Sometimes it takes me a long time to reach the allotment. I set off with great purpose, shouldering a big bag of vegetable waste for the the compost heap. It is only a short hike across the field, although after rain it can be treacherously slithery, thus requiring due care and attention to avoid all outbreaks of undignified slippage. And then there are the distractions. And if I happen to have a camera in my pocket: well then, gardening must wait.
So that’s what happened when I spotted these apples that someone had slung over their hedge in the autumn. During the winter the blackbirds had nibbled the insides so neatly that only the skins remained. Not only that, the delicate apple ‘shells’ had now accrued quite new and surprising properties. Lying scattered in downtrodden grass and browning leaves, they were now capturing and emitting that too rare glow of winter sunshine. Thank you, blackbirds. A fine light show.
Thursday’s Special: recycled
copyright 2018 Tish Farrell
The field path to the allotment was a slithery assault course after heavy rain and the wind was bitter, but on the big allotment bonfire-heap-in-waiting there was treasure. On top were slices of a new builder’s pallet that someone had sawn up to make for easier disposal. Well thank you very much. Naturally I had to retrieve these for recycling man and the home wood burner pile. I stacked the pieces by the hedge beside my exit route for later transportation i.e. once I’d emptied my big blue IKEA bag of vegetable peelings on the compost heap; the reason for my visit.
But then once I’d fished out the pallet pieces I realised someone had dumped a mass of garden waste that would be so much better on my compost heap. (Why do people who garden not make compost?) My good fortune though. I filled the IKEA bag to bursting. And it was during this exercise and under a load of tree prunings that I found the other half of the pallet that had not been sawn up. Yippee! It was just the right size to make the side of a new compost bin. I lugged it up to my plot along with the compost makings. Dug up the last of the carrots and discovered some parsnips. It was then I realised I’d been so busy scavenging and rootling, the weather had sneaked up on me. Over Windmill Hill there was a storm coming in. Just time to slither home across the field, deliver the pallet bits and untangle the sheets that had tied themselves in knots on the washing line. When I took them indoors they were filled with fresh-air smells that made me think of spring.
copyright 2018 Tish Farrell
No. I thought not. It appears to be an inclination that comes upon men of a certain age, and especially those who possess wood burning stoves and sheds. Suddenly their eyes are peeled, and whenever they’re away from home, they’re on the look out for abandoned builders’ pallets. You know, those rough wood platforms that come with deliveries of bricks and tiles, engines and other heavy duty what-not that requires shunting round warehouses on fork-lift trucks.
In our house the fad started with Graham needing a work bench that would fit into the conservatory. This was quickly followed by the need for another bench that would also fit into the conservatory. Fortunately these wants coincided with a big delivery of technical equipment at work. Oh the joy: multiple pallets were suddenly free for the asking. It even determined the kind of car we owned – hatch-back naturally. At one stage there were so many pallets that Graham had to share some with Bob. Not an easy share I can tell you.
Also recycling pallet wood is not necessarily straightforward. This is where the ‘scrattling’ comes in, a word invented (I think) by my sister’s chap, the aforementioned Bob, who is an ardent pallet scrattler. You see there is an art to dismantling pallets so as to extract the best and most serviceable timber. In fact it is really advisable to watch some You Tube videos for best practice before you start.
Of course I should not be snide about this most worthwhile of older-man pursuits, I whose allotment is the lucky recipient of pallet compost bins and several raised beds. Also at home this Christmas we have a festive pallet tree, and here it is in our sitting room…
Happy Festive Season Everyone