Every morning there is something to collect from the garden. The wind and rain made the pinks flop over the path and the self sown marigolds are past their best but still sending out the odd bloom, so these were picked to cheer up the kitchen. Who says orange and magenta don’t go??. Deadheading the roses is a now daily job and I have been feeling quite sad to throw trug loads of fragrant spent petals in the compost. Accordingly, one of my rainy day jobs was to see how to dry rose petals. Turns out this is a doddle. You just leave them on a tray in the sun, turning them occasionally until they are crispy. That’s the pot pourri for Christmas sorted…. The fruit cage is also now in full swing and, even with the efforts of the fruit cage squirrel (of which more below) those berries are not going to eat themselves. Yesterday’s haul went into a drizzle cake (the recipe for which has been uploaded to the recipe blog linked on the home page). If Tom gets a move on he can try a slice, but there’s only half left and it is eroding at rate a rate of knots.
In between showers I have been taking barrowloads of weeds out of the garden. In five minutes this afternoon I filled a barrow to overflowing with four foot high thistles which had emerged in the hot garden, seemingly overnight. No sooner do I get them to the compost heap in the field than the cows eat them. Frankly I am beginning to wonder why we bothered de-thistling the field before the cows arrived. I have also started to worry about next year’s compost reserves…
I have also made a start on emptying one of the gravel garden beds destined for a make over. I have rooted out all the michaelmas daisy, geranium and the pink thing that looks like a geranium but isn’t (must look it up) from one corner and potted them up for recycling. I was worried that the bed would look sad and empty but actually it just looks neater. I fear I have a tendency to overfill….
Lyra too has been finding interesting things to collect. These days, every trip to the butcher’s in Norham brings, as well as the bacon and chops, a bag of bones for Lyra. Judging by the size, Foreman’s has a source of mastodon…..After the initial sook and chew Lyra carries her bones around the garden and deposits them in various “safe places”. The nuttery these days looks like the aftermath of some epic prehistoric battle. Yesterday, however, after reviewing the bone collection, Lyra caught the scent of the fruit cage squirrel. I wasn’t too worried given she was on the outside, but then the squirrel made a nearly fatal error. In its panic it left the cage – disaster.
Lyra caught the squirrel almost as soon as it left the cage. Luckily, she was not at all sure what to do after this triumph (all previous catchings being toys) so she dropped it. Squirrel Nutkin made for the pond. Lyra powered through the campanula and retrieved it before the poor thing reached the (completely impassable barrier for a squirrel (not the smartest of animals squirrels.)) water. She hauled it out, shaking it like her fluffy lamb toy, but again, not having much of a plan for phase 3, dropped the poor thing. This time Nutkin went for the border. In went Lyra, bounding over the iris and lavender and retrieved it. Squirrel N. made a final bid for freedom at the edge of the nuttery and this time, wisely, raced up the neatest hazel and clung to the top branch. It was time to intervene. In the absence of any lead or harness I was unable to pull Lyra back so resorted to distraction techniques. “Oh look there’s a cow” I declared, in prime toddler taming mode (you never lose the skills). I funnelled her to the field and we then went on a lengthy friendship tour of the cows to give the, hopefully not too mauled, squirrel a chance to escape. I may have been wearing my pyjamas throughout this skirmish.
Keith later encountered a squirrel on the patio. If it was Nutkin I can only think that it is a profoundly stupid animal. The patio is where the cats hang out. Given we once woke up to the sound of a rabbit being dismembered on the duvet, I don’t think this is a squirrel safety zone.