Monthly Archives: June 2014

Tractor grrrl

Okay, crunch time – we need to sort out a tractor.  Which is why the OH and I are on the road trip to visit a purveyor of ‘garden and estate machinery’.  Very exciting.  The pennies will not stretch to a new set of tractor 4 wheels and the OH says the only point of 2nd hand tractors is for people who like tinkering with tractors.  So, 4 wheels good, 2 wheels better!

tractorThe 2 wheel tractor we have in mind has lots and lots of implements and accessories.  Just like Barbie. One could get carried away – I am particularly covetous of the mini baler, (though not so covetous of the price).   The OH will no doubt be discussing models and specs and such like.  My requirements begin and end with ‘can I start it’; at my age recoil start is a no no.

We met Paul, who was very charming.  He went through all the permutations, pros and cons, bits and pieces and priced it all up.  It does add up.  I did ask Paul whether he had ever sold one of the mini balers – and he said yes he had – apparently they are in demand by Londoners with second homes in the county who bank at Coutts.

I don’t think our crumpled tenners can compete.

 

 

 

Strawberry fields forever…

(title courtesy of Mr John Lennon)

DSC_0098Well not actually a field so much as a strip that runs beneath the pear trees at the base of the piggery sty brick wall.   This is year 2 for the plants so the potential cropping is looking good.  Thing is you can’t ripen strawberries once you’ve picked them – they’ll redden but not get any sweeter, which is why most supermarket fruits taste so awful.  In order to have fruit that will stand up to transporting the supermarket strawberry is picked when it is hard, before it is ripe. So those lovely plump, shiny, red supermarket strawberries are truly horrid.  And it’s no use trying the ‘stick in a paper bag with a banana’ approach.  The strawberry is a ‘non-climacteric’  fruit.  The fruit doesn’t respond to ethylene treatment.  The best way to obtain sweet strawberries is either to grow them yourself or visit your local PYO and pick at the point of ripeness.

Hence, chez nous, the netting.  The red strawberry is the candy choice for all and sundry, and I’m determined to have a crop.  The netting arrangement looked most effective until I found the chicklets ducking underneath.  I’ll have to rummage through the potting shed to locate some pegs, bent snips of wire coat-hanger are always handy.  I am, to be honest, a bit concerned with my planting distance – where sweetness is concerned  growing conditions are nearly everything,  (variety has some influence), and I may possibly have crammed in far, far too many plants ….. I may still be reaching for the sugar…..

Anyone for strawberry and rose petal jam?

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