Wow it feels like I haven’t been here for ages and have really neglected this. I meant to do some more with my craft blog too and haven’t done that either. But I have a good reason – I was so sooo busy.
I started a new job with Warwickshire County Council at the beginning of July. They let me just do 3 days a week until September, but with working 2 days a week at Allesley Walled Garden and doing 2 RHS exams I hardly had time to do anything else. I also taught about 5 courses for Garden Organic. Keith was really busy too as his job involved at least 3 weekend implementations this summer so all in all, the garden got pretty neglected. The veg patch is very weedy, although we had a good crop of spuds and runner beans. The brassicas are still in situ for winter eating, as are a few carrots and parsnips. Also, I just ate the only pumpkin that grew, in a soup. But all the fruit trees got their summer pruning – the renovation pruning will continue this winter. And the herb garden looked great and attracted lots on insects – I’m planning to grow more culinary stuff next year.
Sorrel and Alex also lost the plot a bit and got involved in a massive house tidy up and some very complicated domestic problems. Al and Lucy put us all to shame by keeping their plot looking great despite the sleepless nights and colicy crying. Still, there’s always next year….
The Allesley Walled Garden sessions were quite strange. The people who employed me were very pleased with what I did, and despite having to spend hours preparing, I quite enjoyed it. However, there were clearly issues with their advertising because hardly anyone turned up! For the family sessions, I had about 10-12 people at most, most were done with just one family of mum and 2 boys. The adult sessions were even worse because the first session 2 people turned up – but one had clearly been persuaded into it by a friend on the committee and wasn’t really that interested. The second session, only 1 person turned up. It’s very odd to teach on a one-to-one basis – I’m not sure I like it! Anyway AWGG haven’t offered this kind of thing before so I think that was part of the problem – people looking for organic gardening courses weren’t looking to them. Also, the advertising was too little too late – partly due to budgets restrictions and partly due to not having enough volunteers. And there seem to be some internal political divisions there that will need resolving before they can move forwards.
But all this did focus my mind a little on thinking about what I want to get out of Home on the Hill and why I’m doing this. At first it seemed a natural step, moving on from the chaos of Garden Organic – but it’s really hard work and quite difficult without being on site and part of an organisation. I like to be in control and didn’t feel it when teaching at either Garden Organic or Allesley. And although the pay seems good, I’m not sure the hourly rate is great! I’ve been offered the opportunity to teach at Warwickshire College again this December and January and that’s much easier – all the prep work is done from last year, the staff who support me are reliable, and the student numbers are guaranteed (well, swine-flu permitting). But that’s a salaried job, not self-employed. In my mind, it’s part of my Home on the Hill project, but not according to that tax man. Anyway, since starting my new job I’ve discovered that there are 2 community allotments in Rugby – what’s more, I can visit one of them occasionally as part of my new job. So, as one of my main aims is to help people discover the joy of growing their own food, although this would be (mostly) voluntary work, it seems like a better way forward. And it just might lead to something interesting at some point in the future…. I’ve also been offered some writing opportunities – unpaid but interesting. So for the time-being, I’m going to teach for the college and do some unpaid work and see where it takes me.
Anyway, I think that’s enough about the gardening failure of a summer. I have lots of ideas for articles to write for here – stuff about poultry, garden planning, growing herbs, vegetables, fruit, ornamental stuff….. And I need to work out a bit more about how blogs work and pass on an award I received and loads of other stuff.
Hopefully, some of that will happen in the next few weeks, now I have my life back!