A dark stranger returns (368)
by Max Akroyd
Apparently it rained here while I was in England. And thanks to this contribution we cut our first outdoor lettuce of the season yesterday and pulled our first radishes too. The latter were very small – just thinnings really – but very welcome. However, the soil itself was unchanged from the dusty state I left it in.
The actual sight of rain as I opened the shutters this morning caused me to stop and ponder how strange this season has been. The pigs and goats and I have all grown accustomed to day after day in the field under more or less clear skies. For months. To see, hear, smell grey skies and rain was like stumbling across a familiar scene in a strange landscape.
The main effect of the drought garden-wise has been to delay the big outdoor sowings. Namely, main crop peas, carrots and beetroot. It simply wasn’t rational to put this expensive seed into lunar-dry soil. The return of the rain will enable this to happen before the longest day and I want every bed full by the end of June. Equally important is the fillip provided to the parched plants already in the field. Hopefully this intervention will swell the autumn-sown broad beans and peas – a harvest which becomes more appealing every day.
The final benefit of the rain is to allow me to soft-peddle for another day. Incipient old age and rustic tendencies means the journey takes a day or two to get over, mentally and physically. I did complete May’s indoor sowings this morning though, an unprecedented achievement hereabouts, which I’m very pleased about. Now I’m going to make like big pig and sleep this cloud off.