What a beautiful sunny long Autumn we have had. Harvest has gone on and on into late October, only in the last week did it get colder. Then on 2nd November we had our first heavy frost, freezing the water troughs for the animals and finishing off the beans, oca and flowers. Now with the leaves drop fast from the trees and the days rapidly shortening we are tidying up and battening down the hatches ready for winter and remembering a lovely summer.
During August we had a relaxed month with much yoga and good cooking with the company of Kristina, Angelo and their two young children Said & Sofía from Spain. Kristina being a kundalini yoga teacher and Angelo is a chef. It was hard to do much work with the youngsters around, so we did much socialising with other families, whilst waiting for Mrs pig to give birth.
Unfortunately the piglets arrived the day they left, but Emma Dodart from France was with me to witness the birth. We sat up late into the night watching the babies being born, an amazing experience that will stay with us for ever. The piglets born on 20th August are now 12 weeks old and growing fast. We are rotational strip grazing them, but these are Tamworth babies and unlike our grazing Kune Kunes they dig. The destruction they are causing is getting worse by the day. We are now moving them to new pasture every day, but still they are ploughing up the land. They have been in the orchard contained between the tree rows with electric fence. Soon they will be moved out into the big hay meadow, where we want them to clear the land ready for next year where we will be planting. We will be hedging one part to make more flower beds for lavender and roses and leaving an acre to plough for a crop of seed potatoes that we will be growing for Sarpo potato breeders and Welsh ware growers.
During September we had two wwoofers from the UK, Jack and Catherine. There was lots to harvest at this time, with lots of veg and fruit to process to feed us during the winter. Cath was here to learn about flowers and help me prepare flowers for a wedding. Five headdresses were required that all had to be made fresh on the day and need to be delivered by 11am an hours drive away. So just a few hours sleep and then up at 1am to start work on buttonholes, headdresses and bouquets.
This week, with the help of Brian we have moved the owl box into a better position away from our busy, noisy barn to a site in the middle of our land in the hedge by the orchard. It is now sitting on top of a 3m pole. It looks a little out on it’s own at the moment, but as the hedge grows up it will be perfectly positioned.
We also finished the pond that Hippolyte and Rosalie had dug in July. It couldn’t be finished then as we needed to wait for the pond to fill with water. Now full we used the piles of soil to cover the edge of the pond liner and level the ground. We removed three current bushes to give more space to enable us to walk around the edge of the pond. To finish it off we put up a totem pole that will over look the veg garden and keep an eye on it. The totem pole lines up beautifully with the new owl box, so hopefully birds will fly between the two, eating a few mice on the way.