I am getting as bored of talking about the weather as you are reading and experiencing it I expect, but the sad fact is that it affects everything we do here, apart from watching the TV and even then if it is a downpour the noise on the tin roof means that you have to turn the sound up :p This week I have picked raspberries in the rain, has a catchy ring to it doesn’t it but it was not much fun! I have made two more batches of raspberry jam, both of which have set properly I am glad to say, I did put a couple of punnets out for sale which were snapped up but they have to be quick as they begin to spoil quite quickly because of the high water content. We took drastic measures on the strawberry patch last week, cutting back all the foliage, we were losing so many fruits to botrytis, cutting back means that the air flow can resume and the plants themselves will stand a better chance of recovery and lessen the risk of disease. The new potatoes have also had to be dug up, the ground is saturated and the chances are if we left them the tubers would just rot away which would be an awful shame after all the hard work we have put in. On a better note I have picked the first cucumber of the year, and there lots more forming on the plant, we ate it in a sandwich with cheese as it is not particularly salad weather!
Hubby has been busy this weekend putting up the front fence, we now have a lovely little area that we can plant up and I have ordered the apple tree to plant there to. I decided on plenty of daffodil bulbs and some pretty little blush pink primroses, originally I had decided on yellow primroses for a splash of colour but in the end fell in love with these others and went with my heart 🙂 Hubby has also had to spend a couple of days digging out some drainage, on the Thursday night after 6 and a half hours of nonstop rain, we had a very large puddle out the back which was beginning to run into the dry area in the back stable. Earlier in the day I had moved the chicks from the brooder unit into a cage on the floor, I had to transfer them back to the unit and lift it up off the floor so that they didn’t get wet and cold. The problem is now solved and the water is running away nicely although are left with a big pile of mud that had to be dug out, I am assured that it will be moved as soon as possible, I wont hold my breath though as jobs have a habit of being left for weeks on end here sometimes.
I had a wander round the fields yesterday to see what was happening with the wildlife, there were a few butterflies and bees about but not as many as you would expect to see at this time of year, last year we had small Blue butterflies but I have not seen any sign of them this year at all. The front corner paddock still has a small lake sat there, it is where all the run off water collects, I could hear it gushing down into the land drain quite fast so there is still a lot of water to be got rid of yet. I have at last identified the bird call that we keep hearing at dusk, they are Little Owls, last night I watched them flying around although I could only make out the silhouettes, they live in the tree in the next field to ours and I have wondered what they were for a long time, last night I came in and found a website that has recordings of British bird calls and now the mystery is solved!
The poultry have been an entertaining as ever this last week, the newbies have been roosting in the trees just before dusk which means going out as getting them down and showing them where they are supposed to sleep. Mostly it has been raining when we have had to do this and also very muddy, we went out for a nice meal Friday night came back had to put on wellies and rain coats and work in the dark to get them all in safely. Last night as we were putting them away we clipped their wings one by one, 60 birds later we had finished, I just hope they stay down after that. I have sold a fair few Quail over the last couple of weeks which has left me with a high number of males, they have started fighting and are quite vicious, pecking each others eyes out! I decided to give five males freedom and let them go, but they are back this morning obviously not keen to make it on their own in the big wide world. This will be their downfall as the only other option is to eat them, apparently they taste delicious and are well worth the effort it will take to pluck such a tiny body.
The farming situation is getting desperate now, I have spoken to a couple of arable farmers who say that they cant get the machinery onto the fields to cut any of the crops, they would need at least two weeks of dry weather, one week to dry the ground and hay producers need another week to dry the hay before baling it. I think the options are take the machinery onto the ground and get the crop in but this will render the field useless next year, or not cut the crop at all and pray for some dry days, either way I think the consumer will find that the cost of flour will go up, if not this year then next. As I have said, the ground is waterlogged which means any root crops are also at risk of rotting, together with the lack of sunshine to bring anything on probably means a shortage of English fruit and veg in the coming months, I know a few people have already decided to stock up on frozen veg while it is available.
I am so glad we decided on the poly tunnel this year and just in the nick of time too, it has been so useful I am seriously contemplating buying another. The climate in there is slightly more controllable, although I can’t conjour up sunshine, but the crops are not getting battered by the wind and the rain and it is definitely warmer in there than outside! I have just received the seed potatoes that I will be planting in there, these should give us a crop from around December through to January possibly even February, which will be fantastic. It means we don’t have the problem of trying to store crops throughout the Winter months which can be problematic, trying to get the conditions just right, not too damp, wet, cold etc etc.
I am trying to think of a brighter note to end on and failing miserably! Nope, cant think of anything except Hubby has a fortnight off in August, I think I will plan a few day trips as we are not having a holiday this year, with a bit of luck the Jet Stream will have shifted and we will see more Blue sky but as with the jobs around here, don’t hold your breath 😉