Busyness (39,916,800,000ms to go – thanks Ben!)

by Max Akroyd

Being busy is the smallholder’s lot. You can’t have responsibility for dozens of other animals – and vegetables! – without having your hands full to overflowing.

Given the recent vileness of the weather most activity has been soft stuff like sowing seeds and tidying the toolshed. Key jobs, but not – at the end of the day – worthy of an alcoholic reward. Today was different. This morning the sun came out at last and without its usual icey winter counterpoint.

The nature of work was transformed. Barn doors were flung open and their porcine residents booted out. I shovelled their shit, which had accumulated somewhat during my days away, with renewed vigour. Into the compost area it went replacing the rotted down stuff which I took out onto the field to form ‘lazy beds’ for sowing potatoes next month. Instead of being a steaming heap, the jobs I have in mind are once more a neat and interconnected web…

Amazing what a bit of solar power can do.  And with three clean pig houses all scrubbed up I can look forward to a bit of wine this evening, providing I get that sowing done now.


I don’t often get the chance to use bullet points around here; so, for no better reason than that a list of signs of spring I saw today:

  • two buzzy things ( I won’t bore you by giving you their scientific names),
  • a dandelion in flower,
  •  laundry on the line dried in just a few hours,
  • the smell of cut grass (I’d cut it), 
  • the slight glow of sunburn on my face as I type this. Although that might be windburn.


A small seed order arrived this morning, containing some onion seed amongs other things… thus breaking two vows: not to order any more seeds and not to sow onions from seed. Oh well.

Sowing time