Friday, 24 October 2014

The Yaffle's back

      Well, he's back, digging away in the front lawn for goodness knows what, although we suspect he's after worms.
      When we investigated where he was beaking and drilling into the grass we found holes about two inches in diameter and around three inches deep, maybe he sucks up the ants that always seem to be in the lawn because we have never seen a worm in his or her beak.
      Not to worry though he's a welcome visitor and being a Boro fan I love the red stripe on his head.
      That apart the camouflage isn't bad either.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The big nuts are back in town

      On the left a 'normal' walnut and on the right a 'double' walnut, almost a walnut that does weightlifting or takes steroids you could say.
      Our walnut loving Jack Russell found it while we were out on the evening walk and there wasn't a tree within five hundred yards. The crows, rooks and jays carry them away in their beaks and some get dropped around the countryside and you can see why with the size of the nut on the right.
      I wish the little terrier would find the tree that produces these beauties.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Pumpkin front

      It's that time of year again, pumpkin harvesting time, and because of the heavy rain the fields look like a battlefield and in turn, the roads look like they're a field of mud.
      Prior to this potatoes have been harvested and a great amount of sugar beet too and mercifully they were harvested in relatively dry conditions, so no mud in the fields and no great mess on the roads.
      Here are two views of one of the pumpkin fields, at the top a more picturesque postcard kind of view and below the grim reality of the filthy job that it is. However the pumpkins are not all for Halloween, a local farmer told us that the pulp is used to bulk out jam and to put added fibre into industrially produced pies. It is also added to some pet foods for the same reason. 
      I'm sure some of the hired labour will be lost forever in that mud bath but at least the orange relieves the brown of the mud.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Clouds on the horizon

      A day of storms, real downpours that yielded half an inch of rain in half an hour and some really noisy thunder with pyrotechnics from the lightning. The clouds were absolutely huge and you could hear and see the storms coming when they were miles away, the effect of their ferocity was enhanced by the large patches of clear blue sky between them.

      By the time evening arrived the weather had quietened down. The wind had dropped to the faintest breeze and the nuclear sunset was building up quite nicely.
      A few more clouds would have made the sunset just that little bit more spectacular but you can't have everything.
      Mind you we'd had almost every kind weather during the day.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Wild breakfast

      One of the terriers, Minnow to be precise, found this rather fine field mushroom when she was rummaging about in the orchard.
      As soon as the interest was spotted we were in with a few slug pellets to keep the little blighters at bay. A jar is kept in the fork of an old apple tree for these occasions, and an old tomato tray was placed on top to keep it dark and protected from any other predators.
      Twenty four hours later and patience brings a lovely reward, an absolutely mint field mushroom. Now that really is a treat to look forward too.
      I wonder if a Jack Russell can sniff out truffles?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Jalapeños, the last of the heat

      The last crop of chillies, the Jalapeños, are harvested so summer, even the Indian summer, is officially over. The boss intends to make Jalapeño sauce, Jalapeño chilli relish and pickled Jalapeños.
      I must say that all sounds good to me.
      The balance will be frozen because, apparently, they keep really well in the freezer and if we don't try it we'll never know.  They're all about two to two and a half inches long and as crisp as you like.
      Here's the first batch of pickled Jalapeños.
      Can't wait to test them.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sunrise and half an hour later

      There I was, up before the dawn, kettle on and the day looked quite promising. There was a little bit of mist in air but nothing that looked like it would develop into any thing too severe, but had I looked carefully over the conifers I would have seen the fog rolling towards the house.

      Before you had chance to realise what was happening it was fog in the Nissen Hut, fog in the dykes, fog in the poplars and fog in the orchards to paraphrase Charles Dickens' opening lines in Bleak House.
      Certainly not the kind of weather you would want to meet on the motorway.
      We love a good fog for the atmosphere and the silence it creates, the way it changes everything around you. You can hear the rooks but you can't see them, water drips and it's not raining and if there is such a thing as a Victorian atmosphere, this is it, all that's missing is the gaslight.
      Now, where are those terriers.