Log #2: Plough Monday
We know, of course, that is it is only pretending to be sleeping. Beneath that crusty cover there is a lot going on. We dare not disturb it at this time. The garden is plotting.
Plough Monday is the traditional start of the agricultural year. It is the first Monday after Twelfth Night (5th/6th January) so this year Plough Monday falls on 10th January. Traditions abound, mostly based on the historic practice of dragging a plough from house to house to raise funds which were then given to the local church in return for a blessing for the utensil. It was no doubt hoped that a blessed plough would cut a fertile furrow. Some years it did. Not much digging was done in early modern Britain in January. The ground was considered too hard.
The soil is not so hard in the unspoken garden. The frosts have been light and fleeting. The lake (pond) level dropped and induced a worry that it might have developed another leak to supersede those we repaired last year, so we raised the midriff dam to save the fish from suffocation and determine in which half the hole might be, but then there was rain-a-plenty, so our fears are floated. We brace ourselves for that sinking feeling. Close to the boards of the Banished, snowdrops do not fall, but rise, shafting to strut their winning heads. They are always annoyingly sure that they will be first in the whiteface race. Other upward diggers depart their bulb bases hoping to shade a more colourful victory. The stewards are on standby. She saw tasks that demanded action. I saw actions in abeyance. Had enough been laid down? Should I let it lie? Or is there more to be unearthed? Like worms, we soil the fodder we find. Should I plough another patch this year? We were smugly observed in our uncertain meandering.
The newest petrified damsel looks demurely assured. She doesn't know where she is, but she sure knows she owns it. She does not pretend, or crave, affection. A gold-digger she is not. She has no need of mettle. She has a heart of stone. Meanwhile, the filberts secretly transact their hidden share. The two hazels, planted just three metres apart, must surely divvy up root space. They negotiate via fungal go-betweens I'm persuaded. I think it must be true. The more northerly always gains and sheds its leaves three weeks or more before its southerly conspirator. The southern belle still has a trio of musketeer hat leaves that are so last year, but she already sports this year's catkin gloves just dying to be air-kissed.
We ploughed the ground to plant the pair in the hope they'd let us nibble their nuts. They've proved tight-fisted. Or perhaps the grey acrobats grabbed the early show. Sciurus and Carolinensis stuff themselves twice daily. The secret gardener is fattening them. Not for the table. For the root and branch campaign. We know they are insurgent non-conformists, but consider their antics an added blessing.
Thinking of blessings, I remembered the moral missives about those who beat their swords into ploughshares.
(A ploughshare is the pointy bit that lacerates the land.)
I remembered too, that the pen is mightier than the sword.
It made me think;
I should plant some ink.
There’s more than you might initially realise going on beneath the leaves of Jyn & Tonic . No spoilers, but the hazels have it.
Missives from an unspoken garden #1: Solstice