No complaints about the weather from me this week, it has been lovely most days, and nice clear nights to view last week’s Harvest moon. I took the telescope outside to have a good look at the full face of the moon, but it was actually too bright to pick out much of the detail, I need to get a moon filter to reduce the glare…..something else to go on my list to Father Christmas.
We had a couple of light frosts, but nothing severe enough to cause any damage. As we move into October the temperature looks like being much closer to where it would normally be for this time of the year, which is fine by me. A drop of rain wouldn’t go amiss, but it’s not desperately needed, and being dry makes the big autumn clear-up so much easier; not to mention apple picking, which is distinctly unpleasant when rain is running down your neck and up your sleeves!
It was 4 years ago today that I did the first big pick of the orchard at Moyns Park, with the assistance of Francis, my loaned intern from the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket. I heard from Francis a few months ago, he is still involved in horticulture, working for a charity, Clinks Care Farm near Beccles. Anyway, this week will see the main apple pick of this season, with most of the fruit being whisked off to Battisford to be pressed into juice, though I will keep some back for fresh sales. There will be another harvest in a month or so, of the later maturing varieties, such as D’Arcy Spice and Sturmer Pippin.
The end of the month heralds the demise, or the near demise, of some of the summer crops; runner beans have packed up, courgettes have almost packed up, it could be the last week of tomatoes, and there are just a few sweetcorn left. Red peppers are ok for this week, and there are ‘Lemon Drop’ chilli peppers, I will be cutting ‘Little Gem’ lettuces, Swiss Chard, pulling beetroot and turnips. There will also be broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, onions, carrots, leeks and potatoes. Patty Pan and Spaghetti squash continue to fruit. There are cooking and eating apples.
The time of transition is now apparent in the greenhouse, because one bed is now filled with frisee endive, whilst another has spring cabbage, and a third has two-week old rocket salad growing in it. The remaining two beds will have winter lettuce and spinach growing in them once the peppers have finished. The polytunnel will have cabbages, spinach, lettuce, land cress, parsley and oriental greens growing in it over the winter, but a huge clearance has to take place in there before I can plant it up.
Some of you may have seen my Facebook post of last Thursday, in which case this is old news, but for those that don’t get involved in all that social media nonsense I will retell my tale. As I was going down to the bottom part of the garden to pick kale and sweetcorn, the sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue, and beside me, the hedge that separates the garden from the orchard was absolutely humming with insect activity. I spotted honey bees, bumblebees, wasps, butterflies, hornets, flies, ladybirds and hoverflies, and what was sending them into raptures of delight was the ivy blossom that is woven into the mixed hedge. I took a few photos with my phone camera, but it doesn’t have a fast enough shutter speed to capture really crisp pictures, because the creatures are always on the move. A couple of days earlier in the week I saw a Clouded Yellow butterfly in the garden; in fact I saw 2, but it could have been the same one twice. I had to look it up on my wallchart in the potting shed, because I had never seen one before; they migrate here, originating in North Africa and Southern Europe. I tried to snap it, but it wouldn’t stay still for long enough.
Daphne, one of our original hens, died in my arms last Monday morning. She hadn’t been well for a while, and when I let the girls out that morning she was laying by the door of the coop looking very poorly. I lifted her out and gave her a cuddle and a stroke, I then put her down on the grass near the feeder, but she just slumped on the ground. I picked her up again and stroked her head, she closed her eyes, let out an audible long last breath, and sunk down in my arms. I know that they are only silly old chickens, but they do have personalities, and she was a bit of a character; it was a very sad moment.
I have an appointment tomorrow morning to see the orthopaedic surgeon to talk over the results of my last MRI scan. The scan was taken of my right knee, but sod’s law dictates that it’s my left one that is really giving me trouble at the moment. I suspect that I have come to the end of the road in terms of medical interventions, because arthroscopy is one of the procedures that was recently talked about being withdrawn as part of a NHS cost cutting exercise. Could it be that my tap dancing days are at an end? “Listen to the rain on the roof go pit-pitty-pat”. By the way, if you haven’t watched ‘Paddington 2’ you really should, if only to watch Hugh Grant do a rendition of this song during the closing credits, it’s priceless. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43ffbygaMRU
Have a fun packed week