Autumn Notes

August 20, 2016

Red currants 2016

Bowl of redcurrants ready for the freezer

 

Pruning the blackcurrants

Apples ripen as we have finally managed to prune some of the blackcurrant bushes.

The first signs of Autumn have appeared earlier than usual. The house-martins gathered earlier than in previous years. Many are already on their way to South Africa; although there is still a late brood being fed in the turf shed. The apple trees have a sizeable crop of smaller than usual apples. On the other hand the black and red currant crops were fantastic with loads of large, sweet, juicy berries. We collected as many as time and energy allowed. We haven’t made jam or jelly yet as looking after guests takes precedence over jam making.

Guests have commented on the absence of bird song in the woods. We had already noticed their absence in the garden. In discussion with neighbours we were told that the increase in the population of pine-martins, which raid the nests of small birds; together with the presence of buzzards can account for the decline in their numbers. We have noticed a reduction in the quantity of flies and mosquitoes which usually plague us as we work in the garden. No doubt that the decline in that food source may have affected bird numbers. On that somewhat depressing note one cannot help but wonder whether the forecast made by Rachel Carson in her book The Silent Spring has come to pass.

The Silent Spring first published in 1962 by Houghton Mifflin. Dealing primarily with the long lasting and detrimental effects of pesticides.  It was compulsory reading for many school and college students. The debate continues over 50 years later. Though the use of genetically modified seeds is a very hot topic at the moment here in Ireland. Many feel it will compromise Ireland’s reputation as a producer of ‘green’ products such as dairy products as beef and lamb.

 

Fallen tree

Fallen Worcester Pearman apple tree

 

The other night part of an old Worcester Pearman tree keeled over. We are waiting to see if the fruit will ripen as part of the branch is still attached to the tree.

White lilac pruned.

Adam pruned the white lilac tree yesterday.

Wild Edric rose reaches for the light

Wild Edric rose reaches for the light

Onions and shallots drying in the sun

Onions and shallots drying in the sun

 

We have been visited by many new guests as well as some of whom have visited before. So we were delighted to be able to purchase fresh blueberries from their producer. We have made a great many blueberry pancakes for breakfast this summer.

 

 

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