Mystery Post

Mystery Post

Dismantling a greenhouse over the weekend, I discovered this mystery post. I’m pretty sure I found it in an old hedge round the back of the pig sty – and I have absolutely no idea what it is – so if anyone stumbles across this Mystery Post post and has an idea, please do get in touch!

Mystery PostIn a nutshell – it’s oak, which would suggest something built to last. It’s about 4 feet long, has no signs of ever having been in the ground. The one end – let’s assume the lower half – is square section, about 4.5 inch square and has a squared off base. The top half is shaved on the sides, to make a rough eight-sided length that feels a bit like a handle. The very top is carved into a pyramid shape – pointed – and has two holes drilled through, at right-angles to each other.

Now oak isn’t something that’s shaved easily, and you simply wouldn’t bother doing it for no reason, especially given the age of this. I would imagine it’s 50 years old or so.

First Possibility

My first thought was ‘fencepost’. But then if so, why the shaved edges? And there’s no signs of rotting, which we get in posts at ground level here due to the water table. A corner post would make sense as the two sets of holes could take a bar or rope at right-angles, but then why bother to shave off the edges (they’re not neatly shaved either, so not particularly decorative)? And why the pointy top – the worst shape for the top of a post.

Second Possibility

Another thought, given the flat base and rounded top end, was a tamper for post holes – but again, why the perpendicular holes? One pair of handles might be useful, but two?

Like I said, any ideas, please get in touch! It’s a mystery!

Hedge Base Cleaning

2014 Hedge Base ClearingThere are always those little odd jobs that need doing. A space between the path to the Patch and the old hedgerow was covered in nasties – mainly ivy, nettles and something I didn’t recognise but had roots as large as parsnips, with none of the pleasant odour. So Suz and myself cleared it with forks, hoes, spades – anything really to get rid of as much as we could possibly find. The fun part was the fact that this portion of the hedge was used as a midden by the Victorian inhabitants of the cottages, so we’re always unearthing things. Here you can see myself and Smiler sifting through the soil – I’ll post the finds up when I get some photographs of them – but in a nutshell we found a Victorian bleach bottle, a few glass beads, a mangled coin celebrating George V’s coronation and a rather lovely little bottle.

As ever, Penny made sure our work was up to scratch.

Piece of Leather

I have no idea how old this little scrap of leather is. The fact that the stitches run in a continuous line without breaking suggest that it’s machine-made, but the holes on the back suggest that if it is a machine then it’s a reasonably old one. There’s also an initial – W or M, cut into it – I can’t imagine wht an initial would be cut there. It looks like some sort of lace hole, but then they’re not metal reinforced, which I assume most modern shoes would have?

Digging over the patch

So the promised sun didn’t materialise, but then does it ever? It was still warm enough to don wellies and scoot the barrow over to the new veggie patch in Acre Field (the default name seems to be sticking, how original…). We already have potatoes chitting on a window sill in the house, and have been for about a week now – ready for an Easter Sunday planting session as the old boys always do. You need 6 weeks to allow them to chit properly. Today’s task was to dig over one of the two 30′ square vegetable patches and plant around 100 shallots. Tomorrow’s labour of love is to dig the second 30′ square vegetable patch over and sow parsnip seed – something we should have done a few weeks ago if we’d owned a spare ice axe to dig through the ground.

The digging over of the patch also gave us ample opportunity to rid the area of larger stones, and to de-weed the little blighters that have popped up – mostly chickweed but also some groundsel and wild pansies. Single ones we hoed out, those more prolific we turned over with a spade to bury them as a cheap green manure, as we were advised to do by farmer John.

We’ve got two 30′ rows of shallots, bought from the local allotment society, and planted them 6″ apart, in rows 1′ apart, and placed just below the surface, using the most useful tool I own – a piece of dowling, lovingly hand-crafted, that fulfills the jobs of a spacing ruler, a string holder and a dibber. Each bulb will sprout around 8-10 bulbs which means we’ll be eating a lot of pickled onions!

As is getting the norm each time we dig here, we also unearthed some pottery, what looks like a couple of sherds of Midlands Purple Ware which was made and used between AD1450-1600, and a piece of flint that looks suspiciously like the base of an arrow head – which will make it either Paleolthic or Mesolithic. These are to add to the other 20 pieces we’ve already piled up from this 30′ square piece of land! If only we could find some Anglo Saxon gold 🙂