In March 2013, after years of talking about it we eventually sell up and move out of the city with our 2 year old, Gracie. We both grew up in the countryside and this is what we want for our daughter. So we swap a 2 bed flat in London for a small country pile on the west coast of Scotland that needs a lot of work. I've done a bit of interior design and my partner, Ed has a good knowledge of the outdoors – but we're on a tight budget and we've both got a lot to learn. It's a life time's project and this is a record of our adventure…
Autumn is setting in and these last dry days have given us one final chance to get all the grass mowed and the lawns in order for winter.
Gracie and I collect 3 buckets of apples from the orchard and then mow the walled garden on the small wheel tractor. Yes I can now drive a tractor (Ed fixed up the mower attachment and it works brilliantly). I can also drive a tractor with Gracie sitting on my knee, singing and eating apples and grapes (there’s a tiny vine in the old green house that’s managed to produce a few small sweet clusters without any assistance). Ed takes care of the paddock and drives.
Then the lawns. Gracie and I rake leaves while Ed gets back to the never-ending scarifying (see Making Hay – Jun 9). Various attempts at scarifying have produced so much thatch that it’s an overwhelming amount of work and our many compost pens are overflowing so we’ve downsized our plan with Ed’s recent efforts focussing on the main lawn outside the house.
He’s taken to calling it the croquet lawn which is an admirable aspiration – flat, hard, no moss and well drained. The ‘croquet lawn’ has now been scarified 3 times and what’s left behind is patchy grass but thankfully no moss. After a spread of sand (to help with drainage) and some new seed the make-over of the croquet lawn is complete – but it looks a bit naked. Ed says if the grass doesn’t grow then he’ll have to cover it all in top soil and reseed again.
And as moss is catching – come the spring, we’ll need to re-start the whole cycle and get to work on the rest of the grass. Having a good looking lawn it seems requires some serious effort….