Gite season (496)

by Max Akroyd

Self-sufficiency is all very well but, while the garden and the studio are getting established, the gite is our financial lifeblood. I’m pleased to say our first guests of 2010 arrive on Sunday. This means a lot of tidying up around the place – especially after the snow, whose aftermath somehow seems to accentuate any imperfections!

Almost unbelievably, the grass in the gite garden needed cutting. So, as Emma pruned and swept, I had the daunting prospect of trying to get the lawnmower serviced after its six week winter holiday. The oil change went fine and a Stanley knife soon got rid of the yards of plastic mulch fibre which had managed to get ravelled around most the mower’s inner workings. It was only as I chipped away at the encrustations of old grass cuttings that I realised that they were in fact holding the thing together, rust having eaten through some of the chassis. Perhaps mistakenly, I took this as a sign to stop being so organised and to revert to just blundering forward regardless. Unfortunately I then realised the petrol can was empty, so the mower and I didn’t get too far…

Since starting this smallholding malarkey I find most of my tasks are like bananas – they come in big bunches. Today’s example was setting up the electric fence for the big pig so she can dig parts of the field my spade won’t reach. Simple enough you might think – but no. Achieving this minor task is contingent on doing half-a-dozen other sub-tasks which unfurl in my mind in a long, wearisome list; often in the small hours of the morning – a cause or effect of insomnia, I’m never sure. Perhaps all action in life is complicated like this but, because I don’t know what I’m doing, it’s less spontaneous/more laborious in respect of the farm.

Anyway, I got the major pre-task task out of the way by shifting a long (30 metre) bit of plastic from the area the pig will be and stapling it to where the herb garden will be. I was meant to have mowed the latter area of grass too (sub-task 2.4(c)) but as I’ve explained I need to get more petrol for the mower ( previously sub-task 2.1, now sub-task 3.2(a))!


Just add electricity ... and a pig!