Thursday, 29 September 2016

Kittens

We rather unexpectedly adopted two kittens yesterday. Our good friends had offered a home to an unwanted cat which produced kittens. They are both girls, the black one is Bramble and the tabby one is Dinah. We could do with some new blood as out 10 year old tabby Nosher is healthy but semi retired. The girls will hopefully keep us rodent free once they grow a bit and settle in.
Sam the terrier is frightened of them which is great and we will leave it a few days before they meet the big dog.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Autumn Creeps Up On Us

The weather is cooler which is wonderful. Work has picked up on the land as I sort out the rampant tomatoes and get some brassica seedlings planted in the polytunnel. Last night we ate the first parasol mushrooms of the year and we have been eating blackberries for some time now.
Some of the trees are turning colour already and my rather fabulous kahili ginger is flowering for the first time, several sweetly scented plumes of flowers. I was rather surprised that it settled here as it is native to India.
I have dried the nectarine crop as they weren't very sweet and had split, they taste much better dried. We have also had our first decent hazelnut crop. Not tons but more than the two nuts we got last year. It is very exciting now that the forest garden is starting to crop. We also tasted autumn olives for the first time, they are not olives but species of Elaeagnus umbellata and they are sharp but tangy and we both like them.
As ever we are overwhelmed by pears and apples. We are picking some to store in boxes and I intend to dry some and make compote from others for breakfast with yogurt. This all takes time and has to compete with all of the other tasks for attention. If the pigs had not escaped they could have helped us manage the fruit better. Finally we now have two sweet white turkeys stalking the orchard. I will get a better picture of them when they are grown a bit.
Happy harvest to you all. Mother nature is indeed very bountiful.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A Porcine Disaster

It was all going too well. The pigs were sweeties, eating cheese from our hands, loving a good scratch, being taken on walks down the land and coming when called. We moved them to the orchard and unfortunately they escaped when we were not around to see, burrowing under the fence and disappearing. We suspect that neighbours dogs may have chased them away as they usually chomped in the vicinity contentedly when loose. The local village has been alerted but no sightings  since they went and it has been over a fortnight now so I don't think we will get them back. We hope that they will get a glorious autumn in the woods around us, but hunters will probably get them this winter if they survive the dogs. It is a horrible feeling to loose them like this and we feel as though we failed them somehow. We should have put electric fencing up and we didn't because they had not been any trouble up til that point. If there is a next time we will definitely do things differently.

I haven't blogged because as usual we have been busy and had family staying. It is brilliant having Tim back, he is currently in the UK for a couple of weeks but should be back in Galicia soon. The bees didn't happen this year for a variety of reasons but we will try again next year to get a swarm. The geese are in the freezer and it seems very quiet with just the chickens. I have had mixed vegetable success, we have had a very hot dry summer with temperatures often into the 30's, up to 36 degrees and many veggies went straight to seed despite my watering. We have lost some of the new forest garden seedlings planted last winter as I couldn't keep up with the watering and some have disappeared into the brambles. I hope to get the brambles down again with Tim's help and see how many seedlings are still alive. The fruit is doing well, strawberries and raspberries with tons of pears on the trees and many apples to come. The figs should be ripe any time now as well.
The chard has self seeded its self around which is great as both of us love it. Here is some in the lilies which are about to bloom for the first time. The mushroom logs are in the purple bucket on the left and we hope that they may crop this Autumn if the heat hasn't killed the fungi.
I put the tiny oca tubers in a pot and they have grown well. I might get to eat some this winter I hope.
All together a mixed year growing wise but the year is not finished yet and there is always next year. As weather extremes become the new norm due to climate change perseverance, diversity and mulching is the only answer I can think of.