I am reading Michael Frayn’s novel ‘Headlong‘ at the moment (after five years of not reading novels, I decided it was time). It’s about an art historian who discovers a Breugel painting in a neighbour’s house and then embarks on a dastardly plan to get it off him. The painting Frayn’s characters discovers is one of a series depicting ‘scenes in the year.’ In winter, there is snow and hunting, in summer there is hay-making. The months of the year tick by – each one with it’s own activity. It made me wonder what my own year was like – whether I followed any sort of rhythm, so I decided to do a bit of observation and analysis. Here’s what I came up with…
What I am busy with now
What will be busy with in the future
|March||Planting and gardening|
|April||Planting and gardening|
|May||Planting and gardening|
|June||Scythe fests, courses, mowing||Gardening|
|July||Courses, mowing, events||Gardening|
|August||Courses, mowing, events, holidays||Gardening|
|September||Gardening and preserving|
|October||Gardening and preserving|
Once I had put this chart together, I realised that there were lots and lots of uses for it. My initial reason was to work out when would be the best time to start learning something new. This year I want to build on my sewing and photography skills. After analysing my chart, I realised that there were a couple of pauses in the year when new things like this could be started – in November when the ‘being outside weather’ is well and truly over, and again in January to combat what I have come to call the doldrums.
Both of these months have their selling points. January – the new year – is a great time to start new projects which is why we have a tradition of making resolutions at that point. I thought at first that November was a rubbish time to start something new, having Christmas and all that family-based business hot on its heels. I imagined that I would start something and then have to put it down for two weeks. But then I realised that Christmas, although it’s heavy on travelling and family-matters, is not usually heavy on work. There is plenty of time, while I am with my family, to do other things. I usually get through my body weight in crap novels (thus disproving my earlier claim that I haven’t read a novel in five years, oh well). Starting to relearn sewing in November would be a good Christmas project and would be something that me, my mother and my grandmother could all do together.
Another thing that leapt out at me when I put this down on paper was that the three months of the year when I am away a lot and which are crazy busy for me – June, July and August – are exactly the time when I will probably need to be in the garden in the future. At the moment, my garden is tiny and not really producing very much in the way on annuals that need ongoing care, but I hope to have a bigger and better garden at some point in the next few years. I have no intention of foregoing festivals, events or courses to stay at home and look after my garden, so I will need to find ways to mitigate the problems that being away might cause. This might be through a combination of focusing on perennials, choosing varieties of annuals that fruit/produce earlier or later, following strict planting plans, mulching well, developing automatic irrigation systems and last but not least, getting someone to help me…
I think this little observation exercise will help me a lot in the future. How about you? What is your year like?
Note: The painting above shows medieval Netherlandish proverbs.