Has The Secret Acre gone to rack and ruin since our last blog 5 months ago?
In short, no.
What has gone to ruin, we’ve realised, was our resolve to only work part-time since moving to the smallholding. Both our hours have slowly crept up again over the last two years, almost without noticing.
So, while we fix the work/life balance back down again, what has been happening at The Secret Acre?
Mostly, in a word, weather!
Like everyone else, our late winter/early spring preparations were all stop and start as various ‘Beasts for the East’ arrived with late dumps of snow.
But thanks to an afternoon of help from our neighbours, who arrived armed with multiple chainsaws and cutters, we finally managed to finish clearing the last major overgrown section in the orchard.
Then everyone’s sowing was delayed by the unusually wet late spring. But eventually Emma was able to make a splendid job of pruning the fig, preparing the veg beds, and I even managed to get our new horseradish planted up, in an old drum to attempt to keep it contained.
Since then it’s been unusually hot and dry of course, with Grand Canyon sized cracks now opening up in the ground. Some of our veg has coped, others have suffered. All our potatoes came up for example, and were duly earthed up, only for half of them to reappear as they struggled through the now concrete like baked earth.
But despite these struggles with climate change and too much work, Emma’s flowers and herbs are flourishing, most of the veg is growing, and we even found time to pick and make our usual batch of Elderflower Cordial.
Now roll on the harvest!