Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sunday Snipping

Happy Sunday to you!

It's a 'lawn weed feed and mosskill' sort of morning. Yesterday, I zapped some rampant weeds growing in places they were not invited to inhabit and cut the grass. It's not the first grass cutting of the season but it had grown pretty long which means a 2 and 1/2 hour stint with the mower- there being more moss than grass on the front stretch. It’s actually a stretch of the imagination to call it a lawn, and even saying the ‘front grass’ would be challenged by an assiduous gardener. I try to do the moss killing ‘thing’ by applying the appropriate mix a few times over the season, but it now has to be done at a time that will be avoided by toddler feet.  

I'm a lazy gardener who uses an electric strimmer/brush cutter for trimming the edges and the awkward bits around my open beds- the real proper edging shears getting a mite too awkward to use and too time consuming. My lawnmower, replaced two summers ago worked perfectly, but the strimmer? Nope. It's only about 19 years old and I don't understand why things can't last forever. It's had some hissy fits over the last years when pieces of semi dried Iris stems have got wrapped around the motor. That's a total pain and did cause some problems at the end of last year's grass cutting. I know I tried to strip all the fibres out from under the 'spindle' (techie terms unknown) and that generally works, but I'm very sad to say I had to resort to buying a new strimmer yesterday afternoon.

It's not even out of the box yet - that's a job for today.

Time, and the lack of it, is now my main problem since I want to have a writing day, as well as a garden day. When I need garden tools to work, they have to co-operate and I suppose equally for my writing I need the internet or my laptop to be fully functioning- but the working of internet is often outwith my control.. While I was garden tools shopping, I treated myself to a new sprayer as well since my original one from more than a decade ago also needed replaced.

Buying tools to make my gardening jobs easier and quicker made me think of the farmers in my Celtic Fervour novels. Essentially my northern Celtic tribes are peaceable peoples who are mainly interested in having a successful season from their small Celtic strip fields. Good quality, abundant crops put essential food in their bellies. Anything which disrupted that farming process created a setback which might have reverberations for many seasons to come.,_torc_and_adze.JPG?uselang=en-gb

What tools did they employ? Not all that many and certainly no time saving electric or petrol powered ones. Whereas my lawnmower will cut grass, the Celts would have used a simple but searingly sharp sickle for any reaping or cutting back.

The sickle would have been employed to cut oat, emmer (wheat), and barley crops ready for a simple hand threshing process to separate the chaff from the stalk. Sharp knives would have flicked out errant weeds and heavier duty tools like an adze or an axe would have been employed to cut away bushes or trees if new ground was being cleared.

For making a furrow in the soil prior to planting the Celts had a very simple plough, an ard, where a pointed iron tip was pulled through the ground to turn it over ready for planting new crops. The ard could be yoked to an animal- an oxen, a horse (though perhaps less likely since horses were so prized for many other needs) or a man.

My gardening tasks are infinitely easier with less physical effort needed than the Celts in my stories.

All 3 books from my Celtic Fervour Series are presently in the Amazon UK Bestsellers Ancient World Historical Romance Chart. After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks is at #65,
To read about them you can buy all 3 ebooks for less than £6 /$10. (sidebar) They are also available from the Crooked cat Bookstore, B &N, Waterstones, Smashwords and other major ebook suppliers.

Wishing you a happy May holiday weekend.

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