Muddy McMud of the Clan McMud

Just another unpublished draft, from May 16. Photos to appear later:

For a fat lass, I can’t half shift some dirt with a spade..!

The original plan today was to head off for a long exploratory walk past Ballater. But after spending the last week doing some vigorous sport every single day for a week, 2 of the minxes are nursing injuries (calf and knee). The last outdoor epic was a little too recent for my taste, so I decided to cancel the plan, despite The Boss’s sulking. Still, he happily dived into the alternative plan, which was plonk the 2 injured kids and Nurse Minx in front of a DVD and race around the house and garden Getting Stuff Done.

Yes, I suppose this is a bit of a boast, but it’s also me feeling satisfied at how much we can achieve when we don’t have littlies tying us up.

I dug a neat 4 x 4ft hole in the front lawn, pausing occasionally to let a male blackbird fill his beak with the worms I’d unearthed. He came back and forth 4 or 5 times in an hour, so I guess his little hatchlings are as hungry as my minxes! I placed all the turf-cuts upside down in a separate 4 x 4ft raised bed I need to rough-fill before I add compost.

I also collected all the stones, pebbles and cobbles from the layer of turf I removed, gave them a wash and put them on the little herb bed I’ve made round the back. I’m finding that changing my perspective about the stones has really helped: at first I felt angry at the sheer tonnage of stones in the ground and how difficult they made digging it. Now that I can see how pretty they are when clean, and how great they look as a mulch on the herb bed, and that each bucket-load is saving me an absolute fortune in decorative stones from the garden centre… well, I feel delighted now with each ‘clunk’ of the spade on another rock.

Finally, I malletted in the wooden frame that The Boss made weeks ago. It’ll be painted purple when the rain’s going to hold off reliably (July?!) and because it’s so exposed will probably be planted with little lettuces, radish, etc., whereas the broad beans, peas, squash and brussels sprouts I’ve got growing on the patio in toilet roll tubes will be in the deeper bed, over in the sheltered corner.

That lot took 90 minutes. Blimey, I’m getting faster!

The wind stayed high all day and I thought about the little sunken bed I’d made, and whether any plants would ever grow there. Maxi and I talked about her Cub Scout campfire and how much fun it was toasting marshmallows. The Boss and I bemoaned the fact that we appear to be incapable of lighting neither camp- nor house-fire together, blaming each other’s ineptitude. So one thing led to another, and I decided to set myself the challenge of building a marshmallow-toasting fire in the new raised bed.

I did blog about that successful wee fire elsewhere (Little Trekkers Ambassadors blog), but I’m not sure I clearly got across how amazed The Boss and I were at the bloody thing getting going at all! I am now Trout of the Hearth Flame, and feel the need to set fire to everything. Those minxes had better tidy their bedrooms sometime very soon…

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