40 Cucumbers!

This morning I have picked 40 of the little blighters, it has been the best year year for cucumbers, I need a bigger outlet for some things I think!

This is the time of year I love the most, fresh mornings with the promise of warmth through the day, I have been getting up early just to enjoy the cold air, an early start also means I can rattle through the feeding then go onto picking. It takes a couple of hours every other day to pick and pack the veg ready for putting out into the shed, but it disappears quicker than anything, especially the runner beans, which is brilliant. This is also the time of year when I start to think about next year, not as premature as you might think, time to assess what grew well, what sold well, what to grow more of next year and where to grow it. The disappointment this year has been the tomatoes and melon in the new tunnel, mostly because we used grow bags instead of planting into the ground, so that is something that will go on the list to change. I also start thinking about what can be grown in the poly tunnel over winter to give us a fresh crop of veg, mostly greens and brassicas, probably a few potatoes and carrots for Christmas time as well.

The hens have started to pick up their laying a little bit, still nowhere near the numbers we were getting before, one of the problems has been the red mite and we decided to bite the bullet and get proper creosote to paint the huts in, the mite do not like the smell and hopefully will stay away, the modern alternatives just do not do the job as well as the old fashioned methods but sometimes you just have to resort to a chemical or two. I have just come in from reassembling the hut that we did, spraying the big hut and shutting them out until we can do that one, I have put out a dust bath with louse powder in and put powder in the nesting boxes, urgh it’s horrible. I burnt the bedding straight away and spray the hut I took apart, I will sort these little buggers if its the last thing I ever do!
The baby quail have been selling well and I now only have four left, I may decide to hatch some more so that there are always a few for sale, they are so easy to keep and look after, no trouble at all. One of my ducks is still trying to nest but she is not setting, so she gets off every day to go and play with the others, this is not much use at all and I need to work out a way to encourage her to stay on, although its a bit late in the year now so that will have to wait until spring I think.

This time of year is also great for tidying up which is what we have been doing, cutting hedges and trimming trees, clearing up anything that has gone over, not too much though there are still seed heads and a few flowers around for the birds and bees. One of the trees we leave until spring is the buddliea, they flowered about a month ago and this weekend you probably could have counted around 200 butterflies of all colours flitting around them, they are big bushes but I was amazed at how much activity was going on.

We are contemplating the idea of glamping in one of the fields, we were considering caravans but the chap up the road has just got permission for fifteen so we thought a different angle might be more suitable to our rustic look. We will spend the winter months researching it and see if it will be viable so watch this space next year.

I have been so busy catching up on jobs that were not done when I was feeling poorly that I have not had time to do any baking or freezing, just the one batch of pickle so far, not that it matters too much as we still have stuff in the freezer from last year, especially plums. The plum harvest looks good again this year, I have been round to check them and see how they are progressing, not quite ready to pick just yet, and the nuts are just beginning to form inside the shell so they will be a few more weeks yet as well.

The cats are very busy catching their own dinner at the minute, there is an abundance of baby rabbits and mice to be had after the harvesting in the fields around us, you can tell when they have a catch they make a noise that sounds like a young child crying, they come wandering up the farm track very proudly with it in their mouths, then leave the entrails lying around for us to step on, still it saves me feeding them for a while. They usually spend all night hunting and then laying around all day in the hay barn so to look at them you would think they were quite lazy, but I can assure you they are doing their job well.

Right, I am off to do some more work while I have the inclination, if anyone has a recipe for cucumbers I would be interested!

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