Thursday, 15 March 2012

Field Study's Man in E17 is on a crazy path to sweeter things.

Recently I found myself at a very detailed map of the Wood St area and so decided to abandon my A-Z and follow a path determined by the brittle psycho-graphic impressions. After imbibing the cracks for a suitably sustained and concentrated period I set off. Barely two steps had I made along the crazy pavements when I stumbled upon the spirits of some Wood St twins in full and splendid bloom.

I stood revering the delicate blossoms however there was, despite the intrusion of traffic noise, a silence or absence of a hum I expected. Perhaps it was because of the traffic noise I could not hear bees foraging their way about the ambrosial providence. Perhaps the trees were a nectarless illusion?

If the trees are ornamental cherries, would they not be as good a source of pollen and nectar as the wild cherry?

Further along the cracked byways of Wood St, there was (and most likely still is) 'A Public Path Where Street Cleaning Services Fear To Tread'. Between Marlowe Rd and Shernhall St there is a most excremental path to be endured. A tangible faecal hum overpowered any trespass by motor vehicle noise and such was the potency of the stench - of a stew of puke, human and dog shite, cat cadaver, piss seasoned with ground and broken glass - I, Field Study's Man in E17, experienced a nauseating scale shift; size of a cockroach! I scuttled my newly diminutive self out of there and with the freshening air was restored to a size more fitting for an odyssey in search of the bucolic.   

I made away from the crap ridden paths of E17 to a sanctuary of E4. Here on the allotment we have recently established some new compost bays using old pallets. I sieved compost with an old waste paper basket, collecting the finer stuff to replenish the soil in the raised beds of the communal polytunnel. I think there is something quite magical about the composting process, the transformation of waste, particularly when the heaps are created as 'hot-compost' heaps - layers of waste nitrogenous and carbon materials chewed and cooked into a warm soft dark and fertilising medium by a collective of microscopic forces. There have been occasions when I have seen 'steam' rising from recently constructed heaps.

In this I thought there might be the beginnings of an art/sculpture project based on sieves and sieving - particularly in relation to soil. 

Land cress, spinach. mustard, parsley and dittander are growing in the tunnel at the moment.
To the side of the polytunnel there is a pond from which the spring time croaks of coupling frogs are emanating. This spring the pond appears to be an especially fertile site for the frogs as we have managed to maintain the water levels. Hopefully this pond with knots of frogs will create a very large colony of amphibious slug devourers.

Within croaking range of the frogs there is the apiary. Here there are hives in the process of Bailey Changing - a process which involves installing a new brood box and encouraging the bees to move up into it from the old brood box. The purpose of this is to get the colony of bees to create new comb which will not be as diseased as the old comb. Both colonies appeared to have over-wintered quite well. Each had an egg laying queen and honey stores - supplemented by a temporary sugar solution feed. At the most recent East London Beekeepers meeting someone commented a recent study had revealled the importance of primulas, or primroses, as an early season source of food for bees.   


There are primroses around the allotment site and for some more detailed insights into primrose pollination this web site is worth a visit and here be Walt Whitman's celebration of 'that which grows such sweet things out of such corruptions' - This Compost.

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