All our visitors have now come and gone, along with the sun. It was on with waterproof hat, coat, trousers and boots for the dogs’ morning walk and a muttering of “it’s good for the garden”. Apparently it’s a mast year in the UK which means that the forest trees are producing a lot more fruits and nuts than usual. Well, I don’t know if it’s the same here but I have noticed an abundance of acorns and berries. The wild boar are here again snuffling for roots and fallen nuts, they’ll be happy.
The olives are plump and plentiful too, a far cry for the pathetic crop last year. Somehow it’s got a lot greener quicker this autumn and (foolishly, I know) I found myself looking for signs of the first orchids only to remember it’s autumn not spring! The mild weather has added to the springlike quality I suppose, and the sheep and goats are back in the meadows.
Meanwhile there’s been (and still are) a hundred and one things to keep us busy here (and my father, too!) Jobs include mending, mulching, harvesting, drying, preserving, pruning and transplanting. Not to mention weeding. One task was preparing the fields and coops for new chooks. We feel more farmlike now with two more sets. Our original three hens (four until the mongoose saga) laid very few eggs over the summer as usual (they really hate the heat) but are now very slow to get back on track. We’ve had them three years now and so decided it was time to get reinforcements. Four new weeny cheepy bundles of fluff and feathers have arrived (and yes you three you have a right to look nervous!) along with 12 ‘roasties’ who are plumping up nicely already, thank you.
Sadly the slugs are in abundance too. Never have I seen so many at night (it’s impossible not to stand on them) and the little beggers are still around during the day. Monty Don writes “In one experiment 27,500 slugs were taken from one small garden without a noticeable difference to slug activity. Densities of 200 slugs per square metre are moderate”. The lettuces are now protected by plastic bottles (although some weren’t rescued in time) but I see they have headed towards the later planting of leeks… Twelve strawberry plants were taken from runners in the summer and planted in new beds. They looked great but now look very sorry for themselves. I thought it was just the transplanting but fear now they have verticillium wilt which means I now have to dig them all up 🙁
One success story has been the kale. A bed was put aside for them outside the watering system just to see “how they got on”. They did look rather sorry for themselves in the summer swelter so were given a watering can or two. But yes, now the rain is here they have picked up and huge leaves have grown seemingly overnight and they are flourishing. Good news for the chickens and perhaps some caldo verde for us for lunch.
The fine weather is set to return. No more barbecues methinks but walks in the autumn woods and puddles is something to look forward to. Fingers crossed.