The animals have noticed the difference. Bonnie's breathing is better and she is having more moments of playfulness, she hasn't enjoyed the heat this year. The cats have decided they are now lap cats. Difficult for me as computer and Spud don't fit well onto one lap. Dave has his computer on a little table so Charlie's OK, though he is inclined to want Bonnie's chair if Dave gets up and knows that if he jumps on there she will get off and leave him a nice warm place to kip.
In the garden we are continuing to get runner beans and they are lovely, just like the early summer ones. The tomatoes have nearly finished, the courgette too, there is only small piece of anaemic looking plant left but it still produces the odd fruit. We are hoping to bring the squash in this week which is hard because that means we will have to sacrifice some small unripe ones. And they are still setting. The peppers and chillis. on close inspection, have loads of fruits which will all perish if we get low temperatures, though we are keeping an eye on the forecast and after threatening us with close to freezing, the next three weeks' low night temperatures are now given as above 5c..we will keep a check. But there is nothing we can do really, just leave stuff and hope. The kale is producing well too and that can stay until Angel comes in with the tractor, then the other plants we planted later will be ready to harvest.
|And still we eat good, fresh food. The 'sprots' are gone wrong romanesco, delicious|
|The chillis are taking their time going red, but we will peobably take a couple of plants in at the end of the month|
|Tuscan kale, still giving us plenty of tender leaves|
|The sweet potatoes have taken off!|
|But we are still not sure if there are any usable tubers|
|Hmmmm, snails on the leeks...but the little ladybird....what is it after?|
In the top bed the few strawberry plants we have are growing well. We are looking out for new plants in the market but they are elusive. Might try and get some in the UK when we go if we can't get any. In the same bed the leeks are still growing (very tasty they are) and the beets and carrots, the brassicas are doing well and the garlic is now planted. We need to get onions and lettuce in soon and move the blackcurrans and gooseberries which need more space. We are down to three rhubarb plants but that's plenty, we don't eat much. We have just had a flush of new stalks for freezing though.
|With hangers on. Dave on walnuts (at Tesco prices, already over 50 quid's worth in the freezer) and I was splitting our garlic, some to plant and some to freeze in case of emergencies....they don't beg for mine!|
|Our supervisor knows the warmest places|
The bees are still busy, and other insects. I know Dave is itching to tidy the flower beds but now even the zinnias are flowering well again. As long as the flowers are there the bees can feed and the better they will be prepared if we have a harsh winter. As you work around the garden there always seems to be the croak of a toad coming from somewhere, the joy of having 'cottage style' planting means there is plenty of shelter for these gardener's friends. Great for slug and fly control. Probably happy in our garden as they do not get sprayed!
|It's aster season and bees, wasps and hoverflies are going mad for them|
We have also taken delivery of half a lamb which will give Dave a change from chicken and pork over winter. It was Dave's first try at cutting up a carcass, it should have been set aside for a couple of days but we had nowhere to put it as the cellar was too warm, all sheds spoken for and bedroom also warm during the day. So it was still too fresh and wobbly (and it has to be said...warm..) for a first go, but we aren't going to be giving any gourmet dinner parties and when in Bulgaria....where most meat is hacked up and stewed, we are in good company. There are, at least, a couple of good joints for an occasion, mini racks and some stewing meat for casseroles and hotpots, the breast chopped up for slow stews on the bone too. The belly fat (not much) was rendered down and after any meat taken off, the lardy bit put away for the birds in winter and the crispy other bits cut into strips for 'special occasion' dog treats. Enough! If only my butcher brother was closer.....ugh!
As autumn sets in the small animals and reptiles, as well as our toad friends, are thinking about holing up for the winter. We don't see many snakes so don't notice when they are not about, and despite everyone else saying they have lizards, we never see them in the garden, probably because there is so much cover. There are still some crickets chirruping at night, and of course we get our chatty toads. But we don't think this chap Dave came across on his goat walk looks in great codition. He was lively enough and Dave chivvied him off the lane and into an empty garden so hopefully he will find somewhere for winter.
So now I am off to take the worker a coffee and to sit and enjoy a really warm afternoon in the sun. Who mentioned winter?