lose lots of inches from my waist in order to get at it. This project is urgent, yet it may be put on the long finger until completion of all other projects has depleted me sufficiently.
The rhubarb is growing wildly, but the bare wall is beyond annoying. Both are unconnected. After thirty-two years, it’s time to put the wall on a project list. I’m hoping this little job beag will be completed along with hide-the-oil-tank, at which point I intend to move the rhubarb back to its base.
The stump of Meabh’s beech tree remains. Recently, I thought of trying to make a little seat of it, but I’m doing an online lumberjack certification course, so I hope to demolish it completely, right down to ground level. Items required, according to my online tutor: sledgehammer, metal wedge and some Saxa salt.
This unvarnished fence gives us great privacy and there are a few climbers on it. However, they hang precariously on thin wire. A more secure method of securing them would bring me great relief. I would welcome suggestions. This item may sink to the bottom of the list until such time as sufficient suggestions are received and evaluated. I ndáiríre, it might never happen.
“It’s in Latin.” “So? What does it say?” “I don’t read Latin!” “You’re kidding. I thought all geniuses read Latin. Isn’t that the international language for smart people?
Rachel Caine, Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires)
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here in Ireland. This article was pre- prepared and scheduled to auto-post, because I figured that I’d have a small bank-holiday hangover be on my annual retreat. After many months of lockdown, we had hoped to have friends over for some wine and a chinwag, together with liberal lashings of hand-sanitiser. Instead, Thursday’s events meant that plans got knocked on the head! Anyways, ar aon nós, wherever you are I do hope you have a joyful and fulfilling weekend, and to bring you more joy, here among my Six Ugly Eyesores, is my lovely sister’s mallow.
If you are hesitant to comment on any of the above ugly eyesores or the pretty mallow, here are some prompts you may find helpful:
What’s your favourite holiday weekend?
Have you completed your lumberjack course? No? What about other practical ones?
I’d be honoured to attempt a reply to a non-English-language comment. Oui, certainment! No Latin please.
This Six on Saturday was largely composed in hospital after a heavy bang to the head yesterday. Apparently, no kitchen tiles were damaged and, although I was tempted to show my consultant a final draft of this as some proof that upstairs was still functioning, I waited for official discharge on purely medical grounds. I’m back gardening today, and spending some time reading other lovely garden Sixes.