Sometimes a little too much if I am honest, I am officially sick of picking runner/French beans and patty pan, the trouble is I can’t bear to waste them and so I dutifully keep on harvesting. I have also been busy picking cooking apples and eating apples for storage, the tomatoes keep coming as do the cucumbers although they are getting a little tougher now and I still haven’t harvested the rest of the potatoes yet. My hunter gatherer instincts also kick in this time of year and this morning I have been out to pick rose hips, sloes and elderberries for various ideas for Christmas gifts. Still to collect are walnuts, cobnuts and blackberries although it does not look like a good year for the blackberries as far as I have seen, they appear slightly shrivelled, but none the less it’s good to have some in the freezer.
I have had moments of doubts this week and moments of inspiration, the doubts creep in every now and then and I wonder why I am doing what I do, feeling that family members would prefer to pop down to the local supermarket and get their wares which would save me a lot of hard work, but knowing that it goes much deeper than that for me at least brings me back to my senses. Living off the land albeit in a small way is satisfying and wholesome, I would like to go much further but there is only so much one person can do, I will have to wait for Hubby to retire before I can grow grain to make our own bread and have a house cow for dairy products. The inspiration comes not from myself but from watching The Hairy Bikers, I love a cookery programme but what I love more is watching them tour different countries and being inspired by the local cuisine. Last night I watched them ride through, Lativia and Lithuania and it struck me how far removed we have become from our local produce and recipes in this country. Yes there are small companies/farm shops/smokeries that produce these goods but they have become Artisan (and therefore expensive) instead of a very real way of life, I find this quite sad, I think I was born in the wrong country 😟 although being only human I probably wouldn’t appreciate it if I had been born somewhere like that and would long for the convenience of a bright shinny supermarket 😜. As a compromise I will just keep doing what I do, growing and raising my own food and enjoying it no matter who else doesn’t. Of course I realise I am lucky to be able to live this way, that thought is never far away, but again feel sad that I am the exception rather than the rule!
We have been woken at night on a quite few occasions by screaming, not the locals on the way home from the pub but more excitingly a Barn Owl, it has been right outside our bedroom window. I am hoping that it stays around and maybe even rears some young in our Barn Owl box in the hay barn, that would be the icing on the cake. The swallows have all but gone which signifies the end of summer for me, I look forward to their return next year. I have noticed an increase in butterflies in the last week or so, some that I have had to get the book out to identify, skippers being one group I have never noticed before, also as I stepped out of the door a lovely hawk moth was feeding on the nectar of a shrub nearby. Starlings have been gathering in our tree tops out the back, one morning I went out and there was a terrific noise coming from the tops of the conifers, I looked up to see hundreds of them all chattering, then it suddenly went quiet and woosh they all flew away in unison.
I have made runner bean chutney this week (I had to do something with all those beans) only a few jars though as nobody else eats chutneys. It is one of my favourite chutneys and the longer its left the deeper the flavour, one of these days I will get round to making my own pork pies and that will be a feast fit for a King I’m sure lol. The cooking apple tree has not done as well as previous years, there are lots on there but most of them are very small, I did pick a good bucketful of decent sized ones though of which half will go into storage and the other half I have already processed for the freezer, I made 3 apple pies at the same time for a quick pudding when needed. Although they were small and the eating apples are the same, I was pleased that after my efforts of putting grease bands round the trunks and using codling moth traps they are practically maggot free as were the plums, that is a huge success resulting in much more useable fruit than previous years.
The 2016 seed catalogues have arrived this week, I think that’s much earlier than usual, I suppose they are getting on the same bandwagon as shops flogging Christmas in October and Easter in January, they will meet themselves coming back the other way one of these days! For now I will file them away for mid winter reading and planning, they won’t grow any faster the earlier you order so there is no point in looking at next years produce when this years is still being harvested 😝
The weather looks settled this week until Saturday when the rain is to make an appearance, the temperatures have dropped a fair bit In the evenings and it is time to get Rosie the Rayburn ready for firing up so at the end of the week Hubby will be up on the roof giving the flue a sweep and I will be cleaning out the grates. I will look forward to having the radiators warm, the one convenience I miss is instant and controllable central heating, on the plus side however our wood stash this year is free, that means free hot water and free heating, and you can’t beat Rosie for drying your clothes on the airer over the top and the great slow cooked meals she delivers at the end of the day 😍
Have a great week and enjoy what we have left of the sunshine 😎