July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour.
The boys have lain on the sofa for much of the day, listening to music of one sort and another, as I have worked around them.
The sewing machine in the Lodge has been clicking away, as I sort and sew material into pillow-cases.
It’s difficult to find good cotton pillow-cases, unless one is prepared to visit the city and a shop like Laura Ashley…in my dreams, methinks!
I prefer to sew anyway, as the quality of items can be more easily regulated.
As the light of day fades into evening, other work comes into focus…
Making sure there are plenty of logs in the baskets for the evening, along with tidying up the woodpile to make it safe from collapse!
This is just one of several, that keep getting bigger, as my friend brings me more logs, in return for home-made wine!
The leaves have almost finished their drop and cover the earth with such colour, that I have no intention of tidying them up…anywhere!
My little headless Venus is complete with her autumn face of berries, as the light fades into Midwinter darkness.
Just a few left of the second and last print run…
I love hens.
They are social creatures.
They are inquisitive by nature and become very tame when treated well.
I have kept hens for years, even when I lived in London, I kept hens in my garden in Muswell Hill.
So, hens are familiar to me and have taught me a lot about what makes them happy!
Food is easy…lots of greens.
You can pick a few weeds every day and give to the hens, fresh is best.
Lots of starchy food leftovers is good for them as it provides a balanced diet.
I supplement with rolled barley, which they love!
If the girls can roam freely then this is good for all.
Mine get out for a good long roam-about when I’m working in the upper gardens.
This is because the handsome old fox lives on the hill above the cottage!
Say no more!
I have watched the girls jump up high to eat these from the bush on winter days.
Here they are scoffing the remains of blackcurrants from wine-making.
Hens are great foragers and will happily troop off on a good old forage through the bushes and woodland, emerging hours later at some unexpected point!
This is because it has a perspex roof, so all the sunshine and moonlight can brighten the inside.
In this way, the hens continue to lay eggs all year round as the light induces this process.
Trees are planted around it for maximum shelter, especially from the wind.
The hens even laid eggs on Christmas day.
Hens will lay for years and live for over 7 years and more.
It’s raining this morning and the plants that self-seed in the gravel are continuing to drink. This is Valerian, which loves the limestone gravel and grows from seed scattered into the stones. It’s beginning to flower and will continue to flower all the way through the summer.
The delicate an exquisite flowers on the Dogwoods are beautiful close-up. For colour all winter, flowers in summer and berries during the autumn, dogwoods are hard to beat.Wildflowers…the most delicate and delicious blooms at Bealtaine Cottage…Elderflower Cordial, mmm!The time of the butteflies is very near. Last summer seen a huge upturn in the butterfly population as the garden matured. This summer should be good for butterflies too, although some of the buddleia was killed off in the prolonged frost of last winter. Seed heads from last summer. All so-called weeds are in fact valuable herbs, some of which we have not yet found a use for. It’s amazing just how much knowledge we have lost over the post-industrial time, a mere 150 years!