Five weeks to go until the big day. We sat down this week and wrote a list of all the things that we want to and must get done before Christmas. We try and have a bit of a break from farming and growing for ten days or so around this time. Just us and the animals to take care of. Seems like an almighty list, so we are heads down and rushing to get supplies of straw and animal feed to last us until mid January. We have been mulching the herb and flower beds this week with two year old leaf mulch. In two weeks time we are out to collect more leaves from Michaelchurch Court. These we will use in two years time, having turned them a few times and allowed them to break down into a fine compost. Perfect for the herbs, flowers and trees. Manure and compost on the hungrier plants, mint, chives and roses. Hard work, but very satisfying to know that this will bring health and vitality to them for next season and bedding down the plants for winter allows one to start to look ahead. Pruning of fruit trees is late this year, as many of the trees still have their leaves, and we must wait until the leaves are shed to start. Probably in the new year now.
The three Pigs that will be butchered for christmas gammons and bacon are looking mighty fine and we are only feeding them vegetables now so as to keep them lean and flavoursome. Turkeys, Geese and Ducks are still eating lots of grass and grain, the latter two enjoying regular swims in the streams as the recent rains have increased the waterflow through the farmland. The water flowing out of the spring ( which supplies all the water that we use on the farm) has also increased which is most pleasing as the inflow to the hydram is sufficient to allow it to run constantly all day and night. It pumps 3 litres of water per minute up to a big tank at the highest point of the farm. Water is then gravity fed through pipes to different parts of the farm. The BBC state that for some parts of the country, this has been the driest ten months since 1910. They have recently updated their weather website and it has some very good explanations to weather patterns and meteorological phenomena for those that are interested in weather behaviour beyond needing to know whether to take your umbrella to work with you.
We will be at the arch as usual this Saturday with a host of vegetables and fruit. Apples and pears have been great this year. bacon and Gammon for sale too.