Thursday, 30 September 2010

The End of a Season

I don’t know what I was thinking starting a blog a little over a week before starting a new job. I’ve been woefully underemployed for so long, I guess I assumed this would continue. But instead, I’ve been working for 4 days, and I’m already swamped – oh joy! My employment since leaving the US seven years ago has not stretched me, to say the least. So I’m very pleased to have landed a job at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS). My title is Administrative Assistant, but I’m going to see if I can’t end up with communications or publications in my title by the end of it (working on web stuff, fun fun).
So, it will just be that little harder to keep up with the blog, to say nothing of facebook, since I won’t be able to waste time at work on the internet anymore. I’ll just have to find time in between all the gardening, knitting, cooking, reading, and film watching I do when I’m not working. At least the gardening is slowing down now that Fall has arrived (note, even though I live in the UK, I refuse to give up calling this season Fall. Like many of our Americanisms, it is actually a more historically authentic English term than the European-tainted (read Frenchified) “Autumn” of the modern day British. In fact, I think we should start calling American English “English” and call the English that British people speak “British”. I might just go ahead and start calling it that just to annoy people.
But I digress. Back to my garden, and the long season of rest and recuperation ahead. I spent ridiculous amounts time at the garden this summer and now I am worn out and ready for winter. It was a beautiful summer, so at least gardening meant spending lots of time in lovely sunshine. But it was pretty exhausting work, mostly involving eradicating the weed infestation left by the former, weed-indifferent allotment owner. At one point I was convinced that there must be an enormous weed kraken skulking underground sending out tentacles throughout the beds the minute my back was turned. And then at another point I felt, ahh, I’ve finally got this under control, the battle has turned and the weeds are in retreat. And then we went away for a weekend.
Fortunately my husband decided to join me out in the sunshine, taking over watering duty, so I was freed up to concentrate more fully on weeding. I’m just lucky I didn’t develop carpal tunnel syndrome – I’m sure I would have if the gardening hadn’t prevented me from doing my usual volume of knitting.

Messy, blighty tomato plants

So, the process of putting the garden to bed feels good. I picked the tomatoes before they succumbed to the blight (also, the plants were just messy and offended my sense of order), and now they are all sitting out to ripen in my greenhouse.
I’ve cut down the beans and pulled out the peppers and aubergines (poor things, I planted them too late, they never had a chance to produce). But the garden is not finished yet – I have quite a few more things to harvest.
There are the winter brassicas- I've been struggling to grow romanesco broccoli, because there is no more beautiful, delicious broccoli, and it's crazy expensive and impossible to find. But also, it turns out, crazy hard to grow. The parsnips seem to be coming along nicely, but who knows how they look underground. At least there is the dependable, wonderful swiss chard. And squash of course. I have 6 butternut and slightly more regular old pumpkins. Which turned out tiny, but I hope that means they'll be sweet.
And then there is the piece de resistance, the plant that makes it all worthwhile, my pride and joy, my artichokes. Some things are worth waiting for (I grew them from seed too, so I'm doubly proud). I don't know why one of them is mutantly larger that the others, as long as he starts producing next year I'm not going to argue.