A Dirty Day!

I’ve heard it said of a spot in Co. Clare that, regarding the weather, they say that if you can’t see the local hill it is raining; and, if you can see the hill, it is going to rain. We had such a day here today, a dirty day, a day when the rain clung like grease to the skin but didn’t quite wet you; a day when it was too dry to stay indoors yet too wet to work outside; a dirty day; a miserable day!

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There was a break in the late morning when it brightened promisingly when we took advantage and went for a walk, a very breezy walk, on the strand in Tramore, an hour of fresh air at least. After lunch, when my bottom was beginning to resent the seat where I had settled, I decided to brave the elements, whatever they threw my way, and went to the garden for a little over two hours. It was a clean-up job, a finish what had been left unfinished yesterday – the clearing of pruned branches cut from three hornbeam trees which had our attention since the weekend. They had been planted twenty and more years ago, put in as big plants, and had grown vigorously in the intervening years so that they had come to overshadow the whole bed, leaving it dull and dry and a challenge for any plant to grow.

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We have lifted the canopy, “lifted the skirts” as the old gardeners used call it, removed the lower branches to allow light, air and rain to reach the plants beneath. It is truly quite amazing how much material one removes from trees on such occasions and dealing with this pruned material is another job altogether. Whatever can be cut from the branches with a secateurs will be small enough to pass through the garden shredder and go onto the compost pile. The larger material has been cut into a size small enough for the fire and will be passed to my son when it has dried sufficiently, at the end of the summer. The shredding is a job for another day – sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof!

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