Kale Plugs Arrive…But What Next?

I’m in mourning for my cabbages. I think I have one decent, harvestable one left. After being so smug about my tent cloche keeping the cabbage whites out, a couple got in and laid their spawn who merrily munched their way through my cabbage crop. I tried in vain to rescue them but alas, I fear it is too late. So two cabbages in total this year. Next year I’ll have to get some sort of netting I think, the tent cloche has one velcro strip at the bottom that seems to be it’s weakness. Whilst it’s fantastic for keeping in warmth and birds off my produce, the little guys can get in far too easily. Lesson learned!

I received my small shipment of field-grown kale earlier this week. It was basically packaged bare root, although there was some soil (nice Cornish red soil) to keep them comfortable for their journey. But typically I left it a bit too long to put them in the ground. I’d give them a little soak in water after a couple of days, and not having enough time to go and buy some compost (mine isn’t ready yet), Rich actually took it upon himself to bring them outside and made me dig a few holes to shove them in for the time being. They do look rather yellow, but I’m foolishly optimistic.

“Are they actually alive?” Rich asked me. “Oh yes,” I said authoritatively, “they’re fine, they’ll grow nice new green shoots”. I don’t actually know if they will, but I feel like I should be bigging them up. Rich is a bit cynical by nature but amazingly he seems to think I’m some sort of fountain of knowledge and experience when it comes to flowers. Probably just because I can name a few plants and flower by their latin names. Verbena bonariensis, for instance. It’s a running joke really – Mum has a habit of walking past a plant and exclaiming the full latin name and then waxing lyrical about them. But I’ve taken it upon myself to inform her that actually, I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about half the time, e.g:

Mum: OOOOOOooohh, look at that beautiful Meconopsis betonicifolia! Ohhh it’s wonderful, really difficult to grow but it would look so good in the border by the verbena bonariensis. Magnificent colouring…

Me: Uh?

Mum: Meconopsis betonicifolia – there. Himalayan Poppy.

Me: Wha?

The BLUE ONE. Next to the phlox paniculata there.There! THERE! The pink plant. It’s phlox…you’ve got it in your garden?

Me: Mum, you’re doing it again. I don’t know what the hell you’re going on about.

Walking around nurseries and garden centres with Mum is interesting but bewildering. But then Rich says I do it too. What is they say about women turning into their mothers?

Anyhow, I’ve been struggling to keep abreast with everything lately. Ah hell, I’ve been struggling all year really. I’ve been so focused on how crap everything’s been going and what’s going on with work that things have been just sort of left. In fact, I have had the opportunity to apply for a full-time job that could see me very very comfortably paid. It’s scary in a way, because I’d be flusher than I’ve ever been in my life. Much more than I ever thought I could, so much so that I wonder whether they’d laugh at my application. But everybody, including the agency, thinks that I can do it. Rich says I should have more confidence in my abilities. I guess I’ve been struggling financially for so long that I think that’s all I’m worth.

It’s weird really, I look around and I see everything that could be fixed up or sorted out if I had the money. It’s like a tempting lure, but I’m afraid that by stepping into that full-time world that I’ll get sucked into the rat race and lose sight of my dream. But then Rich said I could look at it as a way to get myself out of a hole and start saving up for my dream. The company is only about 15 mins from home, so conceivably I could come home for lunch, still be able to see my hens and cats in daylight during winter. I could pay to get my greenhouse fixed, to buy the wood so Rich can make our new henhouse, pay to get my websites off the ground, replace the manky carpets, get an electrician in to sort out our power problem, buy new flooring and finally not have to endure a freezing cold concrete kitchen floor. There’s no doubt about it, having the extra money would solve a lot of problems. But it would take me out of my comfort zone, out of trying to claw my way up this really difficult freelance career ladder. It’s a big compromise, and I have to remind myself that having money and working 8:30 – 5:30 5 days a week could be a way to sort of fast-forward my way to making the Good Life a real possibility. Rich reckons it’s like putting in a couple of years of really hard graft but ultimately making it work for me. But then I said to Rich “I guess it depends on how happy I’ll be ultimately”. He replied, “Yeah but I don’t think you’re going to be particularly happy either way. Because you’ll be either happy because you’re at home but unhappy because you’re struggling with less money, or you’ll be happy because you have money but unhappy because you’re at work all day.”. Hmph. “Bad luck!” he also added with a chuckle. Ah, we have to laugh or we’d cry!

I can’t deny that it’s a very very tempting prospect to earn a nice living. But there are times when the money issue just goes out of the window. The other morning, it was gorgeous and sunny, there was a slight Autumnal chill on the air, the sunshine was a bit watery and it was fresh and bracing. I was plonked on the sofa with my laptop, my cat was curled up beside me looking so comfortable and content. I was gently stroking her on the head as I worked and I was thinking, could I really trade this all in? When I get a bit fed up with work I can shut down my laptop, walk away and potter around the garden with a toasted cheese sandwich in my hand, chattering to the hens and poking my veg plot. I’m so happy right now, imagining being stuck in an office, having when you can eat or take a break dictated to you is really quite offputting.

I don’t know – it’s like I always hated being told what to do. And as I’ve got older and been able to make decisions for myself and tell people to naff off if they don’t like what I’ve been doing, I’ve developed an even intenser dislike of being told what to do and when to do it. I resent it big time. But as I said, it’s a compromise for being paid what I would consider handsomely. And actually, having a bit of structure back would be nice.

Difficult. I think I’m going to send in my application though. Having said all this they probably wouldn’t even consider me! So the saga continues. Nobody said the Good Life was an easy life, did they?



  2. Personally I think you have to look at the bigger picture. If you have a dream of ‘living the good life’ but you simply can’t make it happen right now because you need money to get it off the ground, then grit your teeth, do what you’ve got to do and focus on setting yourself the goal. Go with your gut, or go with fate – send the application in and see what happens 😉

  3. I’m voting with the majority 🙂 Get the application in. Ultimately, that doesn’t mean you have to take the job, just that you’ve committed to finding out more about whether it’s a good fit for you.

  4. This is like eeny meeny miny mo…

    The result is ‘ Don’t take the job’. How does it make you feel?

    For what it’s worth, I’d take the job. After five years of doing what the hell I please I’m no closer to achieving a consistent feeling of worth for what I do. And without that motivation is hard to maintain. We’ve been indoctrinated to see money as the final arbiter of value.

    And not having money makes life very difficult indeed.

    Fingers crossed for you. Awful to go through all this angst and then not get it, but I really think you should try.

  5. I’ve with everyone else, send it in and see what happens!
    If you’re meant to have the job then you’ll get it, if it’s not what’s right for you now then it won’t happen, I’m a great believer in fate, and you don’t even have to think of it as something long term (don’t tell the company that) just something you need to do until x, y and z are done.

  6. I’d send the application in – the pros outweigh the cons. You could fund your good life, and still have it, albeit on a more part-time basis. But the worries would lessen and you could enjoy your good life more if you didn’t have the money worries.

  7. I think, apply for the job. If you get it , work there for a couple of years and save up to enjoy the good life later without so much of the worries. I worked in advertising, which I loathed, for three years so we could buy and furnish (sort of) our first house.

  8. There is no harm in applying, if offered, you still do not have to take the job, but it would help you along the way, even if only short term. Go for it.

  9. I’d give the job a go. After all you can’t really assess how you’d feel unless you try it can you? As it would seem likely that you’d be starting just as the days shorten and tasks outdoors lessen, you could build up a nice little nest egg ready for next spring. Then if its not for you at least something positive has come out of the experience. Maybe you could even cut back to part time next year- when you’ve made yourself indispensible!

  10. Living the good life and being self employed is the hardest job I’ve ever done !! I agree with comments above, get the application form in, good luck.