Despite a heavy frost, I was determined to do a bit more at the Hill today - although when I got there & realised it really was icy going, I abandoned the idea of installing the next bed & decided to move the first of the red & blackcurrant bushes into its new location instead.
On reflection I really should have turned round & gone home again as soon as I realised just how frozen the ground is (the first strike of the spade threw up ice shards, one of which caught me on the cheek), but I had my green wax jacket & woolly hat on, & a flask of coffee, so I ploughed on anyway.
Julie (2nd best plot) & husband Phil had also braved the cold & came down to say 'happy New Year'. Phil said "I see you're changing the bed layout - it looks different." So I explained the shortened beds & new fruit beds.
"I'm moving the currant bushes from the edge of the plot into this new bed - would you do that or take cuttings and start again?" I asked Julie - who has some wonderful redcurrant bushes on her plot.
She looked at the frozen ground, "I'd give it a go moving them, I think - if you can! I've just been harvesting some parsnips from the tyre towers - I had to lift off a solid layer of soil before I could get to them!"
Working the spade all the way round the currant bush to loosen it certainly kept me warm, as did a strategic pause for coffee from the flask. A great deal of huffing & puffing & heaving got it into its new home, although it was not so easy bedding the roots it - the earth didn't take well to being dug and even though I heeled it in, I think that there are quite likely to be air pockets around the roots.
I took a bag of strawy horse manure from the pile by the manure skip (just the same size pile, incidentally, as before I emptied the bags into the skip a few days ago) & tucked it in all the way round the bush, & hopefully it will be OK.
On that less than satisfactory note, I dug a few JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES & a SWEDE (virtue) & came home to warm up.