The much predicted cold snap duly arrived on Friday afternoon, and it somehow felt right. After all, it is very nearly November, so it’s appropriate that we are exposed to some proper seasonal conditions; and it also provided the perfect justification for lighting the woodburner at home for the first time this season. It provides a lovely focal point in the room, and creates a cosy ambience, but it is really difficult to control the heat output of the blinking thing, so invariably I end up getting somewhat tetchy when the room overheats. I seem to have a lot in common with Goldilocks. To be fair, it doesn’t take much to send me into a grump, but it means that the aforementioned ambience is wasted on me, and spoiled for the rest of the household by my transformation into Father Bear.

I took Dudley to work this morning, and we went for a lovely walk through the woods down beyond the orchard. We were accompanied throughout our stroll by the bass tones of stags in the woods, engaged in the annual rut. Imagine Paul Robeson singing Ole Man River, but instead of the lyrics he is making throaty pig-like grunting sounds; that’s how the woods resonated. I did catch a glimpse of one of the beasts amongst the trees, and when we were walking along a field margin a doe sprung out of the hedge and bounded across the field and headed for another stand of trees. The sun was shining, the hedges were still clinging on to their bounty of hips, haws and sloes, and I had my best boy at my side; what could be better?

I saw the ‘Reeves’ pheasant again last week for the first time since it ran alongside the van down the drive like ‘Roadrunner’ back in the early spring. on my way back from the market yesterday, above Hundon, as I headed down towards Clare, I had a great view of a Red Kite as it drifted across the road just above me. And today as we walked back up through the orchard I spotted my first Fieldfare of the season.

Meanwhile, back at home, it’s official…..Beryl is Barry! Beryl was one of our point of lay hens that we procured 3 weeks ago, but you will have gathered over the past couple of weeks, I have had my suspicions as to the gender of this fine looking bird. Well Beryl is now crowing on a regular basis, and it’s a proper ‘cock-a-doodle-do’ cry. Plus, it looks like a cockerel, and exhibits all of the traits of one. He is very attentive and well mannered around his girls, and keeps a close eye on them at all times as they forage around the garden. The thing is, we really didn’t want a cockerel, and the woman that we bought him from has agreed to replace him, but said that he would be destroyed if we took him back; so if anyone out there would like to give him a good home please let me know. I know that it’s daft, but we don’t want to pass him on for him to end up in the cooking pot. This is him below; email me or call me if you can give Barry a home.

The vegetable situation this week is as follows. There will be beetroot, turnips, leeks, carrots, onions – brown and red, Milva, Alouette and baking potatoes, mushrooms, bags of mixed salad, cooking and eating apples, kiwi fruit, garlic, perpetual spinach, Swiss chard, cavalo nero kale and broccoli. There are green tomatoes for frying or chutney making. I will be digging Jerusalem Artichokes for the first time this autumn too. The apple juice is now more ‘medium/sweet’ rather than the sweet ‘Discovery’ juice.

I’m going to bring this to an early conclusion now, because I feel a bit jet lagged on account of the change to GMT; that and the crazy heat in here, which is very soporific……..zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Have a great week




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