I don’t know what happened to October - I remember the first week when Tim was on holiday, so that was a blur of animal movements, feeding and general chaos. Then I was whisked away for my holidays: three days in York in the beautiful Middlethorpe Hall. With everyone constantly on mobiles and computers in the kitchen, communication person to person is often sketchy at best, needless to say I thought we were heading for Middlethorpe Lodge, which is left on the A1 and not right. Luckily, I had packed a floaty top as dinner was definitely an event at the Hall. How lucky were we, truly spoilt and there was some lovely walking in the surrounding woods. Adrian was in his element with the trees - and we even found the champion tree of 2019! I am sure we have a few champions at home.
Adrian on holiday with trees
Me with trees
The Champion Tree
Just when one tree was starting to look like another, my afternoon was made by finding these lovely roaming sheep, Hebridean maybe, with some beautiful Exmoor ponies - all in charge of wood clearance.
Wild Exmoor ponies
We got home, and after using a spare weekend for a fishing lesson, this was the result the day afterwards!
My first salmon
The fish swam away after much admiration of a truly special and beautiful breed of fish. Anyway, I won't forget the "circle" cast in a hurry.
Catching up at home, Countess, also a truly beautiful pig, had produced 10 happy little spotties but she didn’t let farrowing (birth) interrupt supper. She left three wet-looking newborns for the apple course!
A beautiful pig
Gone for a snack in the middle of birth
With every litter, there is always a little one. It is usually the last to come out, which seems so unfair. But they are usually born with extra brains and this one soon realised it had to rely on sibling heat to survive and always nestled right in the middle.
A clever weakling
This year, like last year, we have been inundated with apples for the pigs - a firm favourite is the leftovers after pressing for apple juice, the spotties treat it like a first baby food.
The mini mangos have been put to work along with young Summer to sort some serious wood clearance. I thought a fortnight would do it, but it was totally cleared in three days.
The three-pig clearance team
We are now looking for a suitable suitor for Summer, our year-old Berkshire gilt, poor Sherlock our resident boar hasn’t caught the selector’s eye as he is possibly too big!
Lionking, the shorthorn bull, has been enjoying a few months with the South Devon cows. I like the colours that emerge from the cross with the different browns.
Mother and a cross shorthorn calf
Lionking on a break
There is one species who won’t be joining the Berry’s team -
Tigers in Geneva
Despite some strong hints...
Tiger coming to Tea
But we are always happy to see the Yorkshire Rose on display. Apparently, it was much admired at the First Birthday party, well done that Uncle!
Yorkshire Rose is One!
Thinking of jewels, you know you are old when the clubs you join are preceded with the word, "diamond". My gym class is for diamonds, I feel very elevated.
I now have a new respect for jam makers, and if you are ever given a jar of homemade jam then you know you are a true friend and should treat it like gold. A jam maker has survived 15 minutes of stirring spitting molten lava; and if they haven’t suffered third degree burns, they then stick to the floor from splashes of boiling sugar. They have then got to heat jars and rescue the lava and pour safely all at the same time. There will be very few friends getting my plum jam.
But I am much happier with the idea of freezing gooseberries for gins. The gin gets cooled without being diluted with ice cubes, and it looks "edgy", but sadly there are none left for gooseberry jam.