Thursday, 1 January 2009

A frosty New Year

New Year’s Day and no let up in the frost. The ground is iron hard and the trees covered with a fine coating. The birds are finding it hard.

I re-filled the bird feeders and scattered a few mealy grubs on the ground, but I’m sure I had more mealy grubs and couldn’t find them.

The lights were on in the calving shed up behind the house as I went to bed at about half past midnight and I could hear the beasts moaning. All was quiet this morning, so it looks like a good result.

As I strolled past the village allotments (for those not familiar with the idea, see the United Kingdom, an allotment is a small area of land, let out at a nominal yearly rent by local government or independent allotment associations, for individuals to grow their own food. This could be considered as an example of a community garden system for urban and to some extent rural folk. The allotment system began in the 18th century: for example, a 1732 engraving of Birmingham, England shows the town encircled by allotments, some of which still exist to this day. Following the Enclosure Acts and the Commons Act of 1876 the land available for personal cultivation by the poor was greatly diminished. To fulfil the need for land allotment legislation was included. The law was first fully codified in the Small Holdings and Allotment Act of 1908, it was modified by the Allotments Act of 1922 and subsequent Allotments Acts up until 1950.”),

I got to thinking about the humble Brussels sprout. It seems that you either love or hate the Sprout. In some cases, even people who like cabbage can’t stand sprouts. I think this is because they’ve never eaten sprouts at their best, after the frost has been at them and the centre is pink and sweet.

I don’t have an allotment; I find the idea of having to take my tools etc. down a bit of an effort, probably because my first garden was a third of an acre and filled with all kinds of veg. All I had to do to cultivate or collect was step out of my back door. Mind you, in those days we were poor. We had 2 kids at home, I held down 2 jobs and I used to go out at weekends and push over dead trees in the hedgerows to bring home for fuel.

The village is very proud of its allotments, and unlike some other areas, it looks unlikely that they will be sold off for development, so there will be lots of local families growing and eating fresh veg. If this sort of thing interests you, go to: The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners

Speaking of development, I saw these along the path as I was walking Molly. I hope they’re only there to mark out the path when the Council workmen come to lay down some quarry waste. I think I need to keep an eye on them.

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