Shit happens, then there are green shoots

I have been away from this forum for some weeks now doing many other things including hanging our MEUS show in Ipswich Town Hall during May as an official fringe event for PhotoEast 2018, erecting  and painting a shed on the allotment, taking on another 10 rod allotment that was so overgrown Tigers could have hidden in it, repairing the shed after it was brutally burgled along with 14 other sheds in one night and taking delivery of 7 tons of horse shit and shovelling it several times over. Yes, shit happens in many ways. Oh, and we opened our second showing/coming of MEUS on 4th July.

The lotty has taken up 3 solid weeks of 12 hour days to turn around a derelict site into a useful one. The heat has not helped but at least I got to torch the site before a blanket ban on fires came in.

We count ourselves very lucky really.

The 6th of June saw what I thought was the final finishing touches to the the new shed – rainwater harvesting which had to be a portent for a drought if ever there was one!

Green shed
Shed 6th June
Pink shelves in shed
Shed interior ready for tea station

The allotment right opposite this half plot of ours was in a sorry state so I  asked to take it on.

Ebony camera plot 61
Plot 61 Ebony

What was I thinking? Was I even thinking?

Cut vegetation
Day 1 brush cutting

 

Cut and drying vegetation
Day 2 brush cutting
Burnt vegetation
The start of the burn
Burnt vegetation
Burn complete 28th June

This was an immensely satisfying piece of work to get from overgrown brush to a cleared plot with an outline clearly visible of our new planting area. I went home tired but elated and opted for a later start the next morning.

Whilst I was leisurely emptying flame throwers and paraffin from the car the following morning I got a call from a fellow allotmenteer who has helped me enormously in our short tenure, telling me that our shed , his and many others had been burgled. That call brought back the two other burglaries we have suffered.

I absolutely hate fucking burglars and the distress they cause their victims.

Damaged padlock protector
Brute force 1
Damaged padlock protector
Brute force 2

Brute force had been used to try and break the padlock protectors. They held so the the deviants who did this went into overdrive and decided to go in through the window. I decided to leave the windows glazed so that any casual thief could see there were no power tools in there. I knew it was a weak link but why spend so much energy trying to break through the doors? The force used to do this resulted in the claw hammer used as a jemmy losing a claw.

Hammer
Hammer

Now, we got our stuff back. It had been dropped a few plots away as had other tools from other sheds which suggests several people were operating together and were disturbed. Others were not so lucky.

Did I say we count ourselves as lucky? I hate fucking burglars.

Forensics eventually turned up to try and take prints and they took the hammer away for DNA testing but the advice of the CSI person was not to lock the shed so that I would not have the damage to fix. Not exactly helpful to say the least and this week Suffolk Constabulary dropped the investigation owing to a lack of CCTV. Can you believe it? A field full of vegetable plots needs 24 hour CCTV coverage for the police to consider doing their  yet if it had it they would no doubt say they had no resources to review it.

Who do I blame apart from the fucking burglars? Theresa May.

In her time as Home Secretary she eroded police force staffing and budgets with the same effect as I wielded a brush cutter, but I at least had a strategy and a plan plus a budget to do something with the cleared plot. What did she do? Scorched earth policy and moved on. Thank you very much Theresa for putting one over on every police force in the country. Strong and stable my arse.

Now talking of stables and arses, did you know that an adult horse produces about 50lbs of shit per day (That is less than a Tory politician I think)?

No, neither did I until Doug gave me a ring and asked if I need a trailer of muck… Now Doug has been collecting shite from a local livery for a while and tows in a 3/4 ton trailer which is quite small as trailers go so this is what I thought he was talking about.

This is the trailer – 7 tons worth of horse shit .

Pile of horse shit, tractor, trailer
7 tons of shit

10 horses chomping on an organic pasture produced this lot over 3 months. The smell was sweet but rather strong and not really appreciated by people around  me. I’ve shovelled and mixed this with leaf mould now and it is shrinking by the day as the chemistry gets to work.

Dung heap
Corralled horse shit

Now, on the morning this stuff arrived this blue stake appeared in our original plot

Plot number
Plot 831

It turns out that  our plot was selected as the best newcomer plot on the field and has gone forward to be judged against other blue stakeholders. All we have done is stick stuff in the ground to grow and eat.

Did I say we were lucky?

Apparently, all plots have to have their number clearly shown and I made this scale replica of our shed. It is the perfect shed. No doors, no windows, nothing inside. I hate fucking burglars.

I wonder if many people will get the irony?

Tilled earth with plantlets
Green shoots

So after all this this is where we are at just 12 weeks after getting our first half plot. The shit is too fresh to use but all the nursery bed stuff is now coming across to plot 61 and stuff is growing. The torched weeds on the part I have not dug yet are all showing green shoots too.

There is still much to do but I must not let the grass grow under my feet but 12 weeks have returned 26lbs of strawberries, countless courgettes, onions, garlic, black currants, red currants, gooseberries, loganberries with promises of much more to come.

We count ourselves lucky indeed, and I could not have done this without so much freely given help and loaned flame throwers plus moral support all around.

I do wish it would rain though.

 

 

 

 

 

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