Above is a screen grab of 'Field Study's Man in E17's' photo' folder for May 2013. As we approach the end of this month there are, if the image is not so clear, 169 folders which add up to c.1.2 gigabytes of data - nearly all of it jpegs/images made or taken during the field student's daily visits to the allotment/forest garden. What could this zeal for history of the site amount to beyond the edge of the field student's parochial horizon?
While the field student contemplates the extent of his profundity there are some more recent images to view of the medlar tree; a tree in which he has expressed some very prurient interest. In this simultaneously retentive and expulsive broadcast we can report the field student's act of recording took 4 minutes and 14 seconds - from the first digital photograph to the last. The act of looking may have involved more time, although if the looking and recording were concurrent, the field student has, quite fancifully in my opinion, suggested that in every one of those 254 seconds was an eternity. How might every photograph in the archive be considered 'a catastrophe that has already occurred'?
While anal retention and expulsion are key factors to consider in the conception and execution of this field study there is also the complex matter (and 'immatter') of self actualisation in the relationships between blog and allotment sites. We are attempting to scale the heights of Maslow's hierarchy of needs to reach the apex, the summit that is self actualisation. Lost and Found in E17 as a ritual involves various acts/activities - e.g. a lot of visits to the blog's statistics pages - and in these routine acts there is an effort to cultivate a sense of positive self esteem by dint of numbers of visits generated. There has been some laughter out loud and in the mind of the author about the provenance of 'his' 'stats' - as so much of the traffic appears to be 'spam' via porn sites.
Field Study's Man in E17 hopes that this document of a medlar tree, with it's 'Rabelasian' associations, is making all our routines, rituals and visits worthwhile.
Simply seeing or recognising and saying 'red' does not do justice to the exquisite colour and hue of a pollen we observed being danced and stored about the brood frames of one of our hives. Which plant is the source of a (pollen) colour so alluring and seductive? Which plants in the ultra violet field would so reward these honey bees with such a distinctively coloured pollen? What might be known about the complex nutritional properties of the assorted pollen grains stored so meticulously in this honeycombed palette?
We foraged our library of beekeeping books and magazines as well as surfed the world wide web for answers. Our informed guesses about the sources are 'henbit dead nettle' and 'red dead nettle'. Those plants are of the genus Lamium, comprising at least 40-50 species of annuals and herbaceous perennials, not all of them with red pollen though. If not the stingless smidgenly sweet to suck dead nettle then how about the 'anatolia' (?) of Horse Chestnut?
For two days, the 25th and 26th May, our man in E17 was very nearly lost in a maze of deceptively luxuriant canopies layering the site. Ranunculaceae rashes, piercings of worcesterberry thorns, the nephrotoxicity of towering wealds of acid bitter rhubarb, hallucinations induced by myriad flickerings of hazel nut leaves; a pastoral dream machine scratching at the retinas and playing in the mind of a wandering field student.
Our man in E17 entered the field prepared for the possibility of loss and disorientation. Although he was tormented by the lush abundance of vegetation, he was able to use the small pair of scissors in his miniature swiss army knife to cut one of his wellington boots into a long length, a yarn along which he might be followed and recovered from the forest garden of his unearthly melancholy.
So it was this morning we were amazed to find in an illuminated glade at the end of the rubber trail no physical remains of the field student, but instead the field student transmogrified into a cool pool of light emanating from the forest floor and flora.
Field Study's Man in E17 arrived at The Makers Yard this evening to hand over the deconstructed wellington boot art work for 'Nature Culture'. The work was installed and is titled, 'Boot to boot'. A short text (below) will accompany the boots.
Field Study's Man in E17 is busily deconstructing a wellington boot for the purposes of an artful exploration of nature as a force of culture. He hopes the boot will be fully deconstructed in time for the installation on Thursday evening at The Makers Yard, for 'Nature Culture', a group show curated by Yvonne Overton and Danielle Michalitsianos.
The field student suggested using a boot 'fragranced' by the compost delivered to the allotment site on Thursday - a very large pile, perhaps nearly 10 tonnes of very hot and extremely smelly composted but not fully composted municipal food and garden waste. The boots were thoroughly infused with the putrid odours and thermophillic miasma of the pile come bacterial pyre after a full afternoon of tramping in and about it. Even tonight, Tuesday, the entirely superficial dandelionesque field student found himself caught in a thermal emanating from the burning heart of one of the dark un-compost heaps, his vision fuzzed by the forces of labyrinthine appetites far too dark and mysterious to be illuminated by his limited logic. A fuzzy aerial vision of part of the allotment garden was relayed swiftly back to Base Camp Beere. A less smelly boot was selected for deconstruction to reduce fuzzyness and add some clarity. Let's hope a clearer picture emerges in the delights of The Makers Yard.
Allotment 22nd May 2013
To the left of the image above is the multi-bed potato patch, being cultivated via a no dig, compost and straw mulch process. Our question and increasingly fraught dilemma is whether or not we should use such a raw compost to 'earth up' the potatoes. The potatoes are growing up with a force we welcome (in part) and are in awe of as we struggle to provide a growing culture for them.
Potato bed - 22nd May 2013
Field Study's Man in E17 has imagined himself as a welly booted Theseus. It was not a ball of string that Ariadne gave him to retrace his path out of the cavernous stinking mountain of bull. Instead, Ariadne brandished a pair of scissors and demanded the mythical field student hand over one of his boots. She told him she could make the boot long enough to reach the bull of the bull and so back again. The last she saw of the mythical field student was him hopping into the darkness of the bull, trailing his navigational aid of a deconstructed wellington boot. Will the boot be long enough by Thursday?
The climbing french beans appear to be ailing - having turned quite yellow, and the leaves of some afflicted with some sort of infection or infestation. The runner beans in the same bed do not (yet?) appear similarly affected.