Getting back to normal

Not one to encourage the jinxes to strike, I am reluctant to say that Rufus is back to normal after his recent illness. The best you will get from me at the moment is that he seems okay, and all the tests show improvements where we would expect them. If pushed I might even say ‘he’s getting there, slowly’.  It’s hard to explain how I know when he’s ill and when he’s better. It’s like trying to describe the subtle characteristics that define a loved one. One of the tests I always apply is the ‘stair test’. Basically, I watch how he goes up and down stairs. If he’s under the weather or his leg is aching, he takes it easy going up and hops down one step at a time. If he’s really not well, he’ll be very slow and hesitant in both directions. When he’s well, going upstairs is a race that he always wins, and coming down makes me hold my breath as he charges off, often two steps at a time, leaps the last two steps and only barely makes the turn at the bottom to miss the front door. I’ve seen more of the latter recently.

I have to keep reminding myself how ill he has been, as he has a tendency to bounce back from ailments very quickly. Last night, after our usual evening walk, he was very tired. Well, no wonder as he’s still a bit anaemic. This morning, on our stroll on Cefn Bryn, he was almost back to normal as he ranged far and wide from the path. Only his jogging rather than running betrayed his recovery is not yet complete. He’s snoring on the sofa now.

This afternoon, I decided it was time to plant the spuds. I first grew potatoes three years ago and I was very successful, with a huge harvest of over 22lbs. This year I dug the same patch, forked it over, added compost and weeded like crazy. As you can see from the photo, my crop of stones was mightily impressive. Bearing in mind this was the same patch I used three years ago, I don’t know where they all came from – particularly the big, head sized one. It took over an hour to dig the two trenches with all the stones I had to remove. That big one took 15 minutes of excavation to remove.

This year, in addition to the spuds, I’ve planted some carrots. I’ve never grown them before so it’s very much an experiment. Watch this space for more updates on the veg patch.

What does this have to do with Rufus’ recovery? Well, I knew he was back to normal as apart from a few checks to make sure I wasn’t having a sneaky snack of biscuits, he remained in the house, lying in the sun streaming through one of the windows in the hall. He knows about comfort and has no need to show off his energy levels.

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Spuds

If you’ve been following the blog for for a few months, you’ll know that I planted some potatoes back in April. I’ve looked after the plot, weeded it, de-stoned it, shooed cats away from it, fretted as the fox used it as a thoroughfare and watered it during our extended weeks of sun.

I watched as the shoots grew into stems and developed leaves, then flowered. I’ve watched the plants thicken and grow taller, then start to sag. I’ve protected them from snails and slugs. In the last few days, a couple of them have turned yellow and started to die. I looked it up and found that now was the right time to dig them up.

So this afternoon I dug them up! There were more than I remember (I planted 15 seed potatoes) but when I was watering them I was sure not all of them had surfaced. After an hour or so of digging, I have managed to harvest 22.5lbs of spuds. The smallest one didn’t register on the scales, the largest was exactly 1lb. There was no real difference between the trench planted potatoes and the ones in individual holes.

Tonight I will be having pie ‘n’ mash. Tomorrow, sausages and home made chips. Sunday, roast spuds and chicken. Monday, burger and mash. Tuesday, cottage pie with lots of mash. By next Friday, I’ll be having toast and mash and I’m thinking about spud sandwiches, too. I anticipate potatoes playing a large part in my diet for a while to come.

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