Earth, water, fire and air

Ranch: Summer went, giving way to a musky autumn with the first frost already delivered a couple of weeks ago on [...]

Where are the sparrows and WWTD?

Ranch: We get back from Beatherder late on Monday and it's still searingly hot. Helen has watered the greenhouse, and apart [...]

The Chattering of Sparrows

The heady, exotic, musky, smutty scent of valerian flowering from mid-May heralds summer full-steam-ahead. The plants grow as tall as 8 [...]

Beltane and The Vulgarians

Ranch: May has always been my favourite month and I'm sure it's no coincidence that its beginning is marked with celebrations [...]

Springtime

Nothing compares to the shimmering light bright green of spring as it rapidly coats the bare brown branches of the hedges. [...]

A triumphant February beginning

Ranch: In the grey midwinter, a tawdry clinging cold pervades, yet spring heralds in the shape of brand new electric-green hawthorn [...]

Wassailing?

Ranch: Christmas and New Year have been and gone and now if ever, is the time for January blues. We had [...]

Everything is Energy and Plan C

The Ranch: ...Is dismal in its cold clinging greyness and seemingly endless slutchy muddy wet. As I walk round, jobs beckon [...]

Walking common ground and the totality of evidence.

A freezing Sunday: Dawn - Sunday 28th November 2021 From my window, I watch a thin streak of crystal light powder [...]

Going out without a bang

The Ranch: is autumnal. There are characteristic drizzly rainy days but also bright sunny ones. The greenhouse is infested with greenfly [...]

Back to Rossendale

Ranch: The weather broke into our characteristic Northern blustery drizzle, and I psychologically hunkered down for winter but then it broke [...]

Unsubscribing and a new beginning

The Ranch: I’m on the ranch in demi-shed A. It’s raining. The long late run of balmy September sunshine has come [...]

Northward bound

We’ve come on holiday by mistake. Past the old toll house on the right. Past the caravan park where they used [...]

Sagefest 2

The Ranch: I’m on the ranch, living a dream come true. I’m sitting at the bar of demi-shed-A, writing at my [...]

Duties of a Doctor?

The Ranch: It’s raining. It started around 3am and is now just fizzling out at 6am. It wasn’t much, but exciting [...]

Don’t mess with the kids

Salutation to the dawn: The chorus begins at half-past three with a funny sounding bird whose song I don’t recognise – [...]

Repair and the Car Boot

The Ranch: There is nothing sweet and tender about these hooligans. They are merciless. Stealthily, the patriarch eyes track me silently. [...]

May day and the thousand pound tomato

Ranch: Hazy warm sunshine dawns after a frostier than ever April and early May. Of course the English weather obsessives have [...]

odmorden and the gin terrace.

The Ranch ... is a scruffy field and a scruffy allotment above the arsehole corner of an arsehole Northern town. Once [...]

Starry night

The Ranch: High gardening season has crept up quietly. Now, with a few exceptions (beans and squashes) it's time to plant, [...]

Down the rabbit hole again

The Ranch: 12 days of snow and ice, with temperatures as low as minus 8. Then a thaw and heavy rain. [...]

Revolution of the reasonable

  The Ranch: A freeze serendipitously embraces the New Year period. A raw, bruised, brutal beauty embraces the ranch. A blanket [...]

Vaccus

Ranch: I feel so grateful to live on the edge of a big park, with a wonderful Elizabethan Hall and museum [...]

How science can help the ordinary gardener

Ranch: I haven't had much time to get up there this week. However, even a couple of hours at a time, [...]

How to grow your own food during a pandemic – anyone can do it – 10 tips

  Earth, water, air, fire:   That's it. That's the secret. That's the answer. That's how to do it. The four [...]

Fenny

  The Ranch: ... is a clay one-and-a-half acre hillside organic plot in the North of England. At the moment it's [...]

Donald Trump underpants?

  The Ranch: Toast? Via the Self sufficiency, permaculture and sustainable living group, I've managed to secure a small quantity of [...]

Please sir, can I have some more?

  The Ranch: 1st November It's sometimes tricky to romanticise ordinariness. Each and every day Linda mucks out her stable into [...]

Tip-toeing, tapestry and The Law

  The Ranch: It's me and the trees. I walk through the park and they are putting on their annual autumn [...]

Medicine and Rock & Roll

  The Ranch: Once again, the weather catches me out. I'm all psyched up for settling into my curmudgeonly Autumn and Winter [...]

The Common Ground project

  Birthday to birthday: I thought that the 21st of Sept was going to be our last warm sunny day of [...]

How to start a revolution with just six people

A perfect sunny day: Monday (the 21st of Sept) was a perfect Indian summer day. It started cool and crystal blue [...]

Ergot of rye, blues and Rock & Roll.

  Ranch: The mild, muggy, rainy, northern summery weather is breaking into autumnal gales and horizontal rain and the harvest is [...]

Sick of being normal? I failed my A-levels

  Ranch: A spell of sultry, clinging, steamy heat punctuates an otherwise mediocre summer. Hot, hot, sleepily hot. Then come the [...]

Common ground and the House of Turds.

  Wheels: Northwards! Along the bypass. Past the college. Past the toll-house. Past the tower on the hill on the right. [...]

Kick out the jams

  A fortnight of rain and drizzle gives way to a promising weekend with warm weather forecast. I always forget what [...]

Farter’s day

  The Ranch - is a routine of comfort in a sea of madness and rising darkness. Planting; weeding; tidying; concrete [...]

Rioting for beginners

  The Ranch -  May has been and gone - my all-time favourite month. Hot, hot, hot and heady. Now we [...]

Duck weed and walnuts

The four-foot-deep well in the main allotment is completely dry for the first time since I dug it many years ago. [...]

Hey app! Sense and censorship.

I've been slowly levelling off an area next to the greenhouse in anticipation of a poly-tunnel, by emptying wheelbarrow [...]

Forty days

Phew. Grey clouds spill heavy rain, heralding the return to baseline North-westness. The ground sighs relief, marking the end of a [...]

Missing my family

  A lot of my friends and colleagues have lost access to the things that mentally help charge their batteries - [...]

The best, the worst. Corvus corone!

I'm sitting in the green plastic chair, capturing a transient moment of March sunshine. A bee lands close by [...]

Digging trenches

The primroses, in their exquisite pastel yellows are out on the shady lane, which leads past the ancient 17th [...]

Mending a double bass.

  Sun 16th Feb: Mending a double bass? The rhubarb is peeping through. The sloping hillside gives some protection against the [...]

Computer addiction and the Arts association

Oh well. We're out and February is here. Occasionally daily life gets so overwhelmingly busy that I can't get to the [...]

Friday the 13th – mud mud mud

Ranch: Fri 13th December 2019: I'm just back from the ranch and I'm soaked. Really soaked. I had four days without [...]

Letterpress and woodblock printing

Louise read me a Ted Hughes poem last night - Stubbing Wharfe. He's talking about his time with Sylvia Plath and it [...]

More floods and family & friends

Ranch: More floods - Hebden last week then South Yorkshire & Venice plus catastrophic fires overseas. Here, the weather is pretty [...]

A new chapter and relinquishing control.

Ranch Christmas, New Year, Winter, Summer and so on. Do the trees celebrate? Do the foxes and tawny owls have an [...]

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