Monday, 2 February 2015

Hairy Etchings

Morning all,

Where did January go? Spring is nearly upon us, despite the rather over dramatised weather reports of the last few days. Still on the bright side at least that means there can’t be as much bad news knocking about if a few cms of snow in the hills makes headlines. Today’s breeze is a bit uncomfortable if you are standing about in it for too long, good for the turbines but it’s definitely not arctic conditions down here. We haven’t yet resorted to turning on the central heating although if real freezing winds actually do make it this far we will do it, we are not completely mad. Cosied up the house a bit further last week by eliminating the biggest draft into the living room. Fitting an internal cat-flap between the room and the conservatory has upset the cats but blocked a 7 inch square hole that has been bugging me for years. Can’t believe the difference it has made. It might also reduce the larger carnage brought into the house, rabbit remains in the house isn’t the best discovery as you walk barefoot on a night-time excursion.
Just a quick one this week as I have to spend the rest of the day and evening doing my etching (see below). Might sound vaguely romantic but the days of tempting Caroline to come up and see my etchings are long gone, in fact she will be long gone too as she goes off to see Southampton play Swansea this afternoon. Talking of romance, did the earth move for you? It did for us this week with my first experience of an earthquake. I was in the office and Caroline had gone up to feed the animals and we had a 2.9 tremor centred just a couple of miles away, we both heard and felt it and weren’t even sure what it was, but it was later confirmed on the local news. Just a quick grumble and a short judder, not a lot to it, but Caroline said it was enough, we don’t want to stray too far out of our comfort zone. Still can’t believe how good all the new labels are looking can’t wait to see them start disappearing off the nursery stuck very smartly in all those plants.
There are signs of early growth on a few lines and the odd bud or two showing so spring isn’t too far away. All the stock is kept cold and well ventilated so should be pretty tough. As the days lengthen the first strong flush of growth comes along pretty quickly, so do keep an eye on our emails to see things develop and the spring buds appear, it won’t be long. With the new look labelling and a bit of half decent weather we can put together an attractive display to kick off 2015 sales.The Erysimums are budding up well and looking chunky, Bowles Mauve in particular is always such a favourite and a great long lasting garden performer. The Amemone blanda are very close to making their spring show, the odd straggly flower at the moment, not quite ready but not far away.We don’t have any herbs available this week but should have a limited range next week. This is partly down to the cooler weather, plants looking a bit too ‘tidy’ after their winter trim and getting all the new printing plates etched with the new individual barcodes. The herb growth tends not to be rampant early on as so many originate from more southern areas but once the days lengthen a bit and temperatures pick up we should have a great show.Ok now for the main reason for the herb delay. Sorry. Over the last couple of years we have seen cut backs in the tongue depressor market, I’m quite surprised it hasn’t made the news. As cutting equipment has been upgraded the width of the sticks has reduced fractionally which I am sure has helped them get quite a few more sticks out of a log but it means our printing has got very difficult to fit on the reduced label area. I don’t suppose you would notice the change if it was your tongue being depressed but we have found it tricky. To overcome the issue we have been tempted to reduce the font size fractionally but they then becomes increasingly difficult to read so we have taken the opportunity while introducing the individual barcodes, to redesign the whole herb label. Naturally this would only take me a few days, bu t the usual array of challenges put a spanner in the works and I’m not quite ready this week so apologies for that. Believe me it will be worth the wait, the text is perhaps less artistic but far more practical, it fits in the label easily, is miles easier to read and incorporates the barcode all on the one label.
Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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