Oh dear, once again, I notice the date on our last blog post is three months ago!! How time flies!
Autumn is well and truly here on the smallholding now and we begin to look to Winter, putting some things to bed and giving in to homely and cosy vibes of scented candles and warming fires.
The harvest is largely in now with apples and tomatoes in crates ready to be processed. Apples will keep for a bit longer, cooking with them as we need. I have been making jams and chutneys with the green tomatoes whilst the red ones have been turned into ketchup and tomato sauce for use throughout the year. We have had a super crop of squashes and pumpkins and they are currently curing in our sun room. We look forward to using them throughout the Winter. With temperatures dropping close to frost at night, the polytunnel is now home to winter salads, chard and spinach and a few Christmas potatoes. We are still harvesting plenty of carrots and beetroots and the most resilient of lettuce are growing well outside.
We have now finished with the veg bags; sadly, two weeks ahead of schedule through lack of good quality produce because of all the rain in the last few weeks. After 18 weeks of early mornings, I really enjoyed a little lie-in this week as a celebration of all the hard work that went with producing seasonal, fresh veg and fruit for the veg bags for the last four months.
There is a fair amount of tidying up of perennials to do in the flower borders as decay has now taken hold. Yet, I slow myself down and deliberately leave those plants (and weeds!) with seedheads when I see flocks of birds enjoying them. Our sunflowers are now looking a little sorry for themselves yet blue tits (and our hens) are feasting on the seeds so they will stay a while longer.
We are in the process of planting thousands of Spring bulbs about the place. We have reclaimed one of the fields that the sheep used as an extension to the garden with the polytunnel, an extra pond, two greenhouses and three more veg beds. We will also be planting trees there too. I will post about this new extension in a separate post to show the transformation from a plain field into a productive space for fruit, veg and flowers.
One of our Summer projects was to pain the brickwork on the house. Peter has almost finished it and we love the result. He had repointed the brickwork last Summer but had been unhappy with the finished look, giving it a rough and a little unprofessional appearance. So we decided to paint it with breathable outdoor paint suitable for it, which will also give the brickwork some protection. The bit by the sunroom still needs doing but that will have to paint for warmer and dry weather next year. Peter has also added a back porch to increase insulation. This is not quite finished (Oscar needs a cat flap installed) and the second-hand door needs a good clean and polish.
I leave you with photos of Autumn in our little patch of paradise as an invitation for you to take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. And remember, "Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons" (Jim Bishop). Embrace Autumn for all the riches and wisdoms it offers us.