That pretty much should sum up my day I think. The shovelling shit part is over. The biogarten got its annual delivery of manure during the week so today we transported it from near the gate, where it is delivered over to the deep bed that it goes into. Of course nothing goes quite that smoothly and when I arrived everyone was more or less just standing around looking into the deep bed, which had a pool of water in the bottom of it. The drain seemed to be stuffed up somehow so we couldn't start until that had been sorted out. It took a while to figure out what the problem was and then someone went home to get a power hose attachment yoke to try and flush out the last few inches. In the meantime we got rid of the remains of the very old bottom layer of that bed, which was just too wet to leave there. That was eight or ten wheelbarrowfulls down to the other end of the garden and distributed along the path which is beside the boundary fence. It was raining slightly today after a week of plenty of rain so it was all very muddy. Then we put a layer of leaf mulch into half the bed and then we uncovered the steaming pile of horse manure and straw and started bringing barrowfulls of that over to the bed. Two people had the delightful job of stamping it all down, three shovelled and two transported back and forth. Everybody swapped what they were doing at some stage although it all just happened very easily with no hassle and no major organisation required. Just as it should be.
Once they finally got the drain sorted properly we did the same with the remaining half of the bed. And then the final layer of topsoil (freshly sieved soil from last week) went on. Apparently every other year there is normally another layer of leaf mulch between the manure and the topsoil but this year there was some discussion about whether that insulates it all too much so they decided to try it without.
I am really tired now and I know I will be aching by Monday but it wasn't difficult work really. I like that they just let me work at my own pace (which tends to be a bit slower than most people). I'm more of a tortoise than a hare really.
Before heading to the garden I had been to the market. I decided that I should try and spend as little as possible on food this month, using up what's in the freezer and so on and more or less only buying fresh milk, bread and cheese as needed. Got to the market and realised that I had ordered suet, which I needed to collect today as well as mince to go with it. So this evening I will be trying to make mincemeat using the recipe from River Cottage Year. I'm going to make an ordinary one without meat as well I think and then in a month or so I will buy a shop jar of it and to a taste comparison. Have to go out and get some mixed peel now, don't think this is the time to start trying to make my own candied peel although that's coming soon too I think.
Other purchases from the market:
Cream chees with chives and garlic
Lamb's lettuce (way too expensive but I have a craving for salad all of a sudden)
4 slices of ham for toasted ham and cheese sandwiches this evening
I forgot to ask what type of beans they were - they were dried, purple ones. I have to soak them overnight and then cook them for about an hour. Going to have an Eintopf for dinner tomorrow I think. As well as that I'll use some of the mince to make a bolognese sauce and that should leave me sorted for lunches and dinners for next week.
The rain cleared off after an hour or so in the garden this morning and by about half-twelve it was lovely and sunny. Even some of the Germans took off their jackets. I'd been in a long sleeve t-shirt with a short sleeve t-shirt over it since I arrived and was plenty hot on my back where the sun was shining. All the crocus were open by then as well and there are hundreds of snowdrops. Saw bees busy at work on some of the flowers too. Spring has really arrived this past week and it feels like it's going to move in really quickly now. Happy days!