We’re having amazing weather here,although a good dose of rain would be most welcome. The gardens are full of birds, Welcome Swallows have decided to build a nest in our back porch, & they are swooping about the garden. The Red Ladybirds have finally arrived in large numbers, & we are very pleased to see them. Rabbits have become rather too familiar a sight & Geoff has started to shoot them before they become a real nuisance. This is a sad decision, as it’s been lovely to watch a pair exploring the orchard in the early evenings, but we always said that as soon as we saw more than two, or they got into the gardens, we’d cull them. Sometimes our cat has brought home a dead baby rabbit, & they are very sweet, years of conditioning by Beatrix Potter.

The potatoes we put in, in early Oct are coming up sturdily, although we’ve had the odd late night foray, putting frost protection on them. Some of the special ones we were given aren’t up yet, they were very small, so we’re hoping they survive. One plant that doesn’t mind the frosts is the Globe Artichoke, we have more heads than we can keep up with. Geoff makes a great dish using them & potatoes, I’ll put in the recipe next time he makes it, although the photo won’t do it justice as it comes out a bit grey!

The Elder tree is flowering well, & we are picking the umbels to put in olive oil, these will stay out in the sun for several weeks, & then get strained & stored for use in the next year. The Elder oil goes into several of our ointments, it is a skin softener & conditioner.