This is Gordon, he usually lives in our car (bizarre I know but we bought it from a dealer called Gordon Lamb and so when the car arrived so did Gordon Lamb). I didn't want Gordon to go back when the car was serviced today so he came and sat indoors instead, but when I came to take his photo (as you do) I noticed he ONLY HAD ONE EYE. Dave regularly hoovers the car so I think the original is probably long gone and I'll have to make Gordon a new one.
Today I had my first Christmas present! My sister sent me a 'stitchalong' project where you create a new square each week until Christmas! Below it is a photo of my effort so far from our Gathering Threads summer school, we created fabric postcards and although you could incorporate a stamp I used this one from Malawi to inspire my colour scheme. This is still a work in progress as I didn't quite finish it on the day itself! (There are getting to be quite a number of W'sIP now as they have to compete with gardening time).
Along with the mists we certainly have 'mellow fruitfulness'. The squash are doing really well and this is definitely our best year for all the fruit including our apples. Each day now we are enjoying the bright red Discovery's, flushed red all through the flesh.
I went to photograph our sunflower which is just starting to open, it was planted for a competition organised by Retherm who installed our ground source heat pump (we knew we wouldn't win the tallest so I put it behind Mr Scarecrow hoping we could devise a caption to submit for the funniest comment). The robin obviously felt that I must have been coming to photograph him and duly took up his position centre hat!
Dave looks anything but at ease as he paints the downpipes (again). They were carefully primed and painted with a very expensive product before we put them up, so to be re-doing them in under four years is rather frustrating, and this time of course it means climbing a very long way up the ladder!
Just as we were sitting out admiring the sight of others working and enjoying the relative peace as the combine team moved to more distant fields we saw ... could it be ... yes the hare was darting from bale to bale (when he could have had all our lush grass to enjoy in safety).
A day out today and we drove to just outside Dovedale for the Sheepdog Trials. Unfortunately it was incredibly misty and the start was much delayed with dogs eventually working a shortened course, despite this some couldn't find the sheep and returned to base. Eventually the weather improved a bit and we could finally appreciate the wonderful scenery of the Peak District that surrounded us.
Not all guests are welcome at Hill Farm: last year there was plenty of mole activity out in the big field but in the last couple of weeks we've sighted mole hills in our garden ... this is not good news for us or them, if only they'd choose somewhere else to be on our land they could dig away in peace. Maybe puss could add 'mole' to her usual 'vole' diet.
The clouds tonight were lit pink by the setting sun and they formed and re-formed into a series of animal shapes, the top one looked very dog like but by the time I'd grabbed the camera it was already re-forming into something else!
This morning our guests wanted a lie in and so I had a lazy start, taking my cup of tea outside I noticed that we had two hot air balloons getting ever closer. They eventually landed just the other side of the hill, if only they'd pre-booked they could have had the 'Full Derbyshire'!
Despite it only being the middle of August there are already heavy early morning dews and we watch the combine making its way up and down the fields opposite. I heard geese calling as they flew over and already the hawthorn berries have turned red.
We see a lot of buzzards here but this I think is a young sparrowhawk on the electricity pole over by the far hedge, he has just landed after causing a great deal of commotion amongst the circling house martins. I know that sparrowhawks have been taking little birds from our neighbours bird feeder.
I went into the dairy building (which we use like a garden shed) to retrieve a marker pen and found to my amazement that also up on the shelf my amaryllis was fully in flower. I put the bulb in there to dry off after Christmas and its had no water and little light for the last eight months but despite that has produced two beautiful flowers.
Happiness is sitting in the sunshine and enjoying our wonderful views with a glass of wine! A few days spent with my brother and his wife who came to visit us with Harry (who comes complete with his own camper van to stay in!)
The house martins baffle us, unlike the swallows they don't nest here but for a few days each summer they gather at Hill Farm in huge numbers, flying around the buildings and sitting, chattering on the roof. They have white undersides but generally it is their chattering and large numbers that distinguish them from the swallows. Tonight it's sunny and we sit out and watch the thrilling aerial display.
I've purple hands from blackberry-ing but have collected several pounds of them for use in crumbles, some now and some safely stored in the freezer. This is the best year for them that we've seen here at the farm. The earlier ones were rather pippy but these are much nicer.
I am pleased that my agapanthus have survived for another year and are now in flower. I love their airy structure but actually they seem surprisingly robust. I have had fun including them in various embroidery projects this year.
It amazes me that the butterflies get so much nectar from such insignificant flowers as these, although I guess there are an awful lot of them! Look carefully and you'll see that although their colouring is similar we've three species here: red admiral, small tortoiseshell and peacock.