As I write this, having just hung out the washing (and taken the photo), Storm Ali is whisking his coattails across Shropshire. The odd thing is, despite all the buffeting and bluster, it is really warm outside. The forecasters tell us the wind is set to build here tonight, though Scotland and the North West look to be in for the worst of it. My heart goes out to all the storm-beleaguered souls around the planet.
March first and the Snow Dragons of Winter were unleashed over Shropshire – huffing and puffing great gusts of iciness over the land. Oddly, there wasn’t a heavy fall, and the flakes were very dry, but they did a lot of travelling. In the night the dragons racketed and roared over the roof and blew all the field snow into heaps behind the house.
This movie of blowing snow was shot from the bedroom window yesterday afternoon. Today we have slushy roads and biting winds. Who let Siberia in?
copyright 2018 Tish Farrell
By way of a brief intermission from the on going Greek series, here is the sun over our Shropshire garden at around midday yesterday. The tail end of Hurricane Ophelia had apparently whipped up the dust of Africa along with the ash from the tragic forest fires in Portugal and Spain and so created this apocalyptic orange twilight complete with rosy sun. Nothing to do with us of course, all this global mayhem.
On a very dull Tuesday afternoon I thought I’d brave the cold wind and walk across the field to the allotment. On went the woolly hat, quilted coat (over three layers) and the wellies.
Unsurprisingly I had the allotment to myself – not another mad gardener in sight. I set about emptying one of the compost bins, and spreading the contents (a hand’s width deep) over a metre wide stretch of ground that had been cleared of over-wintering sprouts and broccoli. It seemed a good day to do it, and I was glad I had prised myself from the house.
This year I’m experimenting with the ‘no dig’ system of cultivation, so apart from tweaking out one or two noxious weeds, I resisted the temptation to get out my favourite spade. The objective is to cover the soil with enough interesting organic matter to excite the worms in the soil below. They then do the digging, and other soil-friendly organisms get going too so that, hopefully, the later seasons’ crops – cabbages and sweet corn – can be planted out on the much improved, and better nourished ground.
I was thus in the middle of this very absorbing activity when someone upstairs switched off the lights and I turned to find a tempest sneaking up on me.
Yikes! By the time I had scooted across the plot to the shelter of my polytunnel, we were having a small, but very concentrated snow and hail blizzard. It was far too stormy to think of making for home. Instead, I pottered about in my tunnel sowing some purple Brussels sprouts seeds in modules, while trying to remain hopeful that this truly was a passing squall and not the heavens falling in as the heavyweight clouds suggested.
I forgot to record the actual blizzard that followed, so here are some Précoce de Louviers pointy spring cabbages that are growing most happily in the tunnel.
When I stuck my nose out of the tunnel some twenty minutes later, this was the view over Much Wenlock:
By which time it was too late, and the ground too wet to go back to compost spreading. As I walked home across the allotment, I watched strange, but less threatening clouds gather over the hills:
And when I stepped through the hedge into the wheat field behind our house, the sky looked as if butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth: snowstorm, what snowstorm?
Clearly the figment of a delusional, non-digging gardener then:
copyright Tish Farrell 2016