Z is useful and cheap

Spurred on by Mike and K’s noble example, I trotted out to prune the wisteria. The Sage came and watched me. “Hm, I think I need the pair of steps” I decided. The splendid fellow went and fetched them for me and put them up. “You won’t go up on the top step?” he asked. I assured him I was not planning a plummet any time soon. Reassured, he went off to do *whatever errands that take him out of the house for several hours a day*. I reflected that some blokes hold the ladder. Or ascend it.

It’s all right. I didn’t plummet and I used the secateurs and pruning saw to good effect. If we ever used the front door, we could do so without being forced off the path into the lavender.

I didn’t, of course, clear anything up. That’s not my job.

By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you – does anyone have an opinion whether or not it’s worth keeping capsicum (in this case, chilli) plants alive during the winter, rather than growing them from seed every spring? I could keep them in the porch, which is frost-free, but that’s the best I’d do. No heat. Apart from the jalapenos, which have lost a lot of their leaves, they are all still really healthy and covered with flowers, as well as having given loads of chillies but usually I just let them go as the weather gets colder.

I completely forgot about dinner and had to rootle in the larder and the vegetable garden. Butternut squash risotto and sautéed swiss chard was the result. I didn’t use the chard leaves, which will be cooked as spinach tomorrow. Ro came and grated the squash for me, which gave us a chance to chat – we’re all a taciturn lot who are quite comfortable being quiet most of the time.

He had been out to the pub last night with old school friends, for the first time for a while and, as I know quite a lot of them, he filled me in on their current doings. It’s a bit startling, to hear that one was (until a week ago, whoops) contemplating marriage and another buying a house. Another has finished his stint in the RAF, and he’s only 23. Ro approves of the smoke free pubs. And he said, with some satisfaction, that he hadn’t had a drink all evening – no alcohol, that is. Although, as he said, there is only so much lemonade you can drink. He does drink, but he hates being pushed to keep up and have a pint bought with every round. Easier to say no at the start. I know what he means, which is why I usually drink halves in pubs. My popularity depends, in part, on my reputation as a cheap date.

17 comments on “Z is useful and cheap

  1. martina

    Well, it wouldn’t hurt to see if you can winter over the peppers. You will want to put a bit of extra mulch on top, trim them down a bit and shelter them from the elements.

  2. badgerdaddy

    That was the first thing I thought when I met you, actually. In fact, this post covers the first two things: ‘Cheap date’ and ‘She should let her peppers live over the winter’.

  3. Z

    Thanks, Martina. I’ll give it a go. They are in the greenhouse in fact, not outdoors. The sweet peppers are in the ground and the hot ones in pots. I’ll cover over the sweet ones (you call them bell peppers don’t you?) but I think it’ll still be too cold, but I can bring the others into a warmer place.

    Badgerdaddy, you are a perceptive man. I didn’t get your measure until we’d met more than twice.

  4. mike

    Delighted to have led by example, I’m sure! Due to my crippling vertigo, our system is that K climbs the ladder and pelts me with greenery, which I then fold and mince into the trug. I pride myself on my mincing, and regard actually having to empty a full trug into the green bin as evidence of personal weakness. Hence a lot of stamping, as I squash down the minced morsels ever further…

  5. Z

    Oh Steg. I’m overwhelmed. Thank, you, dearest.

    Mind you, I notice that Dave, underneath, hasn’t endorsed what you say.

    Mike, you see that, whilst I’m easily led, it isn’t always astray. In our family, I pelt and the Sage minces.

    Dave, ‘post-party speechlessness’? You didn’t strike me as quite so lightweight. However, I trust that it was a good’un. I await the erudite comment on a future occasion with keen interest.

  6. Dave

    Because I never give compliments, for fear of being thought of as gushing and insincere. Everyone has to just know (in some strange indefinable way) that I think they’re wonderful, because they are unlikely to hear it from my lips.

  7. Z

    Fortunately, no one ever thinks I’m insincere, even though I can be a bit flowery with my endearments. Nor do they take me too seriously, fortunately.

  8. martina

    I like the vertigo reason for not climbing ladders. Much better than my honest excuse (nausea and dizziness) if I try to go above the third step. Thank goodness for pole pruners, and a friend who will clean the house gutters. We used to call sweet peppers bell peppers but now they are called small sweet peppers and sweet bell peppers.

  9. Blue Witch

    I don’t think it’s worth the effort to keep chillis or peppers overwinter in this country. They succumb to even a touch of frost quite easily, and, even if they do survive, they never crop well in a second year.

    I think it may be the sudden temeprature change of moving that they don’t like as I’ve known people who grow them indoors (as pot plants, but for chillis, rather than pot, obvioulsy) keep them for several years.

  10. Z

    I’m not too good on a ladder myself, Martina, and I also get scared, but I’d rather do it myself than worry about my husband.

    Thanks, BW, I had the feeling that if it was easy we’d all have been doing it all along.

  11. The Boy

    The whisteria… damn… Must do mine too… You are always ahead of me!

    We have a couple pepper plants that get brought into the conservatory each winter. Trim them down and feed and you’ll get a second crop mid winter.


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