October

October already and we are making the most of a spell of fine weather sowing wheat for next year’s harvest.
sunset apples
The Discovery apples in the garden have finished and we have just started to pick the Sunset. We’re still picking blackberries and autumn fruiting raspberries, the runner beans and tomatoes show no sign of slowing down and I’m pretending not to notice that the courgettes are no longer small, tender fingers but have ballooned into mammoth marrows.
cockerel and hen
Each evening the hens, ducks and guinea fowl are shut in a little earlier as the days shorten. The ducks come to the kitchen window any time after five in the hope that I might feed them early but the hens linger in the garden so that I sometimes have to chase them out from underneath the rose bush. The guinea fowl just shriek at me from behind the fence in the fruit field, forgetting that they can fly until I wave my arms behind them.

rabbit traps
Walking around the farm, the oilseed rape is growing well, which means that the usual battle against pigeons and rabbits has started. Just for some variety, moorhens have also decided that the tender green leaves of oilseed rape are tasty and are helping the rabbits and pigeons to clear the crop. Our mode of attack so far is to place gas bird scarers in the fields to deter the pigeons and line up rabbit traps along the headlands. A trail of carrots (sliced lengthways because that’s the way rabbits best like them) lead the unwary rabbit into the cage, where they stand on the plate that springs the door shut behind them. The traps are checked every morning and any captured rabbits are humanely dispatched. Sometimes a rabbit gets lucky and manages to eat all the carrots without springing the door. Sometimes there’s two rabbits in a cage. Sometimes people spot the cages across the field and walk over and shut them. Or turn them over. Or throw them in the ditch. Or steal them.

ducklings on pond
Rather unseasonably for October, one of the ducks has hatched four ducklings. Aren’t they cute? For the moment.

 

0 thoughts on “October

  1. A few years ago I worked in a garden where rabbits were a problem and a man came with the cages you have. All that were caught were taken to a farm field nearby as the owners could not despatch them. They probably made their way back again and the same rabbits had a regular car journey! I have the same relationship with Instagram Anne but find there are some fascinating accounts such as national geographic that really open my eyes.

    1. I’d get very cross if people dumped rabbits in my field! I think it’s probably illegal to do that here.
      I should probably investigate some different accounts on Instagram. Possibly something to do when the days are shorter and colder and I want to spend time inside instead of outdoors.

  2. Hello Anne. Those apples are magnificent. Such pretty light. Guinea fowls are the craziest animals aren’t they? Rabbits are such a pest, I have a couple in my garden at the moment and they are proving very difficult to catch. In the meantime they are helping themselves to my spring vegetables.
    Those ducklings are adorable. I look forward to seeing your snaps on Instagram!

  3. Love to know how you get your guineafowl to go into a shed at night – once mine were out, they were out and although they seemed to know our boundaries I was never able to catch them again!! (Eventually the fox did)

    1. My first guinea fowl came as almost day olds and I kept them in until they were quite old, by which time they knew where their food was and were happy to come back for it. Any new ones have been introduced while there’s been at least one of the old batch left so they just seem to tag along. That said, they never walk through the open gate into the run but always fly over the fence and in spring time often refuse to come in for a couple of nights. I wish mine knew our boundaries – recently I met them walking down the lane.

  4. Anne, your blog posts and your photos make me long for our old home in deepest Dorset. Your apple pressing for Cider was also something we would do as a family collective and it was always just such a giggle! Your stories, photos and observations are delightful and evocative and really boost me. Thanks x

  5. Anne, I have just discovered you blog and am addicted! Its make me long to live in the countryside…looking forward to your next post already.

  6. Love your atmospheric pics with all this week’s lovely golden light spilling out of them. Your hiding hens made me laugh! We have had to have some of those traps here but for squirrels not rabbits. A real ASBO squirrel took it upon him (or her) self to work out how to dislodge the metal lid from the galvanised bin where we keep the bantams’ food and raid it whenever the mood took him (or her). As our deterrent efforts of weighing the lid down with two bags of concrete failed miserably – squirrel clearly into weight-lifting! – trapping was, unfortunately, the only option left. Have a lovely weekend, Anne – with or without rabbits! E x
    PS I’ve sent you a little something in the post – might arrive tomorrow if Royal Mail is efficient.

  7. Your way of dealing with the rabbits seems very sensible. I assume the folk who shut the cages have never had to earn a living from the land. Lovely photos – do hope those duckling make it through the winter!

  8. Hasn’t the weather this week been marvellous?
    Instagram must be the only place still left unexplored by me. I’m assuming it’s a phone thing and seeing as mine is so old it’s no longer supported by apple, and we have no mobile signal here anyway, it’s not something I’ve been in a hurry to investigate.

    1. A fabulous week, though I think we’re due some rain on Monday.
      You can use a tablet and wifi for Instagram. I understand your reluctance to investigate; sometimes I feel it’s just another drain on my time that I can do without and abandon it for months at a time.

  9. Autumn is a busy time in both the farm and garden, what with gathering the fruits and harvest while preparing and planting for next year. And then there is dealing with pests!

  10. Farmers and growers have been blessed with the weather lately. It has been wonderful harvesting, clearing and manuring in such warm sunshine during these golden days. I like to think my allotment is rabbit proof but the odd baby rabbit squeezes through sometimes and then grows! A few allotment folk trap, but I’ve never bothered and just cover vulnerable crops as necessary. I meant to say that I really liked the idea of using posset in a fruit tart instead of a custard but I don’t think I got round to it. My student children use Instagram which is a great way of keeping up with them.

    1. It has been such good weather lately that the rain today seems a bit of a surprise. It amazes me how small a space a rabbit can squeeze through and then of course once they’re in and eating they can’t (or don’t) always want to leave.

  11. Oh they are so cute Anne. I laughed when I read the ‘mammoth’ marrows .. a given every summer isn’t it? Just love the pic of the hens .. divine! They look like they are having a rather good conversation.

  12. Beautiful pics and the apples look very delicious. I think your are being extremely restrained in the rabbit management. Crop devastation is not a nice thing to contend with. Cheeky chicks!

  13. You have such an eye for photography. I really enjoy looking at your posts.
    It is hard to believe that we’re already into October. I think we’ve had our last heat wave and now have had mornings where we’ve turned the heat on to take the chill out of the house. But I’m so surprised that you’ve got those little ducklings – and yes, they are adorable!

    1. Not only has the duck hatched ducklings but my female guinea fowl is sitting on nest somewhere. Not sure if they’re foretelling a warm autumn or if they’re just not very bright.

      1. Hopefully it will be a warm autumn or they might be in trouble. My sister had a red squirrel mom in the tree by her house who had 5 babies very late in the season. She watched as she threw them out of the nest apparently for them to die. After calling a wildlife center, they told my sister that they were great fun & told her how to feed them with a dropper. They all survived & are very friendly little critters who come up to her for crumbs.

  14. Guinea Fowl are marvelous creatures for forgetting they can fly – until the sun begins to set or someone decides to chase them. They are seriously the strangest poultry I have kept before.
    Those apples look perfect!
    We’re just coming out of winter and heading into Spring, which in our part of Australia is rather short so it’s going to be summer here before I know it. I love reading about the different seasons not only in the Northern Hemisphere but also the differences depending on what country or part of the country people are.

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