May felt properly like summer, and we spent a lot of time outside. The garden is starting to take shape.
The veg patch
The big project for the month was to create a veg patch, fenced in to keep chickens (and hares and sheep) out, and easy to maintain, ultimately with a no dig system.
I picked a spot, nine metres by nine metres, in the sunniest part of the garden, and we put up a fence.
It's pretty exposed, and having this area fenced in also gives us the option of adding wind proof fabric round the outside while our edible windbreak establishes.
Over the course of the month, popping out for a few hours each evening, we cleared the grass and edged the beds with stone.
This has been a lovely project - not too arduous, and we could just do little bits, half an hour here and there, and could easily see the progress we were making.
As each bed was edged, I filled it with mulch, mostly home made compost. Not all the beds have compost underneath, as I didn't have enough.
We wondered whether to buy in either gravel or wood chip for the paths, but have settled on a longer-term (and cheaper) option of producing it ourselves. We acquired a garden shredder from Freegle a while back which we'd not used, so that was pressed into service. We don't have many trees here, but we're collecting branches when we can, and we'll do a bit of pruning in the coming weeks, and slowly we'll amass enough to cover the paths.
June's job is to finish placing the stones round the beds and round the outside of the fence, get everything mulched, and fit gates to keep the chickens out. They won't be impressed.
May was the month that most of my seedlings got properly started - rather late for those in warmer climes but pretty usual for us up here (especially with my lazy sowing habits).
By the end of the month, the greenhouse was starting to look rather full, and several plants like they might eventually be able to survive outside.
We had plenty of apple blossom this year, and it didn't get blown away, so I have my fingers crossed for a decent crop.
I finally got round to buying some paint pens for drawing on stone, and created some extremely cheerful plant labels so I can remember what's what.
May has mostly been filled with sunshine, but we didn't have our last frost until the 14th, and there have been some epic winds, and even a dramatic thunderstorm.
Between all that, I was quite glad all my seedlings were still in the greenhouse (in fact today is the first day I've started acclimatising some of them to outside - and now we're in the middle of a downpour).
Clearing the drains
I mentioned this in my last post - towards the start of May the farmer noticed that part of our field was rather lush and there was a suspicious whiff... He kindly loaned us his bag of rods, and used his digger to find our pipe (which I was VERY grateful for - how long would I have had to dig to find that by hand??)
As it turned out, most of the pipe was blocked, so we stood at the end pushing rods into it until eventually we got to the other side of the blockage, and first thick black gunge, and then water, came gushing out.
Once it was flowing freely again, we pulled the rods out, all still connected, so we could see how much pipe we'd had to unblock. It was quite a lot.
It's a strange business, doing something like this. I've unblocked the u-bend under the sink, and the drain outside the kitchen, by hand, but faced with a blocked septic outflow pipe I confess even my first thought was 'how much is that going to cost to sort out?' But our farmer neighbour (thank goodness) is far more experienced than me and explained what we needed to do, and gave us some rods, and once we got going, it was indeed pretty straightforward. We'll definitely keep an eye on it from now on though - I don't really want to have to unblock it too often.
There's not much else to report for May on the homestead. There's still no progress on the kitchen, although we have at least laid some tools out now, which I suppose is a start.
The weather was far too nice for most of May to want to be inside much, and our local DIY shop was closed for much of the time anyway. I suppose we'll have to turn our attention back to it at some point though - we've been using our little temporary kitchen space for eight months now, and the novelty has very much worn off.
So by the end of June, I'd like to have the veg patch finished, and much of the seedlings planted out. I want to sort out the edible windbreak area, which is looking extremely overgrown. It would be good to make some progress inside - although now we're allowed to see people again we'll have less time I imagine. And who knows what will have happened in the world by the end of June?
I've finally made a start on growing some veg.
Somehow I never quite get round to sowing seeds until the end of April, and that does feel quite late, but we're pretty exposed up here on the hillside so I tell myself I'm not too far behind.
For the last couple of years, I've been trying to use up some of the stash of seeds I've acquired rather than too many new. Last year I got sidetracked (by what? I can't even remember) and barely grew anything, but this year I've got several things on the go and am determined to make at least some of them work. Those above are rainbow chard and curly kale, and I've also sowed leeks, beetroot, and turnips.
These are my stash from the Heritage Seed Library membership my sister bought for my birthday. They're all in now except for the carrots. I've not grown carrots before and have in my head they're rather picky, so I'm going to sow them directly into large pots I think, rather than our pretty heavy soil.
I need to work on my recording system - these photographs are the only current record I have of which seeds are which, and if I start moving trays round or repotting I'll have no idea. I think I can sense a 'garden organisation' project coming on next winter...
Also in the greenhouse is the fig tree that was also part of my birthday present from my sister. I'm hoping I don't kill it. I've now fitted plastic replacements for the three glass panels that broke, so it's nice and warm in there. Fingers crossed.
Outside the greenhouse, I'm preparing the beds. The first year we were here I tried to grow food up in the corner of the meadow, and where the edible windbreak is now. Last year I made beds in the garden area (but then never really planted much in them). This year I'm making more of an effort.
I've laid out a square where the old beds were, and surrounded it with chicken wire. We'll have a gate on two of the corners (for easy access from both the house and garden seating area, and from the greenhouse and water butt), but these will be kept closed once the plants are in to keep out the chickens, and also hares, rabbits, and occasional stray sheep.
The fence is just chicken wire, but if necessary we can always attach wind barrier fabric to create a bit more shelter. I'm not planning to do that just yet, but we'll see.
I'm very much a fan of no dig gardening (not least because it involves me not having to dig), and ideally I would have created this area last autumn and mulched the whole lot, and now be looking at nice rich soil.
Sadly, I didn't, and I'm looking at a thick thatch of grass and dandelions. So we're taking the grass off and removing most of the roots, but not doing any kind of deep digging. You'd think the chickens would be a help at this stage, and they do a little bit of scratching, but mostly they just stand with their heads exactly where you want to put the fork, so the whole thing proceeds rather slowly when they're around.
Still, we are making some progress, with two beds cleared now, the fence finished (no gates yet), and stones put round part of the outside to block the gap between the fence and the ground.
I'll put stones round the edges of the beds too once we've cleared them (not for any good reason other than distinguishing them from the path, and because we have a lot of stones), and I'll top dress with some mulch of whatever kind I can find or make (compost, wood chippings, old hay etc).
It feels good to have a dedicated space to grow food, and I'm currently thinking of it a bit like a mini allotment out in the garden. I've got some flowers growing in various tubs that I'm going to plant in here too, and some herbs. I might try to grow sweet peas up one fence, and actual peas up another. I'm looking forward to having a defined growing space that I can (hopefully) keep in some kind of order, and I'm also hoping that keeping the chickens out, at least until the plants are bigger, will mean that things have a chance to grow without interference.
As always though, we'll see.
I've not done anything crafty for a while, so when we decided to hold a virtual Easter egg hunt for my nephews, I took the opportunity for a bit of crafty messing around.
Have you blown eggs before? I don't think I have, and it was harder than I thought. Still, eventually they were all done, and an omelette and a sponge cake made with the leftovers, and a skewered them all ready for decorating.
How to decorate though? I stumbled across a tutorial for marbling using nail varnish - I've not linked to it because I can't find the actual one I used, and there are plenty of them out there. First, assemble your nail varnish (is it just me who attracts old pots of nail varnish in colours I swear I never bought).
Next, take over the entire tiny temporary kitchen with your paraphernalia.
The process itself is quite simple. Tray of cold water, and nail varnish. You have to move quickly - the nail varnish sets within a couple of seconds. Drop it onto the water, quickly swirl, then dunk your egg.
I think in the tutorial I saw, only the front half of the egg was dipped - I tried to coat the whole thing, which was far more difficult.
The first couple I did weren't great. The nail varnish was setting too quickly, and the colours were too pale to show up properly on a brown egg.
Once I got the hang of it though, and found some more vibrant colours, things improved. Metallic seemed to work well, but not glittery - the glitter made it too heavy on the water and it just sank.
I was pretty pleased with the final results, although my hands were a mess.
Six small eggs is not quite enough for an egg hunt, but I'd had my fill of marbling, so decided to try something a bit more straightforward, and paint some cardboard egg shapes. I found a tray of old children's paints in a drawer (why do I have those?) and set myself up in the garden. After a ropey start (I'm no artist) I remembered Peter bought me a book about how to paint roses and castles, as in traditional narrowboat art.
It's actually more straightforward than it looks, although I struggled to get the required swoops and swirls with my dried up paints and cheap brushes.
I fared a bit better with my castles.
Overall I was pretty pleased with my efforts after my initial uninspired start.
Our virtual egg hunt was fun, and later in the afternoon we found ourselves on a real egg hunt - our ladies have found a new, exciting laying spot. Can I take you to the back of the lean-to, where the hay bales have all fallen in an undignified heap?
Yes, it seems the ladies have been scaling the dizzy heights of that bale, and laying in a little depression in the top.
It's probably a pretty good vantage point up there (although there are better views than the inside of this outbuilding, which is full of furniture and garden tools). Finding an egg round here is pretty impossible though - the only way we manage it is by first following the clucking chicken...
Clearly there's been a whole lot more on the homestead than I intended in March. Between strikes and the pandemic I spent ONE day physically at work in March, and even that wasn't in my own office.
I'm very fortunate that it's been pretty easy for me to switch to working full time from home. I've worked a couple of days a week from home for years, so I'm already set up, and after an initial flurry of messing around, the work itself is all set up too. I did find after a week and a half that my shoulders and back were getting rather sore from sitting in the same office chair all day every day, so I had a good clear out in the study and created myself a standing desk.
Since we've been spending more time at home, we've also done a bit more clearing of other rooms - I finally tackled this dreadful mess that had accumulated around my chair in the living room.
What a tip! It's all been pulled out and sorted, and there's been a thorough hoovering and cleaning of the whole thing (although it seems I didn't take an 'after' picture).
Now the weather is warmer, the evenings are longer, and there's nowhere else to go, we're getting on with some outside jobs too. More progress on the compost bin I've been building (on and off) since January.
I was all ready to declare it finished at this point, but Peter convinced me that we should raise it off the ground (yawn) so we made a start at the end of March, and I've finally finished it this weekend and painted it (but that was April so photos of the finished thing will have to wait!)
We've also been tackling some of those 'really should do something about that' jobs this month. We finally took our giant rubbish pile to the tip (before they closed), and I shifted a pile of mud that's been outside our gate for months - with a little help from the chickens of course.
Speaking of chickens, poor old Mildred is ill. She started looking a bit slow last week, and her comb (a good indicator of chicken health) looking a bit tired. She's gradually got worse over the last few days. I spoke to the vet on Thursday, who confirmed my internet-fuelled suspicions that it was likely to be something wrong with her heart or liver, neither of which they can do anything about.
We've been trying to make sure she eats and drinks, and feeding her plenty of treats. We've been bringing her and Maud (our other older chicken) inside when the weather is cold or windy, so they can have a bit of a rest in the warm. It's quite endearing to see them having a snooze together on the carpet.
I'll ring the vet again in the morning. I was trying to avoid taking her in as she has a good sense of her personal boundaries and will NOT thank me for picking her up, let alone putting her in a box and taking her for a drive. I don't want to traumatise her, but at the same time I do want to make sure we've done everything that we can. Fingers crossed.
Peter built a new shelter in the garden, affectionately named Chicken Henge, which has now become a favourite haunt of Mildred and Maud. I can't think of a more fitting use. This is Beaky having a first look.
I also cleaned out the greenhouse (and I need to replace three panes of glass now as the window has blown through). I've not planted any seeds yet, but I did finally get round to repotting my houseplants, which were in an appalling state.
March definitely came in like a lion and went out like a lamb round here. We started with hail stones, but the rain of the last few months seems to have eased and the ground is drying out. The last two weeks have been dry, and even a bit sunny at times. I'm even starting to be able to imagine a time when I might be outside in sandals (not just yet, mind you).
Yet again I've made the mistake of looking back on my post from last month to see whether I've done anything that I said I'd do. I did make progress on the compost bin, but the bedroom still isn't plastered, and I've not even started building the fence round the veg garden yet.
Still, we're now five days into April, the compost bin is finished, and I've made some progress on the field wall that I'm rebuilding, so I'm hopeful April's post might look a bit better...
It feels like it's been raining forever, and apparently I'm not imagining things as it's been the wettest February in the UK since records began, and the fifth wettest month overall. I feel like I've spent most of the month inside, trying to stay dry. Still, there have been one or two non-soggy days, and a couple of outdoor things have been started.
Tackling the quagmire
On one of the few dry days I decided to tackle the quagmire that appears outside our front gate when the rainwater washes down the driveway and creates a giant puddle, which we then reverse the cars into, creating a muddy, soupy mess, which expands until we have to put wellies on just to get to the car.
It's interesting, this puddle, because it sits and settles and eventually the grass grows over the mud. All that grass you can see in the picture, both inside the gates and outside, is growing on just a couple of inches of mud - underneath is all tarmac. I suspect if we left it long enough (and didn't drive over it), the grass would keep expanding until it reached the top of the drive.
There would be some advantages to that I suppose, but I'd rather not wade through mud when I'm trying to get to work at 6am. So I needed a solution.
My solution wasn't complicated, or pretty, and probably won't be long term, but it's solved the immediate problem without creating a new problem (and it was done in a very short break in the rain). The chickens helped. The water now runs through my new little channel, away from the house and into the field.
Not perfect, not elegant, but good enough for now (which is my general aim in life).
We must have had another dry day at some point as I made a start on the new compost bin, which I mentioned back in January.
So far all I've done is retrieve wood from the pile of old floorboards removed during the building work, and lay them out in order to make sure I have enough. I've measured where I want the compost bins to go, and now need to do a bit of sawing and screw everything together. It's not raining today so perhaps that's a job for this afternoon.
Some things have been happening inside too - not much, I should add, but I have made a start on plastering the new bedroom.
Not a very good start, I admit. Either I let the PVA glue dry too much, or the plaster has gone off, and quite a lot of it didn't stick to the wall and had to be scraped off. What a fiasco. Still, it feels good to have made a start, and by the end of March I'm hoping this room will be beautifully plastered and ready to move in (ha, fat chance).
Not much is growing in the garden yet. Snowdrops, and I glimpsed the first crocuses the other day too. I did spend an hour clearing old ferns from the bed in the garden, so that looks a little tidier (although it would be even better if I'd not left the offcuts lying where I cut them - but in my defence it had started raining again).
The rhubarb has sprouted though and is coming on nicely. Rhubarb crumble before March is out I reckon.
Things I didn't do
I made the mistake of looking back at January's post to see whether I'd made any progress on what I'd started then.
I've started the compost bin, but other than that... no. No walling (far too rainy and windy for that), no progress on the fence, and we've not even taken that giant pile of rubbish to the tip (although we have added to it). The snow hasn't helped - it's not been constant, but every few days there's a flurry being whipped up by the wind, making me not want to set foot out of the door, let alone spend an hour lugging stones round in a field.
Even the chickens aren't impressed.
Oh well. The nights are getting noticeably lighter now, and that always makes me feel more energetic. I'm off work at the minute (we're on strike, again) so theoretically I should have plenty of time to be getting on with all these things. But somehow there's always someone to visit, or something else to do (that involves staying warm and dry).
But I'm going to declare a few things (which I reserve the right not to achieve). By the end of March I would like to have
Let's see how far I get...
Over the last few years I've been doing an 'in the garden' post every month or two, trying to keep track of progress and seasonal changes. You can see some from the last couple of years here, and from the last few years in our old garden here.
Now we have more space, I want those posts to reflect the fact that our outdoor activities often take us beyond the garden, and I'd also like to bring in discussions of what we're doing inside the house too.
January has been rather bleak. The weather has been grim, and both of us have been ill at various times, so we've not made as much progress as I'd like. Still, some things have got done.
We are deep into dry stone wall territory here. I have a love/hate relationship with walls. I love the way they look, and the idea of them. But ours are old, and they fall down, and I don't find it that easy to rebuild them. However, I'll mostly be repairing them myself, so I'll probably get better over time.
This gap appeared last summer, and I started dismantling it properly at new year. There was one day in the middle of January where the sunshine coincided with a weekend and I spent a happy couple of hours shifting stones and looking at the view. You can see my new space-age knee pads in the photograph - I can't be doing with soggy and sore knees and these are far more convenient than shifting a kneeling pad every five minutes.
This sort of work, while being difficult and taking forever, does remind me why we moved out here.
I've nearly (but not quite) finished dismantling the wall far enough that there's a solid bit to rebuild on. I want to finish it before the cows come back in May, which feels like a long time away, but I know it will come round quickly.
I built our existing compost bin from old pallets and breeze blocks when we moved in. It's served us well, but it's rather inconveniently sited in a field rather than in the garden, and now it's somewhat collapsed, it seems like a good time to relocate.
I shifted all the mostly-rotted compost over onto the edible windbreak to use as mulch, and started pulling bits of wood out of the pile of old floorboards to build a new one.
I've identified where it's going, and broadly what it's going to look like, and when we get another day of fine weather, I'm going to start building it.
Fencing in the vegetable garden
I didn't grow much food last year, partly through idleness, but also because everything I did plant was either eaten or dug up by a succession of chickens, hares and sheep.
This year I've decided to fence around an area of the garden to (hopefully) keep them all out. I think it might also make the garden seem more enclosed and manageable, more like a little allotment than a vast expanse of wind-blown grass. You can't quite see in this picture, but I've started to put pegs in to map out where I want the fence posts to go.
We've got some fence posts, and I'll be filling in between them with chicken wire. Fingers crossed that will be enough.
Rather a lot of what we've done this month has involved collecting rubbish and piling it up around the garden. I've noticed that piles of 'stuff' seem to be a staple feature of gardens out here, and I can very much see how it happens.
This pile is ostensibly waiting to go to the tip. It's been waiting for several weeks already, and I confess it's a bit of an eyesore, both for us (it's right next to where we park) and for people walking on the footpath down our drive. We'd been waiting until it dried out a bit to put it in the car, but might just have to get on with it as I'm sick of looking at it now.
Fluffing up the chicken run
One regular part of our outdoor activities is cleaning out the chicken run. We pick the droppings out of the house each day, and once a week or so we clean out the hen house and put in fresh bedding. Every few weeks we rake the old bedding from the floor of the run and replace it.
For the past few months we've been replacing it with hay. The advice about using hay for chickens is mixed. There's a general consensus against using it for bedding in the hen house - it's dusty and can harbour mould, and so can cause respiratory problems. But in the outside area of the run, where there is plenty of ventilation? Some people still advise against it, for the above reasons, and also because they have a tendency to eat it, and eating too much of it can cause problems in the chickens' crops.
I don't know what the answer is, but we do have rather a lot of our own hay, and nothing else to do with it, so for now we throw a few handfuls in there every few weeks for them to root about in. They love it, and it stops the ground getting quite so muddy for a while.
The last time I put some in there, I lay down on it myself, and was surprised how warm and comfortable it was. I reckon I could sleep a night in the chicken run if I had to (providing the hay was fresh, of course).
So there we are - a round up of homestead-ish activities in January. Looking back it seems like quite a bit, but everything I've written about here was done over one weekend in the middle of the month when it stopped raining for a few short hours.
There's been no DIY progress from me this month. Peter has acquired tools for kitchen renovations, and has fitted blinds in the living room and the bathroom, which have made such a difference to the feel of the place, especially after dark. We didn't have any curtains, and while there's not much chance of anyone looking in out here, once the sun set the windows became inky-black voids which didn't help with a feeling of cosiness.
I'm hoping February will bring some nicer weather. I'd like to get the new compost bin built, and the vegetable garden fence, and to make significant progress on my field wall. But if all else fails, I can always start plastering...
When we first moved into our new house, there was no path to the door. You had to walk across the lawn, and since we moved in at the end of February, and were quickly faced with the worst snow in recent history, the lawn rapidly turned into a sea of mud.
One day me and my mum threw down a load of stones (you can see the initial effort here), and for nearly two years they've been sinking into the grass and being less and less effective.
Not exactly helpful for getting from house to car on the way to work without getting covered in mud.
Finally, after the new year, fixing the path got to the top of the to-do list, and I dug up the stones (with the help of the chickens, of course) and started to find replacements.
We've attempted to lay them properly this time, with sand and gravel underneath, in the hope that they won't sink quite so quickly into the grass.
We've made the new path a bit wider too - we don't have an outside light and often have to navigate it in the dark, so having a bit more space makes things easier.
Finally we finished, and while we probably won't win any design awards, the new path keeps our feet clean (ish) and has the beaky seal of approval.
This has been a nice little project. It didn't last forever, and it's made a significant improvement to our daily activities. We did buy a couple of bags of sand and gravel (total cost less than £10) but we're fortunate to have a lot of this type of stone lying around - if we hadn't, we would have used something else.
It's felt good to be outside again too. It wasn't exactly warm (although it's bordering on being warm today!) but, importantly, it wasn't raining. That's a pretty exciting state of affairs round here at the minute.
I'm told it won't be raining for the whole of this week, so as soon as I've finished this tea I'm heading back outside to see what other jobs I can get on with. First up is cleaning the living room windows - now the sun is shining I can see just how filthy they are.
Does that count as spring cleaning??
November and December were uneventful gardening months. I did precisely nothing that could be described as 'gardening', and indeed it was often too wet to even be outside.
Any outside efforts focused on either rebuilding the path across the lawn (a subject for another day) or weatherproofing the chicken run.
We still haven't got this right. The lower half has either windows or wood all the way round (except for the door), but until a few weeks ago the upper part was just sturdy mesh, meaning the rain got in and things became rather soggy.
We waited until the wind died down a little, and stapled clear plastic over all the sides and the roof. Sadly, this didn't work as well as we'd hoped - the rain pooled and dripped through the tiny staple holes, creating yet more mud, and after a couple of weeks the roof and most of the sides blew off entirely.
I'm not sure what the solution is. In reality this is quite an exposed spot for a chicken run, but it does suit in lots of other ways. The chickens themselves are cosy inside of course - they have a little half height roof to shelter under - but it does make cleaning out their house rather a pain.
Sometimes I see photos of other people's chicken runs in glossy magazines, and ours never looks like theirs. Ours is made of scraps of metal and wood and plastic, and we fill the run (but not the house) with our own hay as it feels unnecessary to buy in something else when we have a surplus of that. The chickens don't seem to mind though, and are often found sheltering in there even when the door is open and they can go wherever they like.
Mostly in the final two months of the year the garden was something I passed through, rather than spent any time in.
My mind is starting to turn towards next season though. I don't want to make any ambitious plans, but I would like to grow something next year. I want to revamp those beds a little too, and move the willow (which I seem to have planted in the only dry spot on our land).
But not yet. For the first month or two of this year, I'll focus on rebuilding walls, clearing rubbish, and DIY inside the house. Then we'll see.
A few weeks ago I went on a short beekeeping course. We never had a specific plan to keep bees, but I've been mildly interested, and an hour-long course just a few miles from home seemed the ideal place to learn more.
There were about twelve of us, and the beekeepers decked us out in these ludicrous outfits, for which I was of course very grateful.
These bees are kept in a small wooded area, quite rural, but near some houses. There are several people who tend bees here and they run regular open days.
We were shown the hives, and the bees, and told all kinds of things, and I confess most of it went in one ear and out of the other as I was so busy concentrating on not panicking about the number of bees flying right around my face.
Of course they couldn't get at me, but it doesn't feel like that when they're an inch from your nose.
Anyway, I think I remained outwardly calm, but I can't now tell you what all the bits of the hive are called, or what the different types of bees do.
What I can tell you is that we won't be keeping bees any time soon. I loved the enthusiasm of the beekeepers, but it's not a cheap hobby, especially not when you first start out, and it's pretty time consuming.
I had wondered whether we might offer some of our space to a local beekeeper to keep their hives, but it seems that our high, exposed land would make it quite difficult to keep bees alive over the winter, and I don't want thousands of bee deaths on my hands.
So no bees for us, for now at least. We'll see how we feel a few years down the line, maybe when we've planted more trees and have more shelter. Maybe.
The poor garden has been sadly neglected this year. I may have had visions of some kind of Victorian cottage garden, but I certainly didn't have a team of professional gardeners, and so my vision has (so far, at least) failed to become reality.
Back at the start of September things still felt fairly orderly. I had beds laid out, apples growing, and we had even strimmed the grass. I'd planted sunflowers, and while yes, I'd had to plonk them in any old place rather than finding somewhere ideal, some of them had grown - not very tall, but they were looking rather cheering.
Back then (and it does feel like forever ago), it was still warm enough to sit outside with a cuppa and do a spot of plotting and scheming.
The signs of autumn were there though, and as we moved into October we harvested our first ever apple and the weather got slightly more inhospitable.
The garden has been quite disrupted these past couple of weeks as we've had to create a temporary enclosure to separate the builders from the chickens. They're not impressed (the chickens, that is - I'm pretty sure the builders appreciated not being followed round by the a hoard of pestering birds), but they do seem to forgive quite quickly (especially when faced with treats).
Now we're near the end of October, and it feels like it's been raining for weeks, although my photographs do give me a slight glimpse of sunshine here and there. Our drive has turned into a bit of a river, with a new (and inconvenient) water feature developing just outside the garden gate.
The clocks went back last night, so our chicken routine has to change slightly. I'd been letting them out later and later each morning and yesterday it was around 8am and they still seemed quite sleepy. This morning with the changing clocks, I went out at 7.15 (which would have been 8.15 yesterday) and they seemed quite content still having a bit of a lie in.
The sun was shining (for once) and if I'd been dressed, or had a pair of wellies that didn't have a hole in (must do something about that) I might have paddled up the lane for a bit of a morning wander.
As it was, I pottered round the garden in my dressing gown (one of the many advantages of living in the middle of nowhere, although I do sometimes forget that there's a public footpath running past our house).
Maybe autumn's not so bad after all.
Sit down and make yourself comfortable. I'm Jenni, and I write here about our new foray into country living, which includes growing food, knitting, baking, wandering around the fields, and seeing which local cafe serves the best cake.