End of season reflections
Everyone's gone nuts
Sitting here in my office watching storm Ciaran throw the rain horizontally against my window gives me a chance to catch up on the computer and makes me realise that I’ve neglected this blog for too long.
I don’t seem to often get the chance to reflect on the previous year but today the chance has emerged (thanks Ciaran). With Rob Luft’s Dehab Days playing, reminding me of summer days when the whole ART crew would have leisurely lunchbreaks and even the occasional siesta, I remember what a lot I get from the rest of the crew – friendship, banter, lots of laughs (and some work too) – so thanks to Caitlin, Ellen, Fran, Holly and Sandra. With them we’ve expanded our food processing and experimentation too, and we’re hoping to work towards a new perennial foods cookbook in the near future.
The nut harvest this year was huge, and we celebrated by having our “Nutters lunch” with guest Mark Diacono. Nuts on the menu included acorns, bladdernuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and monkey puzzle nuts – not a bad selection!
I find that growing plants is the perfect antidote to the incessant bad news of the earth’s climate system starting to tip into chaos. How can growing new life not be at least a bit optimistic? In our nursery this year we’ve grown a wider range of plants than ever. Despite the recession/cost of living crisis, thankfully lots of people still believe it is good to invest in plants or seeds to help increase their food self-sufficiency. So thanks to all our customers which makes what we do possible.
We’re now into our winter season of despatching plants, and starting new plants from hardwood cuttings. These mostly go straight into the still-warm soil. The weather this year has been consistently inconsistent with a wet late winter, hot spring, autumnal summer, quite hot early autumn, and now a mild wet late autumn and early winter. Plants are confused - just like us - and most are still well in leaf, some deciding to risk a few more flowers. All the nuts and most fruits were 7-10 days early ripening. It is quite striking if you’re used to working with plants just how erratic the climate-plant system is becoming - and this is just the start of decades of increasing chaos. It is not a promising outlook and yet we have to remain positive, not by ignoring or denying the crisis (even via scientific conservatism), but by supporting each other and doing positive things in our own lives.
How we felt after the nuttters lunch ….