The few weeks since retreat have been a time of ‘catch up ‘ – hence the lack of blogging. During retreat we were blessed with long hot sunny days, it meant that we had to plant out the seedlings and keep watering by hand each day to keep them alive. Now we have rows of corn, beans, potatoes, leek, salad veg, marrow, squash and beetroot. I such a novice gardener that Mother is teaching me step by step and is very tolerant – she laughs at me actually. One day she made a shallow trench, gave me some cabbage seeds and told me to sprinkle them in – i did, all 200 in about 6 feet – what could she do but laugh, they are so tiny there was no chance of picking them out again, and as she said they have to be thinned out anyway – i think maybe not usually that much though!!!

The hot sun continues with only an occasional damp or dull day and we are praying for rain. Tomatoes are growing well in the greenhouse and so are Sr D’s lettuce and its very delicious too. It is so very nice to eat things we have grown ourselves, and i am really enjoying growing things from seed and seeing the transformation – there is something very spiritual in that. I also have that feeling about compost where dead,rotten, left over things are transformed and become nourishement for new life to begin again.

Oops, just noticed the time, must dash to midday office, more later if i manage it, til then, pax.     

I’m back and tried to post again earlier but no go on the pc so i’m trying again before Vespers. so, where was i…oh yes, the plants love the sun but…so do the weeds! I only cleared the blackcurrants a few months ago but there is now a forest of them once more and i have to begin all over again. Mother laughs at me over this too – when i first came and saw the amount of weeds i didn’t believe her when she said she had cleared it not long before – well i have my com-uppance now don’t I? I have been making nettle feed and aphid spray for the veggies ( will try not to nourish the weeds too ) which i am going to try out this week. I found this and other great gardening advice from HDRA – the Henry Doubleday Research Association site, for those who are interested the address is it’s well worth looking at and very helpful. Now i have been shown that we have comfrey which also makes a great feed too – i expect it will be as smelly and murky as the nettle feed which probably means it will do lots of good things too.

The woodland and garden have been a riot of colour and beauty over the last few weeks, the camera can’t even do it justice. I don’t know the names of many flowers but i can tell you well have had forget me nots,blue bells, pansies, buttercups and daisies in abundance. We let the area around our pond seed itself so the wildflowers just spread and the grasses grow high as they do along the quarry walk, and the rhododendrons have been out in variety from the softest bridal whites and debutante pinks ( thats how i see them anyway) to fiery latino reds and oranges. It’s like ‘come dancing’ in the garden – all those beautiful dresses.

The long grasses make me think of our dog Chelsea, because  they have been the refuge of the wild ducks which are still with us. Yes, our faithful hound has shown she has a taste for duck; last week whilst quietly hanging out washing i heard a bark and a flurry and the drake comes flapping past me with hound in pursuit – thankfully it took off just before the last bound walk have made it into dog food – 4 feet is too close for me. The ducks have become more adventurous and are exploring so we have to have Chelsea on the lead and shoo the ducks out of harms way. They are very friendly and come towards us which is lovely.

Inside the abbey we are almost back to normal with the Office again – and i couldn’t remember what ‘normal’ was so as it’s been so long – from Advent until now – so had to concentrate again on my Office books, it was very strange and on that point i will end this very long post. I hope you have all had a wonderful blessed Pentecost and Feast of Corpus Christi. Pax.