Been a bit short on words since Christmas. Not sure why. Just seemed to have a block in my head, that's all. Anyway Jean sent me an award, which I would not normally post up on the blog, but I did this time because she seemed to click a switch on in regards to getting back in the blogging saddle again. So thanks Jean.
Today I did two hundred thwacks with my trusty thwacking instrument. It is a three pronged thingy which, when raised up behind me, similar in action to swinging a pickaxe, and then plunged down into the ground in the same way as you would a pickaxe, will hopefully break up clods of earth, or clumps of grass, or dislodge unwanted greenery from the soil. It is a magnificent bit of kit. I could use a fork but you have to do a lot of stooping and lifting which makes my back moan no end. With the three pronged implement, no bad back ever arrives. Other things might ache in my bod but my back remains quietly happy.
Mid December and Hubs took it upon himself to get the tractor revved up. Together we managed to get the plough attached. Off he went into the Kitchen Field. Down to the end of the field he drove. Into the soil went the plough. A furrow was made. Our first.
Then some more were made......
....well quite a few actually. And what Hubs made were three long section of furrows with a wide grassy path in between.
And then the plough broke. Expletives punctured the air. Not to worry, though I thought, because enough furrows had been made. If the plough had remained unbroken heaven only knows how many more furrows Hubs would have made. He was, to put it mildly, really really keen to keep going up and down on his tractor.
So he finished off his afternoon of tractoring by lifting the last remaining hay bale from the front drive and donating it to the pigs, who received this provender with great pleasure.......
Max first because he is king in his little kingdom, so he expects to get first choice over everything. So what he is doing is rummaging about in the hay bale to break it down. Then he did a bit of a wee over it all, I suppose the equivalent of spraying some air freshener into one's house to make it smell warm and homely, then he grabbed a mouthful of hay and ran around the paddocks as if on important business.
Then the two girls joined in and a good time was had by all, including arguments, chattings, rompings and general family type behaviour. The hay was a great success, the pile lasting a week or two before the rains came.
So now we have the Kitchen Field with three long swathes of ploughed earth. Ploughed earth is not easy earth. It is cloddy earth. Big clods actually. Big enough to make it difficult to walk over without tripping over. Good thing, then, that we can walk in between the rows of clods.
Now this clodded earth is supposed to be the growing medium for this year's veg. You can't put anything into these clods, so they are unusable at the moment and need to be broken down into fine tilth if they are to be used.
Two hundred thwacks a day I devote to those clods. But I cannot break down the clods because a clod is made up of big chunks of grass and weeds and their accompanying roots, resting sideways on. What I have to do is thwack the clod hoping to break it down into a smaller piece. The three pronged thwacker then fixes itself into the clod so that I can turn it upside down so that its bottom is in the air. Any frostiness will then sit on this clod bottom and break down the lumpy bits of earth, while the green bit which was up top but which is now underneath will become rotted down and act as manure.
Two hundred thwacks does not take me very far along those furrows, but I have a lot to do during the day so two hundred is the quota I give to that particular task. One hundred mini-thwacks are given to the small veg plot. I try to do five hundred clips with the shears on the brambles and two hundred thwacks at demolishing a pile of plants and rocks out front. I do one hundred spins on my spinning wheel before I put the wool on to the next hook. I count to ten when I feel my patience evaporating. Sometimes, though, I have to count to fifty, or even a hundred, when my patience is at zilch. Counting is a good way to get one through a repetitive task and helps one apportion one's energies.
However, I might have to increase the two hundred thwacks tomorrow because the earth is drying out fast. At first the ground was heavy with water and turning the clods was a long and heavy task. Then the conditions were right, and I zinged along with clodding. Now the ground is drying, and the clods seem to have glued themselves into hard lumps. Perhaps we shall have rain soon. That will soften the clods. It will also give me a day off!
I dedicate these words to Jean, who may, or may not be, flattered!
Please note: I can receive your most welcome comments, but I can't get into the comments box to make my response back to you. I have noticed other problems of late with other blogs. Methinks Google needs to sort its links out.
Meanwhile, Horst: thanks for your advice about the tractor. Hubs has decided that we need a smaller tractor more suited to the size of our paddocks so will eventually purchase a mini tractor and the necessary implements to go with it.
Diane: That implement is a marvelous tool and sure does keep me fit, especially the bat wings on the underneath side of my upper arms!