"A really long day of weeding is a restful experience, and quite changes the current thought. For some people it is more efficient than a rest cure. It is pleasantest to take a nine - hour day of such work when the earth is wet, or even in rain, because weeds come up more easily, root and branch, from wet earth. I never want an hour at noon for dinner like the hired man, but would prefer to lunch like horses from a nosebag. It would save time, and especially the necessity of cleaning oneself. After such a day my fingers are bleeding, knees tottering, back bent, dress muddy and soaking, and shoes an offence to my tidy maid : but I have attained the most profound inward peace, and the blessed belief of having uprooted my enemies." ~ Anna Lea Merritt, 1884 - 1930
I celebrated the arrival of the autumn equinox with a marathon weeding session at the allotment, prompted by the not welcome news that my plot failed a recent allotment inspection. Although the weather was glorious, I could not quite manage nine hours of graft and did not wear a dress for the occasion. The knees and back certainly felt it but I was still fortunately mobile enough to return yesterday for another stint.
One of the problem areas were my overcrowded and overcrowded strawberry beds which had become plagued with couch grass and horsetail. The strawberry plants had reached optimum production, so I had already planned to empty the beds later this year. However there is now more urgency so after himself had nobly cleared one bed, I made clearing the other a priority this weekend. In doing so I upset the little chappie above by removing his ready made sun canopy. Those eyes stared at me most reproachfully and I am still feeling guilty.
Today's relentless rain has temporarily stopped play. I did consider spending some time researching strawberry varieties as possible replacements but thought that this might be rather premature. Please keep your fingers crossed that all the hard labour results in my plot being up to scratch when it is reviewed early next month.
The extract at the top of the post is from the chapter entitled 'Weeders and Diggers' in 'The Virago Book of Women Gardeners' edited by Deborah Kellaway. A prefect book for dipping in and out of especially on days such as this.