Scorched Earth Warfare

Today I got the opportunity to do something I enjoy quite a lot (in certain, safe settings):

BURN THINGS

Specifically weeds, specifically those on my allotment. One of my allotment neighbours appeared with a weed burner and kindly offered me the chance to use it. I’m still resisting the temptation to use weedkiller, much as women in the early stages of labour sometimes say they’re going to do it all without painkillers, but I’d thought about compromising and using a weed burner before.

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It was so much fun to use. It’s like taking a walk with a little dragon. And there’s something extremely therapeutic about watching those weeds that had been haunting your dreams wither before your eyes, as you stroll through the allotment, cackling wildly.

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It’ll need to be done every couple of weeks, but for now I’m just very happy that the paths I made on the allotment are looking more like paths and less like long strips of weeds. I might invest in my own weed burner, and not just because of my unnatural fascination with fire, although of course that plays a role.

I was extremely daring today and decided to gently nudge one of the potato plants, specifically the Shetland Blacks. I know it’s very early in the season, but I planted them pretty early on, when I knew I’d be busy moving house and changing career in the proper potato-planting season. The plants had flowers, which is basically an invitation for me to start digging. The potatoes were still tiny, but they were there:

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I made them into chips, of course, because that’s the standard reaction of a British person to a potato. If this had been a few decades ago, when my family were Irish, I’d probably have responded with a plaintive lament. They didn’t look quite as purple as chips, but I didn’t mind. They were fairly tasty, although I’d say maybe a bit floury and not as good as the container potatoes I grew last year, but I’m a bit of a potato snob, if there is such a thing.

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Here’s a couple of pictures of the haul, which I incorporated into my tea this evening. The lettuce and spinach have been doing really well, despite the rabbits having eaten all of the sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli I had on the allotment. I tried my first tayberries today, which were delicious if a bit tart. If I had enough (several plants rather than just the one), I’d make a tayberry pie, because I bet that would be fantastic. I also made a broad bean, mint and feta salad, the first two being home-grown (I’ll have to wait until farming mania overcomes me totally before I start making my own cheese).

Yes, it was a good Allotment Day today. I’d been feeling a bit discouraged on my last couple of visits – I was put off by the weeds and the sheer amount of work to be done – but today, even if the (quite scorched) weeds still remain, I at least got to take some food back with me, other than the odd bit of lettuce here and there, and that’s a nice feeling. For both my stomach and my wallet.

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