How do you turn a pumpkin into a splendid coach?

Well it’s Monday again and I have been a bit intermittent with the blogging so I need to get back on track if only to remind myself of where I am at!

After weeks of not being able to do much, I am on the road to recovery and of course raring to get at all the jobs that have been left, I need to pace myself though as I will be in danger of burning myself out, so a good idea to take some time to sit down and blog to you all.

We spent the weekend in Wales visiting Dad and it was a lovely restful time, the lush green valleys are peaceful and the weather was not bad this time. I noticed a complete contrast when we got back over the border, the green fields become gold and the activity of harvesting is well underway here, combines and tractors full of seed are on every road doing their best to get it all in and feed the masses. I have spent most of the morning picking veg, there was plenty to put out for sale, the runner beans have at last become long enough to pick, I have purple sprouting, French beans, courgettes, tomatoes and the biggest pile of cucumbers again! I was chuffed to find just one single pear on the tree we planted about three years ago, everything comes to those that wait as they they say. The plum trees are laden and we had a discussion about trying to get to the greengages before the birds and wasps, because they are so incredibly sweet, nature is far more aware of the ripeness of them before we are and it is a race to see who notices first.

Our eldest daughter and her boyfriend looked after the farm while we were away, I was very thankful to see that they had done a good few jobs for us, strimming, mowing, and servicing the tractor, brilliant, thanks guys the front entrance looks so much better without all the weeds!

The second round of jobs on my list today was to clean out the chickens, well a couple of the runs anyway, not quite up to doing them all in one hit yet. The gold laced orpingtons were my first target and although I sprayed the hut before going away the red mite are still rife, this is not good news, they are proving so difficult to control this Summer. One of the hens died last week, partly because they had been brooding for a while and that saps all their energy especially if like mine they won’t eat or drink for nearly three weeks, and partly because the mites are staging a second attack on their blood supply! Mites come out at night from the dark crevices and suck the blood from the chickens so keeping them under control is vital, I dispute the fact the you can completely eradicate them as they can be dormant for months. I know they are rife because you can see them crawling up the bucket to which I emptied the old nesting material into, so I promptly burnt all the bedding and then had to spray the hut again, as well as my shoes and the cleaning equipment. I looked on my sleeve and they were crawling up my arm, I am still itching now, I bet you are too, glad I am back aren’t ya lol!

When you see something everyday you don’t notice the change in it or them but having been away for a couple of days I noticed that the lambs have got quite big now, I was beginning to think they were stunted but thankfully not, I suppose measuring them against the two older ewes does not help much as they are always going to be smaller! Looking at them now it won’t be long before we are making preparations for their final journey, the idea is to wind down as much as possible for the Winter months, we may have a great winter but experience has taught us to prepare for the worst and anything better than that is a bonus. The chicken numbers will also be reduced by then and the plan is to have just two pens to look after instead of seven, sounds like a good plan to me. The chickens are still not laying enough eggs, it didn’t take long for them to go off lay but it sure is taking ages for them to come back, just three weeks ago we had around sixteen dozen eggs sitting on the side and now we are barely picking up a dozen a day, come on girls, pull your fingers out we have desperate customers!

As mentioned I have an abundance of cucumbers if you want any, there are dozens more coming along behind them as well, Dad was telling me about cucumber gin, might have to give it a go. The pumpkins are enormous too ( quick muse: if only i knew how to turn them into coaches) as are the spaghetti squash, they have all obviously loved the weather patterns more than we have, I am not quite sure why we worry so much about getting the planting in and cosseting them, they seem to have taken care of themselves very well!

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