Sunday, December 20, 2009

optimum versus possible

This is the time of year when the distance between what needs to be done and what gets done stretches out like a very long peice of elastic. Not that it's anything new: case in point globe artichokes. I planted the seed in autumn and it overwintered in the glasshouse. They are not particularly frost tolerant which may end up being a problem here where we have up to -12 frosts. I'm going to cover them with hay in the winter, and see if it blows away, or not. Anyway, the plant on the right and its fortunate companions was planted in timely fashion into reasonable conditions. A winter mulch of newspaper, leaves and peastraw over couch grass (lawn) amongst the fruit trees. Add shelter from the wind, and water as regularly as anything else, voila.
Several months later, surviving in pots, sibling plants went into drier ground and leaf mulch which remains dry unless it has a cover of something. It didn't. The difference in colour is just the light yesterday evening. Happily the first artichoke is ready to pick now. For anybody who's worried about how far it will go amongst 6, not far at all but there are others coming on.

Now to tidy up remaining loose ends before next year: Chris Tea here's a particularly attractive salt pig belonging to my neighbour Sarah. I always thought the 'pig' must be a scottish thing for bag/jar/crock, like they have a 'poke' of chips (which is a parcel of them) but lo, a search through the online dictionary, and the culinary dictionary yeilded zilch. Well a salt pig is a container for holding your salt, normally right beside the stove. The idea behind this design on the left is that somehow this shape keeps your salt dry, from the days when salt was seen to be anhydrous and went clumpy as it absorbed moisture from the air. They must put something in it now to keep it freeflowing. The salt pig on the right might perhaps be your default option or batch/crib variety. This one sitting comfortably beneath Maisie in Marg's kitchen and looking perfectly at home. Thanks ladies.

Moving into the big time Bill has made me a small fleet of seedling boxes, most of which have already been pressed into service. They are 3 inches deep to provide plenty of root space, not too big because they get quite heavy; can you see all the drainage holes in the bottom? And hold about 50 plants this time round. Will see how prudent that was in time. May be too crowded. Thanks Bill.
It's a very good thing to have a gardening ally for all sorts of jobs and construction and moral support. We stopped at Flag Swamp School on our way home from Dunedin last week because the horse poo stand had been replenished. At 20c a bag it is the best buy of the year and although the car was full, all 6 of us, plus the Christmas shopping, groceries 'the big shop', library books and so on there was a little foot space here and there and most laps were clear and I only had a $2 coin. In they went, stowed 10 glorious bags and away we went but as the car took off, little black fleas emerged and clustered all over us and the windows. Murmurs of discontent and dissatisfaction from the back.
'Boys' said Bill, 'what you have to understand is that this is who your Mother is.'
So bolstered by such a show of understanding and acceptance I put in a request to have the plastic laundry basket mended instead of throwing it out to the dump and already Bill has drilled holes and laced it up like a bodice. Beautiful. Who could ask for anything more? Thanks for your support with all my crazy schemes.

As soon as I saw Chris Tea's 'pink farm' I realised why I had trouble hanging these 2 little Ivan Hill paintings. Small paintings go well as a collection and in a house without a lot of hanging space left, there is always a place for them. This tiny farm is perfect and we live on a tiny farm. Thanks, I love it.
Posted by PicasaNearly final thanks, the Area School graciously paid for Giles to go on his jazz trip to Wellington.
Big Noise in the
Joshua blew upon his horn
and Jericho's great walls
were gorn.
So, if you play guitar,
then dump it.
Make an impact:
buy a trumpet.
-Stuart Porteous
thanks God, for such an amazing reason to celebrate Christmas.


  1. AH Miri- totally lovely post. Of course you've caught me supposed to be organising the payroll but instead reading your blog. I know I promised no one would get any of my pottery - but I have something that might be a good salt pig.... DO you think BIll could fashion me a vege seedling box as well??

  2. BTW - Can you tell me if George has sent something for Jude in the christams present exchange. I was buying for George and then he sent me something in return which makes me wonderif he got muddled up. So if nothing arrives for Jude let me know and I'll get something.

  3. Oprimum vs possible is a good title for my garden right now too, optimum being to put anything at all in before we go away and possible being what might happen if I actually do that, as there is plenty of summer left!
    The pink farm and the other paintings really do look great together, too.
    I wish I was there, have a great few days.