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Sunday, 16 August 2015

Somebody stole the river....

We called in as were passing and there is only a very little water in it. There's a lot of weed, lots of fish and it's clear enough, but there will be no dipping in there.

There is also a mass of rubbish as people call down for a dip or a picnic, made more noticable because the grass and weeds have been cut, presumably to lessen the possibility of fires. There have been a good few forest fires lately as the blisteringly hot, dry weather continues, one of which was scarily close to a friend of our's. It seems to be the thing to have a fire when out on a picnic and there are always those who think they are being so careful they will never cause a fire, but it only takes one spark.....
A hoopoe in the distance showing off his colours

Gravel banks have appeared, not enough water to dabble your toes!

Fed up water baby

Can you see the pond turtle?

This shows how the level has dropped since winter

Lots of weed has appeared
The garden is continuing to dry up. The autumn raspberries which looked so promising with masses of flowers, are drying on the canes. We are getting a few, enough for a taste of summer through winter, but not the promised glut. We have had to buy more cabbage plants as the ones we put in recently are looking streesed. Some of the tomatoes, the ones with thin skins, are looking as if they are cooking on the plants. They look a bit withered but as you go to touch them they are very soft and juicy and your fingers just go through the flesh. These were supposed to be our late autumn fruiters but they are not producing any more flowers so it's unlikely. The ones for chutney are almost finished even though the plants didn't even reach three feet tall. Leeks are still stagnant, we have used the last of the beetroot and we still have some carrots. I've given up on most brassicas but the sprouts have suddenly picked up for some reason. We finally got around to dead heading the flower borders but unless we get some rain soon we will have just dahlias, antirrhinum, nicotiana and roses flowering. Still, we can't complain, we have had a wonderful display this year again.
The grapes are ripening early, but though they are for wine not eating  we have set some to dry to eke out bought raisins. We are told the one by the dunny which we have kept cutting down is a black that will be allowed to grow now, to be trained somehow....

As expected the peppers have started arriving over the wall, one lot chopped and chunked and in the freezer, the second bucket full will hopefully be chargrilled and frozen whole. Melons are also still coming over, handy having two fridges so we can put them in the empty fridge upstairs. In return we have picked the cornel fruits for their rakia and Dave has been helping with little jobs
Beautiful red peppers, they must water all day to get these

Thousands of very astringent cornels. A lady was picking them from the other side of the wall the other day thinking we didn't want them,  Dave jokingly said they were five leva a kilo. It seems the kids like them. Weird taste!

We have finished extracting the honey for this year, leaving plenty to feed the colony over the winter. We have ten kilo buckets and ten jars, five of which have gone to neighbours. This is more than we can use but it will keep. I will have to find some good uses for it. Already I have made a honey cake which I am told is scrummy, but as I didn't get any I will have to take their word for it! Will make another soon and if I agree I will post the recipe. I am also saving some of the wax cappings which I am trying to purify at the moment to use for lip balm. More of that later too. Meanwhile I have honey on toast or fresh bread occasionally, (I don't eat much bread) or in yoghurt. (Dave sticks to his blackcurrant jam and doesn't eat much dairy)

Out in the yard, the goats are settling into a routine of going for a walk every day though they can still be a bit skittish. Milly is allowed off the lead once they are out of the village (Tilly runs free) but that sometimes when a dog suddenly appears from the undergrowth and startles them! Tilly tends to think everything is a game bless her.
Tilly using Mum's haunch as a pillow

And in the hen house moulting is still underway, meaning few eggs and unhappy looking chickens, especially when they have the heat to cope with too. Ducky is being a nuisance and decisions will have to be made on which drake we keep. He is getting rather jealous of the chicks, wanting all Cagney's attention. It is time he had some duck ladies and it won't be our's as long as his Dad is in charge. We need him out of the hen house!

We had weather warnings for last night, thunderstorms and flash floods. It didn't happen here but it may have elsewhere and I do hope it doesn't cause hardship. We desperately need the rain but not enough to wash away people's gardens or knock all the immature walnuts and apples from the trees. It is not yet 6am at this moment and poor Bonnie is panting hot already. It is 24C even this early and still dark and we do desperately need a storm, but I feel for Bonnie who hates them and will be even more distressed when it happens.
Not exactly helping to keep Bonnie cool, this cat loves the warmth, a real couch potato.
And finally a kitten fix....not that \I like cats. These are a friend's and I couldn't help taking a photo of them snuggled up in fliflops....there's one missing....three still need homes....

Ah, here's the missing boy!


  1. Hot, hot ,hot at 6am over here in Blighty (slightly north of Manchester ) I'd put the heating on if I could afford it which I cannot. We've had a fair bit of rain as well which is good for the allotment. Thank you for your advice regarding re-locating and looking at a renovation cottage. I'll be back over in September so I hope the weather holds and will let you know how I get on if you're interested. Meanwhile thank you for another great post.

  2. Haha, my sister lives north of Manchester so I know what sort of summer you've had...I tell her there wouldn't be a Lake District if it didn't rain a lot! Believe me, these temperatures for weeks on end are draining when you're trying to be self sufficient!

    Yes, let me know how you get on, and the best of luck...the weather is set to be mid twenties through September, though that could change.

  3. Oh there is enough water there for a paddle, he could sit in the river to cool off. ;-)

    Is that missing kitten coming home with you? I just wondered.....

    I hope you get rain without the thunderstorms, but the kind of torrential rain you sometimes get with thunderstorms is not always ideal when your soil is really dry, is it? Like you mentioned, that's when you can get flash floods. Can't bloody win!

    Love the hoopoe photo (more envy) and that first butterfly looks like a skipper species to me.

    1. Haa, I think it had more to do with a herd of paddling cows doing what cows do that put him off, we usually try to get there before the herders, but they have been early because of the heat. I must say the cattle look good this year.

      Just ad one bout of rain, it was supposed to be daily but it didn't even make a puddle. I thought I would be sowing some seed at you say, can't bloody win!

      Dave took the photo, they are small birds and I couldn't even see it it was so far away. Looking for a new camera....

      Kitten...what kitten? Actually they try every time we visit but always manage to home them elsewhere. I think Spud would terrify a baby.....

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