Monday, 1 October 2018

Countdown to winter

A winking Aggie and Josefs
I know, I know. Summer has only just finished about a week ago and now I'm talking about winter. The trouble is once the chill sets in there is a limited amount of time and a lot to do. I wish I could say all the potatoes are in, especially since the middle of my upper back is protesting slightly, but they are not. The ache in my back is nothing too bad, just stiff and I can't quite get comfy. Still only another row left to do and the weather was glorious today - if a tad cool at times. The squashes were all picked this week too, as were the tall beans and some of the short beans. Slowly, step by step the garden is being wrapped up for winter. I even got some more herbs in to dry. Normally that would have been finished ages ago but it has been a funny year, weather wise. My lavender is flowering now, when usually I would expect it to have gone over long ago.
I tried some new corn this year. They are glass gem
corn and there is a bit of a story behind it. You can see
it here - link. Quite different.

My beans were new too and I was a little surprised to find out
they were blue spotted beans. I was expecting them to be purple

Not many carrots germinated this
year due to the drought, but the
ones that did are huge. Some have
suffered with splitting though but
I'm surprised to get this much.

On a mission. That's me in the background. The beds in front
had squashes in
I have done other winter preparation jobs too this week. I sorted out the greenhouse, so that it is nearly ready for the chickens to go in. They have to go in this next week before I go away to the UK, otherwise they would be out there until November in the cold and damp and Ian wouldn't be able to move them on his own. At least in the greenhouse they will be on a deep bed of hay or something like that. We are gradually moving them nearer to the greenhouse so we don't have as far to cart them when the time comes for them to go in. Not long ago I shifted a wood pile into the horse box that Ian had chopped and stacked for drying earlier in the year. This week we re-stacked it in the basement at the apartment and the rest of it in the outside wood store we have there, ready for the winter heating season.
That's a lot of squash plants.
Still on a mission. I am clearing out the old cardboard and
laying it down on the beds that will have alpaca manure piled
on it over winter to make our new potato beds for next year.
Despite the drought the manured beds worked a treat. The
potatoes grew well in it, but not as well under the straw. On
one bed we didn't have time to put manure down and so I
used straw. That bed was weedier and I got one bucket out
of the first 2/3rds of the bed and one bucket from the remaining
third where there was manure.

The wood stack is now empty and waiting for the next load to
be chopped and stacked over winter
So the new shelves are on the top with the sacks of fleece.
Now Ian can get to the shelves underneath
Ian meanwhile has spent much of the time in the barn, constructing shelves to store wood and generally tidying up. The problem has been that we have had that much stored in there that we can't get to, that it didn't get used. Now it is much more organised. Along with solving the storage issue he has been finishing of the newest alpaca house by making and hanging some doors ready for the new girls coming from Sweden later on this week.
More shelves on this side too

We had some rough weather over this last week, so we
covered the horse box as best we could. It is amazing what
can be achieved with tarpaulins, baler twine and towing straps.
Mind you, the place looks a bit like a junk yard. 
I even had time to do some writing. Well actually it was a case of I had to do some writing to finish off the paper that I had to unexpectedly re-submit. I mentioned it last week in the blog. The good news is that it is now re-submitted so I hope I don't have to wait absolutely ages to find out the result of that re-submission. While I was on a roll I also started on an abstract for a conference. I have to do two before the end of the month but would like to get them out of the way this week. The problem is that potato picking got in the way, so it is not finished. I was quite pleased with the title "The dirt under my fingernails and a cup of tea: A story of relationship and embeddedness." Well my supervisor loved the story, but didn't think it was entirely suitable and had some comments on the content. I shall get back to that soon as I think with a bit of tweaking I can allay his worries about it. Maybe!
It doens't help with this around. This is our replacement
vehicle. Our car is in the garage for bodywork repairs. 
Major excitement! We had a puddle in our pond. It didn't last

These ones lasted though. It's a good job we relocated the
fish though.

These are our enormous cranberries. The small one at the
bottom is actually a reasonable size cranberry under normal
conditions. The other ones are like little crab apple size.
Gradually I have also been getting my thesis sorted, at least the notes, to start the actual writing process. Once I have all the notes written, then I will do my usual trick of printing it all out, cutting it up into short paragraphs and then rearranging it on the floor. Not the most eco-friendly way of doing it, but it is the only way I can visualise it and get it to make sense. It means I can group bits together better as it is only by seeing the whole of it that the structure comes together.
I'm sure Aggie is having a laugh

Josefs has such long eyebrow hairs
So little by little we are getting ready. There was a bit of a scare earlier on in the week when we thought we might have heard geese flying overhead, but if it was, it was only a small group and not the huge numbers we see when we know that winter is definitely on the way. We keep seeing some swans and still the occasional flock of cranes, but geese - no!. Phew! So winter is not arriving very soon.
Mari in contemplative mood

A curious Jakobs

The boys on their well eaten paddock. Probably do them some
good, some of them got quite portly.

So pleased to see that Herkules is finally well again. His skin
has all healed up.



Freddie - he always looks like he needs a good hug

Glorious colours

The raspberries are still hanging on in there after the frosts
but haven't got around to picking any just lately

The mallow is still flowering away

First time we actually have hops

Michaelmas daisies


Reminds me of the colours in Botswana Agate

Quite an amazing skyscape.


  1. It amazes me that you find time to write when there is always so much to do on the land. I love those corn kernels- they are like little jewels

    1. I don't think I'm any busier than you are :) Sometimes it is hard, but it then provides a chronicle we can look back on and remind ourselves of how far we have come and that spurs me on.


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