Changing Seasons, Changing Circumstances

I’m sorry. I’ve been awfully neglectful. I’ve intended to come and write a post, but something always gets in the way; a trip to Birmingham, a desire to steer clear of looking at computer screens at night, a quiet night in at the pub, freelance work… you know how it is.

About two or three weeks ago I took a picture of my butternut squash. There was a flower, which spawned a fruit, which then grew and grew. But I have a feeling it’s not going to get any bigger. I took another picture – it’s only a few inches long. Hmmm. I won’t throw it away, I’ll try and roast it or something. And then do what I usually do – hope I do better next year.

I’ve done some raking of leaves, collecting of crab apples and a bit of tidying here and there, but nothing meaty. I really really need to get hold of some green manure to grow in my sandy plots. They’re just so devoid of any condition or nutrition that I can’t see them being particularly productive next year. My question to you all is this; what is your preferred way of feeding your soil over the winter? I need to know!

The other thing I’ve been struggling with since my last post is a fairly major change to my work life. We found out that we’re moving offices, and the most likely move is going to be 30 miles away, in Northampton. That’s a 60-mile round-trip for me every day. I’m not a happy bunny. There could be a few options; perhaps a home-based contract and the option to go in a few days a week, but that’s not exactly conducive to learning. My role changed three months ago and I’m in a training position, and the best way I can do that is to be with people. Being on my own a lot isn’t really the best way to move forward.

But then being at home a few more days a week will be great for me and my smallest smallholding. It really will. A home-based contract isn’t a given yet, but it’s a real distinct possibility. In many ways, it’s what I wanted for a long time, but now that I’m faced with it, I’m wondering whether it’d be a bad move. I just spend my days flip-flopping between what I think I think about it all.

It doesn’t help that I’ve not been remotely enjoying myself at work lately, it’s been really hard going and I feel a bit demoralised. But I’ve tried to stay positive and see how it goes; new projects and more experience might make it better.

I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be commuting 60 miles in the car every day. I don’t want to stall in my professional development either. And I don’t particularly want to be looking for another job right now, it’s such a bad time.

What to do, what to do…


  1. Hi
    Make sure you leave the squash to mature for at least 6 weeks after you’ve picked it. Last year we didn’t and it tasted terrible!
    As with your job just try to look at everything long term. I hate driving to the centre of birmingham and back everyday but if it allows my wife and I to (hopefully) be able to afford a place with a bit more land one day then it will ll be worth it!

  2. Lovely Lucy, you MUST look on the bright side of things. You have a job (albeit one that doesn’t particularly invigorate you at the moment) and you have a beautiful home life. Think of the positives in life. Think of what you really want from the future, think of where you would like to be in 3 years time etc etc (at home or in an office?) Then you will know which direction is best for you. At the moment my husband and I work over 100 hours a week between us then spend the weekend doing up our present house in the hope that we can sell it afford a slice of ‘the good life’. All of this is achievable by remaining focused on the future. Lots of love. xxx

  3. Gosh, you must think I am SO RUDE!!! I haven’t even replied to your last email yet about your job situ. I have been so snowed under with my book, but now the project is nearing it’s end – thank you lord! – I plan to be much better at keeping up with correspondence so expect to hear from me soon. Life seems to have this way of leading us here there and everywhere, but I am convinced (or desperate to believe) that somewhere, somehow, there is a plan for all of us. I’m sure it will all come together … hang in there! xxx

  4. Jorrit Jorritsma says

    My first time here but… A thought. A friend who’s recently bought a field behind his house received some advice the other day about what would stimulate the best growth of wild flowers. He was told to starve the soil. Apparently, starve the soil, and wild flowers then have the best chance of establishing themselves. Sometimes, we get creative when we let ourselves get bored or idly day dream. So take heart – I don’t think any down times or lean times need ever be wasted!