Strawberry Haircut

My father-in-law, Colin, mentioned that he’d seen a gardener trim their strawberries before the autumn set in, so this is what wev’e done. Apparently, with Indian summers you can get an extra late crop as well!

Sparrow Mites

It’s not a nice post, but as this is a record for us, this is something worth keeping an eye out for. When this sparrow was found it was very weak and disorientated. We could see what appeared to be growths on its head but as it was an evening we kept it in a box outside so it would be safe, but by the time morning came around it had died. We called the vet, just in case it was something contagious, and they let us know that these brown things are, in fact, mites. Poor thing 🙁

100 Sparrows and Counting!

2012 Sparrows

This may be getting a little silly, but we now have around 100 regular sparrow visitors, thanks to Suz’s regular feeding regime and sparrow box installation (yes – I know there’s another waiting to go up!)

Just to remind you – we had 5 regular sparrow visitors when we first came here 5 years ago, they pretty much double every year!


A rather dodgy quality video of a small starling flock. I remember seeing more of these when I was a child over in north Shropshire, but I rarely see them these days. This is the first time I’ve seen them here.

2012 Starling Flock

Happy Chooks

Happy chooks in the sunshine, under the old oak tree 🙂

Another Dead Tree

Another tree has succumbed – not one leaf left on it, and this year’s growth was none existent so I assume it died around the same time as the other two. We’ll replace it, a Merryweather variety, like for like, as it’s supposed to be well suited to our location, originating as it does in Nottinghamshire. I still have no idea what killed them off, but can only assume the late cold spell this winter got in to the pruning cuts.

I have also noticed cherry slugs on some of the cherry tree leaves – the larvae of a sawfly specific to plums and cherries. We have had leaves with holes in this year, so the chickens will be moved to those trees soon to scratch around the bases of the trees, after I’ve dug the ground over, to gobble up the over-wintering larvae. Other than that, it falls to us to squish any of the slugs we find on the leaves, unless we resort to chemicals.

Home Grown Meal & Perfect Tomatoes

Okay, so the fish isn’t homegrown, but the rest is – tomatoes, onions, beans, potatoes. It’s so tempting to have a carp pond, but it would be a massive space-taker. I’ve seen some funky greenhouse-based permaculture fish tanks, but that seems like an awful lot of materials and work to get the hydroponics system working. An outside carp pond would seem to make more sense 🙂 One day perhaps…

Mr Tomato

Maybe it’s the low sense of humour, maybe it’s a lack of socialisation, but the funny fruit and veg always make us smile.

On that note, please welcome Mr Tomato.



This is the first year that we’ve had reasonably sized currant bushes. We’ve lost one white currant bush, which we’ve had to replace, but the red currants have been fantastic! Here’s the crop we’ve taken this year – they are gorgeous!

Potato Harvest

For some reason, despite the amount of cloud and rain we’ve had this year – the good old spuds have done well, better than I had hoped, and better than our neighbours! We did manure the patch a lot over winter, I can only assume this has helped 🙂 These are the earlies (first and second) – Arran Pilot and Red Duke of York first earlies, Nadine second earlies. The Nadines were particularly scrummy – the Duke of Yorks weren’t the most prolific, but to be honest I’d pop all three of these in again next year!

As ever an escapee chook is on hand to help out with any pesky worms we might dig up…