...impossible to keep up with.
I recently bought a Google Nexus tablet. It's a 2012 version. Because it's slightly old, it isn't really compatible with anything new. And seeing as everything is new all the time, it's not compatible with much at all. Pages jump all over the place, I can't fill in online forms without spending a few hours trying to click in the right box and updates for apps rarely recognise my old machine.
Which leads me to wonder who can actually keep up! You have to buy everything all the time. If you're going to be modern you need everything modern or one link in the interconnected web of technology is going to cause a breakdown of everything else. Which is probably the point...
Looking at wildlife in the garden is different: my eyes and ears are compatible with everything and until old age sets in, I won't need to replace them.
I thought I'd put my music on bandcamp. You never know: someone might come across it one day and want to use if for some weird skateboarding, birdwatching, gardening indie film:
The banner is from my favourite artist friend, Yosuke Yamaguchi .
You can buy each track for a pound and if I ever sell a track at a pound I'll give you the same track for free*
*a quantum physics bargain
Two things I've learnt today:
1. It's common practice in wildlife focused or organic gardening to leave the cutting back of perennials until early spring. I always assumed it was generally to leave cover for overwintering insects but it's not just that: insects even overwinter inside the hollow stems of plants and best of all, in the seed pods! I love that idea. I'd live in a seed pod if I could...
2. Maybe, just maybe, when I'm sitting Zazen regularly, for a couple of periods a day, I forget how it feels to not sit. So after a while, my sitting starts to wane and the grip of motivation weakens. Maybe, just maybe, it's a case of remembering that without sitting, life's just not as good.
Sitting with my back straight, eyes pointing downwards, ears ringing. Sitting within a space where the universe flows through you. No effort, just a gradual and natural focusing without any object.
There are days when sitting Zazen is like this, just sitting within the sea of thoughts turned thoughtless. Other days 5 minutes feels like a week. Even when I don't sit very consistently and recently it's been sporadic, the intention of Zazen is never far from my mind. And I like that this pull never goes away even when the cushion remains unsat on for a week.
I think this pull comes from the fact that it's simple: just a switch of mind and you're back to filling the universe rather than creating the universe.
Anyway, thought I'd post something other than grass growing!
In other news I'm thinking of doing the GR10, a hiking trail going from the west coast of france through the pyrenees to the mediterranean. I want to see wild flowers, birds of prey and...er...bears.
This will be the final update and mow (although I might mow on the highest setting to chop up the leaves) until the grass starts growing faster in Spring 2015.
The front lawn which I just scarified and overseeded isn't looking half as good as the back lawn which had the additional benefit of almost 2 tonnes of compost. I'm beginning to see worm casts again too which I hadn't seen prior to the top dress. Whilst mowing it's clear that there are lots of bumps and hollows where there are different layers of compost and the seeds have germinated higher up or lower down. I'm not sure if on an informal lawn like this it matters much but it could lead to certain areas drying out more quickly than others come summer. But we'll see.
All in all, it looks very green and that's what my dad wanted.
I did the first cut today on a really high setting leaving the cuttings and mowed leaves on the lawn:
I mowed across the slope as I've noticed it doesn't cut as well going down. Looks a bit strange mind you! I'm hoping this cut will help it to thicken more because although it's nice and green it's not particularly thick*
In other horticultural news, I'm slowly getting over my Cultivar/Hybrid phobia: if it's insect friendly, provides shelter and does its photosynthetic magic, I think I'm OK with it. So these two roses are soon to be gracing our garden:
One's a climber and one's a shrub rose, both with open single flowers, repeat flowering, and fragrant. Lovely.
*If you're wondering why I'm updating like an obsessive loon, it's because a) I am an obsessive loon and b) most people on the web writing about this sort of stuff get bored after a while so you never actually get to see the finished lawn to see how it all went.
It's a slow process this! I've never seeded in Autumn (or overseeded for that matter) and whereas in Spring a few weeks in you'd see a mass of green, here I've got old grass competing with new grass and slower growth rates to contend with. But, gradually it's greening up and there are some better areas of lawn now:
Getting grass seed to germinate is probably the easiest thing in the world, but getting the conditions right for it to thrive and establish well is another thing and that's what's important here: the lawn always died off in summer and areas turned white and just didn't bounce back. So I'll continue to be excited every morning to see if it looks better, but I'd be surprised if it looks really lush before winter and I'll be relieved if it looks lush next Spring and Summer. Having said that even after 18 days there are still loads of shoots just starting to come through, especially in areas the hose couldn't reach and stayed dry until the daily showers we've been having.
In other news, I got 76% overall in my RHS Level 2 Diploma in the Practices and Principles of Horticulture. So that's good!
Yesterday I found a Large Yellow Underwing moth caterpillar munching on the Philadelphus, my pitfall trap in the borders revealed we have lots of ground beetles but not much else, and the birds are slowly coming back to the garden: nuthatches, bluetit, great tit, robins, jackdaws, chaffinch, and willow tits.
Well my grass seed started germinating in patches from about day 7 and now there are large areas filled in with the seedlings about a couple of inches high. The compost has dropped in nicely, I think, even though in retrospect I wish I hadn't put so much on and buried some areas of grass. I've watered a couple of times a day keeping it moist and finally yesterday it rained for a few hours so it's now properly drenched. So, 12 days ago:
As there are different layers of compost everywhere and dips and hollows in the lawn, some grass is just starting to poke through today whilst others are already a couple of inches high. Again, because I piled so much compost on for the top dressing, the emergence of the seedlings is dependent upon how much compost it has to get through to reach the sun! But the lawn can only benefit from all that organic matter and microbial life. And I'll probably overseed again in Spring anyway.
Next update in a week or so. Make a date in your calendars.