I told you last week that the voles had been at my young lettuce plants; well on Monday when I planted them out in the greenhouse I had a tally-up, and it was worse than I had thought. Of 230 plants, only 90 survived. And once I had removed the lettuces from the staging in the propagating greenhouse they started on the spinach! The caption that is missing from the picture above is ‘big sharp teeth!’ So far 3 voles have been excluded from the crime scene, but I sense that they are queueing up to take the place of their missing comrades. It’s not as if they eat all of the plants that they destroy, because the greenhouse bench was littered with plant matter that they didn’t have the capacity to consume, because their eyes were bigger than their bellies. I am not being helped by the resident farm cat either, which has been conspicuous by its absence recently, preferring to stay in the warm and dry rather than patrolling its beat….lightweight!

The wet weather helped me to focus on clearing the greenhouse and polytunnel of spent summer crops, so there are two batches of chard, and 2 of lettuces in the greenhouse where the tomatoes and cucumbers once were, and half of the polytunnel has kale and spinach growing away for use a little further down the line. I still have three more rows of tomatoes to strip out, but I am going to have to start another compost bin, because the others are piled higher with crop debris than I can comfortably reach. Looking at the forecast, I think that my focus will be maintained for much of the week ahead.

Nellie continues to grow, and why shouldn’t she, she’s still only 10 months old. At this rate she’s going to end up larger than old Dudley was, and that wasn’t what we expected. Medium we said, we’d like a nice medium sized dog this time, because as much as we loved Dud he did get in the way a bit when he stretched out in the kitchen. Jennifer met another dog walker this morning, and during general doggy conversation she told the woman Nellie’s age, whereupon she exclaimed “she’s going to be the size of a pit pony!”. Don’t let on, but I am going to buy Jennifer some jockey silks for Christmas, then she can ride Nell back up the hill from the river.

I had a relaxing work-free day today; this morning I went to look at a ride on mower, with a view to replacing the current one which has packed up on me yet again (I know, it’s sort of work related). I think that it is a good buy, but I didn’t commit to purchasing it, I will probably hum and haw over it until somebody else buys it and then kick myself for not being more decisive. Anyway, I got back home in time to watch the Japan Vs Scotland rugby match, and what a game it was. I’m pleased for the tournament, and for the development of the game that the host nation has done so outstandingly well, upsetting the established order by defeating ‘better’ opposition. Bravo too for those that facilitated the match going ahead, only a day after the devastating cyclone ‘Hagibis’ hit the country. Then this afternoon we went to an exhibition at the Fry Gallery in Saffron Walden, which was a very pleasant way to spend an hour or two.

My quiet day gave my right knee a rest; it has been very uncomfortable recently – no, painful. I’m not sure what to do about it, because the specialist in Bury washed his hands of me, telling me that there was really nothing wrong with it. Perhaps it’s time to go the alternative route and seek the opinion of an osteopath, it’s worth a try. Any other suggestions will be gratefully received.

So this week there is broccoli and cavolo nero kale, and I also have some chard. Red peppers continue to ripen, as do the chilli peppers, then there is beetroot, swede, parsnips and carrots. I’ve got some loose-leaf green lettuces growing outside that I am going to cut before they spoil, they are not huge, but neither are they tiny. I will be picking sweetcorn again this week too. The squash are small Uchiki Kuri. Eating apples will be a bit of a mix this week, there are lemons (many with a fair bit of green on them), and Kiwi fruit, which will benefit from a few days in your fruit bowl before consumption – a consequence of them being the first of the new Italian season. I collected the first of this season’s apple juice last week, and it’s rather good. This first batch is definitely a medium juice rather than medium/dry, and it has good ‘body’. This year it is presented in clear bottles, which really shows off the juice nicely. It’s just a shame that the apple harvest that been so poor this year.

Okay, that’s me done, have a lovely week, oh and please remember to return your veg boxes for reuse; they are expensive for me to buy so let’s make them last for as long as we can. Thank you.

Phil

 

 

 

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