…and re-making the fire.

Today, Ian and I spent much of the day up at LEAF.  While having my own plot is good and great and all, I realise that I wouldn’t have it were it not for LEAF and Diane’s oh-so-patient guidance and tutelage.

So this morning, Ian and I re-made the ‘main’ LEAF fireplace down on the Children’s Plot.  Ian had re-made it last year by putting a low brick wall around the actual fire area so we could put a heavy duty wire ‘cage’ over the hot coals.  It made balancing the many tins of potatoes much easier.

Now, we were taking it to the ‘LEAF Fire: The Next Generation’ kind of thing.The LEAF Fire: The Next Generation.

You can see it nearly finished here to the right.  This is before Ian put the final piece of wire meshing over the larger, higher area.

To the right -under the meshing- is the area we will use for boiling a kettle or two.

And to the left here, you can see it in action!Boiling kettles of water.

This is just after both the kettles have boiled, so we put them to keep warm slightly away from the flames.

Ian timed a kettle full of cold water, and it took about 15 minutes to whistle from first putting it on.  This compares pretty favourably with the gas rings up in the top metal shed.  They only take about 10 minutes, but then again, they use expensive bottled gas.  These kettles boiled ‘for free’ using scrap firewood.

And somehow, the tea we first made using this hot water tasted even better than ‘normal’ Plot Tea.  Difficult to imagine, but true.

I then went up to the local fish and chip shop to get four fishcake butties for myself, Shaun, Diane and Ian, so we very quickly ate these, had another cup of tea (…well, you have to, after such a lunch!..), then Ian and I worked up on one of the long beds up on the top plot.

This bed had been one of the strawberry beds, but we’d cleared it out as the plants in there were pretty old and ‘woody’.  Unfortunately, the sides of this bed had rotted, so Ian and I used two of the new second-hand scaffolding boards we’d bought a couple of weeks ago that had been freshly and expertly painted by Derek in ‘our’ green.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of this, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.  I’ll get a few tomorrow!

When we’d done this, we both went down to my Plot to carry on digging and planting.Tomato seedling.

To the right here is my ‘first’ tomato seedling coming through in the greenhouse.

Ian planted a load of leek seeds in a large tray that we’ll start off in the greenhouse, then plant out when they’re large enough.  He also planted some runner beans, two to a large pot that we can plant out when they’re ready.  Five pots in total.

We then carried on with the digging on the right hand bed we put all the spuds in a couple of days ago.  This bed is tremendously full of dock plants -and of course bindweed, but we took it steady and managed to get a fair amount done before we had to leave it for the afternoon.  This was about 3.45pm, and that meant time to wander up the lane, back to LEAF and start a ‘proper’ fire to roast potatoes on.Roasting spuds!

And here to the left they are!  As you can see, we fired up the bigger, left hand side of the new fire and wasted no time in getting some BIG lumps of wood on it to build up the heat.

(…As a side note:  I had a little ‘play’ with the new ‘Big Boys Axe’, chopping some fairly large logs down into ‘matchwood’.  What Fun!  We have loads of logs that need splitting, so this will provide me with hours of happy entertainment!  And there’s no need to worry.  There’s an excellent A&E just down the road should I chop something off that I may very quickly regret…)

Even though the potatoes were of massively different sizes, I somehow managed to get them all cooked for about the same time.  Nobody remarked that the potatoes were particularly good this week, but then again, they were all eaten -even the Plot Kids had at least one each, and nobody said they were particularly bad.  I’m going to take that as a ‘Home Win’.  Matt had also made some truly superb vegetable soup.  This went down much faster than the potatoes!

All too soon it was home time, and as I’d left my cat Alfie out, so I was keen to get back and start feeding him his three suppers.Mitzi-Moos being coy for the camera.

Well, he is a growing lad!

Oh, and to the right here is little Mitzi-Moos, being cute and coy for the camera this morning.  Bless her.

Tomorrow morning, after doing some pretty boring work here at Wardian Towers, I’ll be back down on my Plot with Ian before lunch.  Ian is treating Diane and myself (…and whoever else turns up!..) to some of his awesome home-cooking.

And our work tomorrow?  Why, more digging of course!

…Oh, and I’ll also get some proper photos of all the other work carried out today by ‘proper’ LEAF volunteers.

Weaving, digging, painting, cooking, clearing, planting, path-laying…

And, of course, the most important job: Cat Fussing.

Well, you have to, don’t you?