Friday, 31 October 2014

Our first fire of the winter

Halloween seems an auspicious time to light the first fire of the year. Although it's been a lovely day it's still nice to have our log burner blazing and the evenings are definitely feeling colder now.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Remember me!

Puss has now decided to sit on our 'finds' table, she has now decided that this is the best place to be to establish eye contact as I go about my day! This photo was taken from the kitchen sink.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Dahlia heaven

My Christmas present Dahlias were certainly the gift that keeps on giving. I have picked loads of them over the summer and they have given me so much pleasure. I am hoping that I can dig them up and keep them safe over the winter.

Tabby's nests

Our little tabby has made herself several nests in the hay in our barns. She started sleeping in the cart shed but this week has moved up to just behind the house - all the better to keep an eye on our movements and to let us know that it's 'time for a little something'!!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Evening light

This evening the light catches the wood opposite and brings the colours alive. The deciduous trees look their best at this time of year when you can see each different species clearly as their leaves start to change into their autumn colours.

My plants arrive

The plants have come for my newly dug bed. They arrive in a very battered box but seem OK. Now I just have to decide how to arrange them!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

No vampires for us

I've been planting garlic to keep away the vampires! I bought two fat bulbs which produced thirty cloves. I decided to extend each of our plots by a couple of feet and it is into this new area that the garlic goes. The soil is perfectly damp and once I have removed a wheelbarrow full of roots planting is easy.

Cauliflower perfection

Despite a couple of windy days things are still looking good. Our vegetables are doing well and today we ate one of our cauliflowers. We know from previous experience that you have to eat them quickly as it doesn't take long for them to them to move from looking perfect to going over.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A pair of pheasants

I came down this morning to see this pair enjoying a pleasant/pheasant conversation. A few minutes later there was a lot of noise so I guess they hadn't seen eye to eye after all.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Autumn gales

The forecast hurricane brought wind that howled around the house and hail stones but things in the garden are fine apart from one of the seats that got blown over onto my newly planted rose. The leaves however have cascaded off the trees. In the evening we escape the howling wind and went out to the Vernon Arms in Sudbury for a meal with our neighbours.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Home grown vegetables

A parsnip, a carrot and a handful of peas went to join the luxury of roast chicken on a Monday night! Somehow we hadn't got round to eating it over the weekend and Tom drove here from work to share our meal.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Storm warning

There are warnings not just of autumn gales but of the remains of a hurricane heading to us. It's still been very mild and we have had wonderful weather. I am gardening in shorts and wellies! Dave found the edging iron and so I've been extending the edge of our vegetable plots and we have finally finished lifting the turf on our fruit section.

The buzzard

We have buzzards that fly over here each day. Often I hear them calling first and have to scan the sky to see where they are. It is hard to photograph them as the float on the thermals. Sometimes they are alone but we have seen at least 6 or 7 together. I love their high cry and feel privileged to have them here.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Wine making

Inspired by the success of his beer Dave has embarked on a new venture making us wine for Christmas! Here he tackles the task of adding the oak chips for that 'aged in barrels' flavour. The wine sounds like a living creature rumbling away under our stairs (where the temperature is warmest).

As it's his birthday we go out for a curry and he gets to sample someone else's beer!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A visitor

The arrival of our neighbour's tractor in the bottom of our garden wasn't good news. During hedge cutting operations a dead elm had fallen across our phone line and snapped it in two. It was annoying having no phone but not being able to use the internet was a real issue (especially as it took BT six long days until they could carry out the repair, and it was only done then as a result of vigorous complaining which eventually moved us to the emergency repair list).

Ready for planting

This is my flower bed, with the newly pruned lilac, ready for planting I have spent ages clearing loads of rubble and bricks: there were over 150 sound hand made bricks buried here as well as 18 wheelbarrow loads of broken bricks, concrete and the remains of a wall, all invisible from the surface. I hadn't planned on removing so much but once I started it became obvious that I couldn't leave it here. I ordered a number of plants at the weekend and so am busy trying to complete this work before they arrive.

Amazing tomatoes

We have these amazing tomatoes growing right by the front door presumably from one discarded by the builders last year. The plant has scrambled up through the rose and parts of it are 5' tall. Although quite dense they are excellent sliced in a sandwich and much more prolific than our carefully grown 'gardeners delight'.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Stripping again

This is what Dave has been up to ... it's a horrid task removing the layers of varnish and stain from the sides of the wooden stairs that go to the first floor from the living room. The plaster is also very cracked with bits of horse hair sticking out. This needs to be repaired before we can even think about painting. Dave thinks it's taking a long time but it's a huge task and looks so good even at this early stage.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Extreme pruning

I've been extreme pruning the old lilac today! It was huge and the flowers mainly formed high up so hopefully this will make it more attractive whilst also allowing new planting to grow underneath. It was a good day for this job and pleasant to be outside again. Dave unfortunately has the less pleasant job of working indoors on the stairs.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Webs (but not world wide)

Even the spiders webs look beautiful on this misty morning. We also have spiders inside who are less welcome. I saw a very large one on the bed last night but it disappeared before I could remove it - I decided it was better not to let Dave know there was one at large!


I'm glad that my fennel survived Dave's early enthusiastic weeding. It hasn't needed staking and looks wonderful growing amongst the vegetables adding much needed hight to the beds. Today it's very misty and the drops of moisture sparkle on the flower heads.

The Savoy

After a difficult start (when they looked half dead) our Savoy cabbages are developing nicely. They looked good this morning as I walked down the garden to collect a few raspberries for my muesli. There has been a very heavy dew and everything is dripping wet.

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Another glorious sunset with the light catching the edges of the clouds. I love having these wide views and never tire of watching the changing sky, which at night is filled with millions of stars. I've had more time than usual to appreciate this as I managed to catch a miserable cold and so have spent the last few days resting up as I'm sneezing by day and coughing at night - not a good combination!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

I'm watching you

Our standing stone in the garden meets with tabby's approval, so handy for a leaning post when you want to wash!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Puss on the prowl

Despite coming round for a meal each day little tabby had her eye on this female pheasant. She crept round and pounced but the bird lifted itself a couple of feet into the air and landed down just out of reach. After a couple of failed attempts puss walked off and stretched as much as to say 'it was only a game, I could have got her if I'd wanted'!

Monday, 6 October 2014

The pantry

Finally there is progress in the pantry. It now has a worktop and wooden shelves are going in. Dave is giving it all a coat of paint then I can have fun arranging things. I have bought some large glass storage jars to decant my rice and pasta into.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A smart garden

Dave and I spent all day cutting, raking and clearing an enormous amount of grass from the garden. The result is that we are shattered but everything looks wonderful. There is rain forecast for tomorrow (finally) and so we had to complete the task ahead of this which spurred us on. The space appears so much larger now its mown from hedge to hedge.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Lucky I hope!

Walking through the garden I spotted a four and then a five leaf clover. This should bring us luck!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Planting our fig

The fig needs to be planted in a brick and rubble lined hole in order to constrain it so hopefully we end up with figs and not just leaves. I dug the main part of the hole but Dave finished it off for me and added the bricks. Bricks, lime mortar and rubble seem to be what figs need so that's perfect for us.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

An inadequate fig leaf

On Monday in B&Q I spotted a number of cheap plants for clearance and I come home with blackcurrants, redcurrants, a Virginia creeper and a couple of nameless (but in flower) roses. I also spotted a fan trained fig which I returned today to buy. I plan to train it against the barn end. While I was debating whether to buy it, it was suggested that if we fell on hard times and had a fig tree at least we could clothe ourselves (thanks Emily!) However at the moment the leaves are a little on the small side for decency!

Autumn light

The garden was bathed in autumn light this morning. The dahlias are still flowering well, I've let the lettuce bolt and they are flowering too. My coriander is drying and has turned an orangey brown (on the middle right, flanked by the tall lettuce columns). Finally the trees are changing colour and leaves are falling. It has been an amazing long summer and we have been so lucky to be here at the farm to enjoy it.

I can see you

This little squirrel probably ended up with tummy ache: first he ate lots of elder berries and then he had some holly berries, next on the menu were my rose hips and all before I'd had a cup of tea!

Mr Pheasant

My first sight out of the window today was Mr Pheasant waiting to cross the road, this photo was taken once he'd safely reached the other side! Not that he was likely to encounter much traffic, although the hunt met today so there has been a horse and a horse box go by!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The obelisk

The newly sited obelisk is catching the late sun and will make a good focal point for this flower bed. At night my bedtime reading consists of gardening books as I plan what to plant.

A dog's eye view

One of the competitors had assistance from his dog, positioned no doubt to guide his master. Later the dog had jumped off the tractor to greet other canines and was clearly being more of a hindrance than a help!

A happy day

With the glorious sunshine it was hard to believe we were at the beginning of October. I'd planned to wear trousers but was glad I'd swapped to shorts!