When I return from a trip away I always expect change to have occurred when I return. No matter if I have been away from home for a few days, or a few months, I anticipate that in my absence the people I know, my work and my surroundings will have dramatically changed. Inevitably, they never do.
For the world outdoors though, things are very different and having just got home from a week away I can’t believe how much has changed in the garden.
When I left the trees reflected my mood; depressed, fed up and longing for sun. On my return their attitude, like mine, has totally changed. Now the bright, star-like blossom of the Magnolia tree has exploded into life, drawing all attention from eyes and nose, with the delicate thin white flowers scattering across the lawn. My hardly little crab apple tree has also started to puff out green pods, teasing with its fruity potential.
The grass, a week ago, sad, yellowing and chicken abused appears to have been kicked up the arse and finally got growing. The lawn now appears to be a jungle of dense, green lusciousness that silage makers would dream of; even the chicken poo is hidden a little, providing a subtle bonus.
Visually, these changes have totally transformed the garden and now you can’t help by smile when you step out of the back door.
Before going away I was getting worried – or rather nailbitingly, irrationally, wife disturbingly paranoid – that my radishes, broccoli and spinach seeds were never going to germinate in the never ending dankness of March and April, but now they are peeking through the soil of the veg patch and looking strong. Peppers, sheltered safely indoors, have suddenly shot up and the young lettuce and herbs potted cosily in the greenhouse appear ready for the world outdoors.
From despair to optimism in one week; a bit of sun and seven days can evidently work wonders in the vegetable world.
It would also appear that a week is enough time for chickens to develop further strange and slightly inconvenient habits. Our fantastic neighbours looked after the chooks when we were away and had great ‘fun’ playing hunt the egg as the maverick bird of our flock (see Who’s the Boss? to read more about this one….) decided that the greenhouse and henhouse were far too civilised places to lay. The inner core of the hedge – the bit with the brambles and stinging nettles – is now the place of choice.
A week away was also long enough for our chooks to produce a decent amount of eggs, and without two hungry humans to feed we have, for the first time, found ourselves with a glut of eggy goodness.
In the world of work, places and people, very little will have altered in a week but it is reassuring to know that in the world outdoors, there is scope for enormous developments in the space of a few days. An alteration in weather, light or routine is all that’s needed.
I can’t help but be a little jealous, even envious of my garden. After a week away, I find myself back home, going to the same old job, carrying out the same old routine as if I had never been away. A little change would be very welcome, but unfortunately, for me, it’s not quite so easy to come by.