20 novembre 2009

We sowed the broad beans

We sowed the broad beans, peas, garlic and onions at the beginning of the month. We have a fine crop of fennel, leeks and self-seeded swiss chard, with the broccoli just beginning to develop its florets. Also eating the odd helping of nettles, and wondering what to do with this year's bumper crop of acorns. Cassie loves them but it turns out they can be poisonous to horses (they contain tannins), so I'm letting her snuffle them off the ground when we're out walking, but I've changed my mind about adding buckets of them to her feed. Didn't they make acorn coffee during the war or something? I'll have to get googling.

13 novembre 2009


Hatched! Ken the caterpillar has turned into a lovely swallowail butterfly. Sadly at the wrong time of year, so the chances of survival are low. I'd hoped he'd overwinter.

And Egbert, whom I raised from tiny tiny tiny, has just pupated, but I will spare you the photos of yet another swallowtail chrysalis.

12 novembre 2009

The itinerant sheep

The itinerant sheep have arrived from the other side of the valley to spend their annual autumn fortnight's holiday on the fields across from our house. Cassie is in a state of high alert. She can hear them on the other side of the wood, their baa-ing and their bells, but she can't see them. Sheep really freak her out.

Yesterday afternoon I took her out in the rope halter and she jumped and frisked around and totally failed to achieve anything like relaxation, but at least she didn't run away, and she managed to let her desire for grass overcome her fear. The sheep were miles away at the top of the far field, but every so often they would course in a sort of great wave from one side of the field to the other, very noisily, and every time they did this Cassie became very agitated. My plan is to take her out when they come into the near field and see how close we can get. Being afraid of sheep when you live round here is just not practical.

11 novembre 2009

I like the way things go

I like the way things go with the seasons here. It's a month after the vendemmia and so we get biscuits and buns made with mosto (must, or slightly fermented grape juice) in the bakers, cafés and bars. Yesterday I had a couple of biscuits that had aniseeds in them too, with my cappuccino, and they were so delicious that I bought some to take home. I bought four, and the bargirl threw an extra one in for free. Which is another nice thing they do here.

5 novembre 2009

Three eggs

Three eggs from the ducks this morning — nice, but moving us ever closer to serious egg glut crisis. The two ducklings are fully grown but we still can't tell whether they're male or female. If their tail gets a little curl, that's a sign they're male, but as yet their tails are resolutely straight. Perhaps they're both girls. Six eggs a day would be too many, way too many.

It was a dramatic autumnal morning with the sun breaking through very dark stormclouds and a rain shower falling lightly. In the western sky the full moon was sinking towards the hills and a rainbow hovered over the woods. Everything looked shiny and the colours very intense. I didn't want to come inside.