Urban decay

Neither of us had to be anywhere until mid-morning today so I bullied Matt out of bed to do some urgent allotment work: the hopolisk is no more.

The hops should have been harvested about a month ago if we were actually going to use them for beer – apparently there is a perfect time with the active chemicals are at their most potent. Matt was killing himself with work last month so it didn’t happen, and there was no way that I was messing around with a 10ft+ metal pole. But no need to waste them: decorating rooms with hops is a fine country tradition at harvest time and I’m happy to continue that tradition, even if we are in the city.

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End of the hopolisk

Taking down the hopolisk seems to me to be a ritual activity marking the end of the season. I’ve not done any maintenance of the land for about two or three weeks and in that time, autumnal die-back has set in. The earth is sodden and heavy, flower heads rotten from days of rain. But I think there is beauty within the decay.

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Striking autumn colour on the blueberries

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Dahlia heads turned rotten

Everything needs digging up and stripping back, manuring and tidying, ready for the winter sleep. But there is still harvesting to be done and today, it’s the squash. We’ve got 15 of them, gnarled, striped and brilliant. I am like a kid with excitement over these squash.

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Turks turban ready for harvesting

One of the (many) problems with living in a flat is lack of space to deal with the harvest. So the squash got scrubbed in the bath and are now drying on the spare bed alongside those borlotti beans. Meanwhile the hops have gone up, and the kitchen  smells like a brewery. A satisfying few hours work.

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Turks turban scrubbed in the bath

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Hops dried in the kitchen

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Borlotti beans drying on the spare bed

Harvested: Turks turban and last summer squash, hops, last borlotti beans

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