In the garden the flowers are looking tired, with the exception of the morning glory which gets better and better, despite being pruned by goats if it dares to creep through the wall. So I have started to cut things back. The dahlias are more or less finished, though if we have a wet spell some might pick up.
The tomatoes are nearly done with just a few of the large pink ones and lots of cherry toms. The aubergines have a new lease of life since the Colorado beetles have finished. We have had a few of the yellow peppers and squats, but with buckets full arriving from both sides we have had far too many to cope with. There are plenty char grilled and frozen and I made some chutney with some and tomatoes and chillies. A bucket full was exchanged for a load of figs. The squash are looking all burnished and will soon be collected and put in a sunny spot to ripen so that we can clear the land. The coloured ones by the septic tank, according to Google, are particularly fine to eat but don't keep so well. We are not putting potatoes in as it is still so hot and mostly dry, but when the onion patch has been turned over the chard will be moved and spinach, lettuce, land cress and maybe carrots will go in. The beetroot are just about finished and land cress, which has done so well, has gone rather strong and tough. What a great plant though. So as soon as all these things are collected and moved we will protect the chillis and open that half of the garden to the geese and chickens and they can start to clear and fertilise.
|So many peppers, and real beauties|
|The chillies are still green, very mild too|
|Weedy pepper plants in our garden, no wonder Venka thinks we need more! But we have plenty....really.|
|Lots of figs|
The brassicas are suddenly doing well again, despite a huge infestation of flea beetle. We are hoping Jordan doesn't notice and attack with his poison spray.. The broccoli has started to throw out proper flowering sprouts now, though a couple of plants still have blind ones, and they are a lot sweeter and more tender. We don't yet have a bad infestation of caterpillars though I have seen the odd one, but I am picking the larger leaves from the plants for the chickens so maybe the eggs were laid on them. There have certainly been a lot of cabbage white butterflies about. I was worried that the sprouts were forming on the Brussels too early but they seem to be OK, looking healthy and not growing the sprouts any bigger. We really don't want them until it gets cooler, sprouts are not good in boiling hot weather!
In the fruit line we are still picking raspberries and have plenty for the annual sherry trifle stashed in the freezer. The rest have gone into raspberry and apple jam. There is another small batch of rhubarb (strictly speaking, a vegetable) in the freezer. The peaches have been picked and eaten, the ones on the resurrected tree being yellow fleshed and larger. And the figs will be picked and dried soon. The watermelons are still arriving from neighbours front and back and we are still picking our own minis. All the sad grape harvest are dried and ready for cakes and mincemeat. They are not the same as commercially dried fruit, but they are our's and that matters.
|The last of our peaches, the smaller ones the delicious white fleashed variety, the bigger ones are yellow fleshed.|
Baba Danke sent us a few figs one day too, and with already having a jar of fig jam given by the lady who had the cockerels, I made a very yummy fig and almond tart, with jam on the bottom, almond sponge then halved figs and sliced almonds on top. As Venka and family were round to fix their well pump I sent her back with half, still warm. It seems it went down really well and she made it do five portions, three of which went to the daughter in VT. We had our's with some good vanilla ice cream, lovely.
Yesterday we were presented with half a bucket of small figs by a British friend so I have a bowl full steeping in sugar ready for fig and ginger jam, a couple of trays in the dehydrator and the chooks and geese had the squashed ones. I quite liked the jam we were given, but would not eat it regularly on bread, but with ginger and lemon added it should have more bite, I do like a bit of sharpness in jam.
And so with the garden covered we come to the livestock, who seem to be doing OK. Egg production seems quite good at the moment despite a few of the hens moulting. The chicks are doing well and are roosting like grown ups, growing really fast. The geese are the geese, noisy rabble and enjoying having two ponds. Frogs and toads have taken up residence in and around the water and the 'natural' pond seems to hold water well considering it was just dug out. It must be because of the soil, when wet it is like slippery clay.
|Boy chick (yes, another!) looking all grown up.......|
|..............until you see him next to Chubba, then he looks tiny.|
We have, as the title suggests, a new addition to the holding. Dave was sorting out the well the other day, cutting a hole in the lid to put the hose through. As Venka's pump went back down after being fixed (been down ten years so good going, manufactured in 1978!) as their well is not deep enough, we have to be careful to keep to our sides so that our hose doesn't get tangled again. It needs a winch to get their's out as it is attached to a very heavy metal pipe, big job.
I digress. As Dave was fiddling about he heard what he thought was a bird piping, but it got stronger so on investigating the lane he found a kitten shouting for mum. He came to tell me about it and said it was this big...holding his hands nearly a foot apart. Took the camera and came back with a picture of a ginger kitten with gummy eyes. We have managed to avoid taking in any pets as it could be a problem if ever we had to go back to the UK and find a rented house. It would be so easy to take in some of the desperate creatures. Anyway, all went quiet so we went to see what was going on. But as Dave opened the gate this little scrap who had settled there tumbled into the garden and determinedly made it's way down the steep steps. It is minute...and sick by the looks of it. More five inches less tail! As it wrapped it's tiny body around my feet I couldn't move as I had a long skirt on and couldn't see the thing. Of course that was it, we couldn't turf it out. We could not have lived with ourselves if it had been found dead on the lane. It seemed to be used to humans and handling and it seems it wanted to live here! Dave went out to ask neighbours if it belonged to anyone but no-one admitted to it.
|When Dave saw him first, a pathetic scrap|
|So tiny, but with a big voice|
So Splash, so named because of a splash of white on his back, seems to be part of our family. He is very young, maybe four weeks, can eat chicken but can't lap milk or water so has to be fed with an eye dropper. Not too many fleas and his eyes are much better for a clean up. So a dash over to the friend who we got the geese from, twenty minutes away, for goat's milk, better for babies than cow's milk, he has a voracious appetite but we are worried that he has not had a poo since he decided to live here two days ago. He wees OK, goes out to the flower border to perform, so we are hoping it's because he was so empty and skinny when he first arrived that his system is slow to work. But he is very lively so we are trying not to worry just yet.
|Will you be my new mummy?|
|OK...come and have a wash then|
|Eyes cleaned and looking a bit healthier....and still loud!|
|It's exhausting finding a new family|
|It's exhausting looking after a new baby|
Of course, Bella is besotted as she is with all baby animals. But she is big and Splash in tiny so he tends to get pushed around a lot. Splash has decided that Bella will make a great buddy and follows her, climbs on her and invites her to play. Bonnie, like me, can take or leave cats, she just accepts anything new with a sniff and that's it.
Sorry if there is telly noise, I can't hear it on my notebook.
One besotted Bella