Waiting for a weather window

The dry weather forecast changed its mind and the rain started. The gravel had to be cancelled at the last minute. Autumn has arrived. The weeks went by with dodgy forecasts, thunderstorms, wind and rain. The blackberries are ripe and the woodland paths are littered with hazelnuts. We certainly haven’t done as much as we would have liked on the house this month.

We started getting on with the sleeping loft beams one weekend but amidst the madness of last month, I’d completely forgotten to get the hammer drill fixed and so when we went to use it, we got stopped in our tracks, which was frustrating and disappointing. Dave finished cementing the last hole in the back wall instead. I took the drill to the workshop and it was fixed and ready to go again by the end of the month.

I have definitely started finding manual work more taxing now that I’m 7 months pregnant, so I’ve slowed down considerably. There have been some admin tasks to do like chasing up our glass door order and doing research on the few baby items we need. So although I’ve been getting useful stuff done, it’s been pretty tedious.

We did spend a nice weekend on the top terrace of the future food forest. Sowed more cover crops and topped the ground with light mulch. The seeds are sprouting well with this mix of sun and rain. Dave also dug a huge trench that we filled with rotting logs, compost, soil and rhubarb crowns that I grew from seed this year. They’ve been offered a good chance, I hope they make it!

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Topping cover crop seeds with light mulch

The garden, although largely neglected, has been cropping away in the background. I harvested the most delicious sweetcorn either of us has ever tasted. I’d heard about being able to eat it raw but had never had the opportunity to try it before. Wonderful! And after three years of trying to get a crop, it was hard-earned. Tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes and physalis are ever present in the kitchen. I sorted my small annual batch of amaranth grains, which are beautiful. And I harvested my first coriander seeds for the spice cupboard. The pumpkins and beans in the garden are ripening well.

We’ve been out foraging and have now got stacks of hazelnuts drying in the attic. I used some windfall apples from the paths to start a batch of apple cider vinegar. I also spent some time making and preserving chutney, pickle and ketchup. This time of year is gloriously abundant.

At the end of September we went to the UK for Dan’s wedding, which was a happy occasion. The trip was a lovely break from everything here; we got to spend time with the rest of his family, my Mum and a few friends. The next time we go to the UK, there will be three of us!

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Dave and I with nephew Casey

Apart from the trip to Britain, the harvests and a few useful things here and there, I have to say it’s been a slightly depressing month. This is the first time since we’ve lived here that I’ve felt like I need a holiday. I think it’s because there’s no way to be around the house and feel chilled out right now. The field is like the surface of the moon, the house is precariously dug out, we’re helpless against the weather forecast and I’m just so tired – everything feels like hard work. But we’ve been doing this for long enough that I know these things come in waves. And after this ebb, we will have a swell of progress! Here’s hoping.

-Anna