1 EAGLETON NOTES: Garden Addition

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Friday, 11 September 2020

Garden Addition

I am very content with my age at the moment. Which is a Good Thing given that I have absolutely no control over the hours, days, weeks and years as they march relentlessly on towards life's end. 

Today I moved the best part of a tonne of gravel from near the gate to my property to the other end of the garden. Oddly it wasn't walking with the wheelbarrow that was the tiring part. It was shovelling the gravel into the barrow.

When I bought the house 27 years ago there wasn't really a garden just some grass at the back of the house and bare croftland filled with builders rubble at the front.  I barrowed lorry loads of soil, gravel and debris over the years when the garden as it is now was formed. It was in the days when Sabbath manual work was 'forbidden' on the Island so most was done after work in the long summer evenings because I worked 6 days a week until 2005.

Somehow I don't remember barrowing being so hard and tiring back then. Today I was quite tired by the end of it and once or twice I did wish that I could be 20 years younger for the day. 

Why was I barrowing so much stone? I have had a new gardening aid constructed. A polycarbonate tunnel. I had to lay a new gravel floor.



47 comments:

  1. Bravo! Congratulations on the new structure.

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  2. A good work well done! When did the ‘Sabbath’ become a day when manual labor was allowed. I grew up in north east Scotland and remember not being allowed to play games - especially cards!!

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    1. Mary, I grew up in Liverpool and was not allowed to play outside on a Sunday and it was a generally quiet day apart from Church etc. When I came to Lewis 45 years ago I was told by neighbours that we couldn't even take the children to the beach. I think there may be another post in that. Now the first person to mow his grass on the Sabbath was a local. Oddly I still don't do anything which makes a noise like mowing the grass.

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  3. That's a very fancy shelter for plants. Nice work.

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  4. All the greenhouses I've owned had a concrete path down the middle, with earth on either side for the plants. I suppose this means you will be planting in pots.

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    1. Cro, to the left of the chips is an area 1m wide which will be a raised bed the 5m length of the tunnel. The rest of the things I grow will be in pots but one of my principle uses for the tunnel will be propagation and there will be staging on the right hand side of the tunnel for that.

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    2. It looks very good; I like the shape etc.

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  5. Well Graham, well done but don't you think it a tad breezy for such a structure? It is very impressive, perhaps some of that green wind break netting may help to dissuade it from setting up home in the Minch or maybe those wire ropes anchored in concrete and slung over the top of it that folk use for everything on Orkney.

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    1. Adrian, there are lots of these on the Islands now. Some have survived several hurricanes. One near me is 8m long. They are guaranteed up to winds of 130mph. The construction is far superior to the old polytunnels which used to disappear regularly. The supports for the hoops are embedded in concrete several feet into the ground. They are double-skinned polycarbonate.

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    2. Thought it looked a bit better than the usual polytunnel. Be far superior to glass I would imagine.
      Watch out for the plastic police.

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  6. You did well. I gave up my wheel-barrowing days many moons ago! Would love to know what you intend to grow in your new tunnel house - it will certainly give you something to do when the weather is not so nice. Take care :) xx

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    1. Margaret, I haven't decided yet what will be inside and what will remain outside. However it will mean that I can grow tomatoes, courgettes and the like. It will make propagation of other things so much easier and more pleasant. Lewis is a distinctly unpleasant place to work outside on a windy, wet winter day.

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  7. I was thinking the same as Adrian; will it withstand the strong winds and gales you frequently get there?
    Anyhow, you have my respect for having done all that hard work yourself - I am about two decades younger than you and would probably gladly left the work to a burly young man!

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    1. Meike, my answer to Adrian explains why these are now so popular and so strong. They are guaranteed up to 130 mph winds. I certainly slept last night but I woke this morning with no aches or stiffness so I must be a bit fitter than I thought.

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  8. Sadly Graham, the “wheelbarrow thing” affects all of us to one degree or another, and I am a tad younger than you!

    But your garden addition is a thing of beauty and I would be in there with a comfy chair and a good book - sod grow-your-own, I see an instant sheltered reading nook! With an extension lead and a small portable heater you could be out there on a crisp winter’s day as well :)

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    1. Jayne, to answer this and your supplementary, mine is based on the Polycrub. Oddly I tried to get a Polycrub years ago but their marketing was not very good then and I could never get them to give me a price even though they were trying to set up in the Western Isles. I think they now may have an agent here. Some years ago a chap and his son started making similar ones in the Western Isles and they have gone from strength to strength. They have been erecting two a week this year. They are springing up everywhere. Some are being used as an outside 'room' with saunas and hot tubs and party tables. In the winter on a sunny day the temperature can get well into the 20s at least. The biggest problem is keeping them cool in the summer. They have a big window at one end and a stable type door at the other. Yesterday with the door open but the very strong wind blowing on the other end the temperature got just over 30ÂșC.

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    2. 30 degrees ! Melts, enviously!!!

      But keeping a regular polytunnel or greenhouse cool in summer has always been an issue, so nothing new there. Do enjoy your new addition, it looks marvellous.

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  9. PS: am I right in thinking this is the ‘Polycrub’ tunnel designed in the Shetlands? In which case gale force winds were the starting point for its design . . .

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  10. I've tried several times to leave a comment and they haven't worked, so hoping this one will! This is just the type of polytunnel I'd luck for my new property, so will watch with interest how you get on with it. Shovelling gravel at any age is hard work!

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    1. Serenata, I'm glad that you managed it this time. There still seem to be odd glitches around. I'll let you know how it goes.

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  11. It looks rather wonderful and space-ageish.
    It's hard work barrowing but very satisfying to have achieved the goal.

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    1. Lucy, it's use of materials is very imaginative for an area like Northern Scotland with its very high winds. I slept well after the barrowing!

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  12. You are nothing if not ambitious, Graham, and that seems like a daunting task for a young back let alone an ancient one! I will look forward to seeing what you will be growing in your new greenhouse type structure, again an ambitious venture. As you so rightly point out, however, we have no control over how much time we have left, so let's use it to the fullest while we still may.

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    1. David, I've always been an optimist. I now have a wile to plan what I will grow next season but in the meantime it will give me shelter and comfort whilst I plant up my Spring bulbs in their pots - I have 600 tulips for starters!

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  13. It looks great. And sturdy enough to withstand the brunt of the weather.
    I think any sort of manual exercise is hard when you've not done it for a while. I expect you're fitter than you think.

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    1. Jules, I am fortunate to be reasonably fit for my age but I've not done many long walks during lockdown. But there again Walkmeter has clocked over 4 miles in a day in my garden alone on a number of occasions. Add to that lots of digging and you may well be right.

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  14. I am quite envious of the poly tunnel. It looks like it will be very useful Graham.

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    1. Thank you Rachel. I certainly hope to get the most out of it.

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  15. I agree with previous comments that you have done a very good job with laying the groundwork, so to speak, for the tunnel creation. It looks sturdy and hopefully will let you accomplish all your growing goals. What a lot of tulip bulbs you already have, Graham!

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    1. Thank you Beatrice. I have a friend whose spectacular shows of tulips up here on the Island blew me away and inspired me. I have between now and the spring to get some more windbreaks in place!

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  16. It looks good, no doubt it will come in very handy over Winter. I know what you mean about getting tired more easily though, I'm forever re-arranging my garden and it doesn't take long before I need a rest.

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    1. Amy, I think there is far more physical effort in gardening then non-gardeners could imagine.

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  17. I'm sure the garden extension will bring you many hours of pleasure and will be well worth all that hard work. I give a groan just thinking about that. And we, your faithful followers, will enjoy seeing what you produce. The shape looks very similar to our half round barns, is it slightly "fatter" than the usual poly tunnel?

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    1. Pauline, the shape is similar to your half round barns and it is over a metre wider than the standard domestic polytunnel that I've seen. I can stand up almost against the side.

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  18. Graham, it sounds like a very worthwhile project. I hope you get loads of pleasure from it.

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    1. Thank you, Kylie. As they say here "If the Lord spares me I surely will.".

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  19. Remember to leave enough room for a comfy folding chair for sunny winter days.

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  20. Content with your age? You are a better man than me, Graham. I don't mind the number either; only in as much as recognizing that I have fewer years ahead of me than behind. I can't even say that I'll "miss" all that I enjoy now because, once dead, you won't miss anything. Oh my god, as comforts go you can't beat my last sentiment. Still, there is a mildly lingering cloud over me about all that which will not appreciated by me because I won't be able to.

    Great effort, great spirit you show, Graham. May there be blossoms.

    U

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    1. Ursula, I am content with my age. I'm sad about your mildly lingering cloud in that you obviously have things you want to do but feel you may not achieve. As you say, once dead you won't care. However you are alive (I assume - I've been away so am late in responding but haven't read anything to the contrary) and it's the hope that drives us to keep healthy if we can and achieve those things yet to be achieved. May you go forth and achieve with happiness.

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  21. Congratulations on the new addition to your garden! Clever way to prolong the gardening season for you, and even perhaps grow some things that may not even be worth trying otherwise.

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    1. Thanks, Monica. Both those things are aims I hope to achieve.

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  22. Wow! you are adventurous for an old bugger. Well done!

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    1. Thanks, Diane. That made me laugh. I'm making up for my staid youth be being an adventurous old bugger now.

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