While I have introduced and chronicled the human allotmenteers that make up our plot collective I have been very tardy in introducing the other important members of our team. So, without further ado I give you Ruby and Pickles.
( that is a lesser spotted husband sitting next to them!).
Both Ruby and Pickles live with Manda. Ruby is 8 ( I think…) and is a Sprollie which is a border collie / springer spaniel cross. She is not a nuts as you think a cross of those breeds would be. However, she does bring a level of border collie neurotic concentration to watching people dig that is quite something to behold. She can watch Dave or Neil dig for hours on end in the hope that one of them will throw stones for her to chase. They won’t though because that has been banned. Failing that she will get stuck in herself and loves to help dig holes which is partly the reason that we ended up with our first pond…
This is a great picture of her last year ( not such a great one of the plot though, wild and untamed I think would be the appropriate description).
I also like this one which is her hiding behind our fence!
Pickles is a Shih tzu and is only a year old. He is thoroughly adorable but frankly not the sharpest trowel in the allotment shed!! Unlike Ruby once he has run round the plot like a total nutter he then falls fast asleep. Unless there is food. Pickles can hear a picnic being unpacked from 100 yards!
He really is a very sweet ball of fluff but definitely has a way to go before he is up to Ruby’s digging standards.
One of the real advantages of allotmenteering (I’m pretty sure that isn’t a word but hey we’ll run with it!) as a collective is that everyone gets to play to their strengths.
Neil would like me to list his skills as growing runner beans and making plant food aka Stinko Juice. Dave is great at constructing things and is fast learning to tell the difference between weeds and plants we want to keep! And Manda loves to grow fruit and then turn it into something really yummy to eat!
Earlier this year she surprised me by turning up on my doorstep on a Sunday evening armed with a tin of custard and freshly made rhubarb crumble. Tonight though she brought round jam tarts that she and her daughter had made. The jam was made with raspberries and blackberries picked and foraged for from the allotment yesterday afternoon
There aren’t that many left now and yes, they were delicious!
It was pointed out to me that people reading this blog may like to know who ‘we’ are! A very reasonable request and I live to serve…
Ok, so there is me, I’m Kath and I am married to N. I teach philosophy and when I am not doing that I garden, knit and spend too much time on line!
Then there is N. He is married to me! N is very protective about his runner beans. Over the years we have all learnt not to interfere with the growing of beans! N is also a plumber and so is responsible for our rain water butts:
The kids decorated the shed…
Then there is M and D. I have known them both now for 17 years though they have been friends for even longer. M is an HLTA and also the most wonderful respite carer for my 10 year old son who is autistic. D is a carpenter and builds things for the plot, like our shed decking made from recycled pallets.
Then we have our newest ‘family’ members, J&J. Both of whom work for the railway and are clearly a little unhinged for wanting to throw their lot in with us!
Then there are the 9 children ranging from 18 to 6 years old, though the 18 year old does not do the allotment! Not all of them are mine I hasten to add, just four of them belong to me and N.
We run the allotment as a collective, everything is shared. If we need to buy something then the cost is divided 6 ways, as is the rent. When we harvest a crop people take according to their likes and needs. We don’t have any set rules, we have never had any need. Just unwritten ones like be excellent to each other and don’t touch N’s beans ( he shares them out when they are done)!