And another year goes by. So last month I put up two curtain poles and a washing line at The Secret Acre. Because October marked our first year anniversary of moving in. And rather embarrassingly these were the last of the ‘quick’ jobs still undone from that very first month!
But missing curtain poles aside, October was a chance for us to reflect on the good and bad points of our first year. Fortunately, perhaps, our positives and negatives were remarkably similar.
While there is still loads on the ‘to do’ list, our greatest contentment has come from the first glimpses of the good life we are hoping for at The Secret Acre. Friends visiting, views across the countryside, our ever changing green roof, etc.
And looking back we can declare our first ‘plot to plate’ test year on the veg patch a definite success too.
Back in Spring, faced with a view of freshly seeded bare beds, Emma asked in a slightly worried voice, “What will we do if nothing grows?” “That’s easy” I replied, “we’ll just build a tennis court and swimming pool instead!”
But put the leisure centre on hold, because we actually grew more veg than we expected, and a most satisfying range of veg too. Including simple things like onions, which we just hadn’t bothered with when space was limited to backyard container growing in the city.
So what did surprise us in this first year?
In common with most smallholders, we predictably didn’t achieve nearly as much on our original ‘to do’ list as we expected. There are a lot of familiar sounding jobs on this winter’s list!
And we were surprised by just how quickly the seasons turn. Perhaps it was the ‘heat island’ effect in the city that made it feel like there was always plenty of time to plant stuff. But in the countryside there were too many times this year, when we put things off until next week, only to find that is was too late when we eventually got round to it!
Overall, we haven’t spent as much time outside in this first year as perhaps we expected. Which in turn probably contributed to our habitual lateness above! On our journey to the good life, or at least a better life, we still haven’t got our work-life balance right yet, nor have we got in tune properly with the turning of the seasons. But lots of good learning to take another step forward in 2017.