All of apples have now been picked and juiced. Normally this labour of love falls to Wendy and I, but this year Charlie and his crew plus Ian our Groundsman achieved in an afternoon what normally takes us two or three days. We had an enormous crop this year (although plums and pears were not so good) so lots of lovely apple juice. How difficult is it to make cider??
Our new polytunnels have been emptied of tomatoes and squashes, so lots of chutney and purees being made this week along with elderberry cordial. The late raspberries have been transformed into jams and we are almost ready to snuggle up for the Winter.
Almost is the key word here, recent winds have caused some damage (although all in all its been a fabulous year around Nairn and is still bright and unseasonably warm) and we have had to bring some branches and the odd tree down, the result being that our stock of firewood is growing exponentially. As we burn around a ton of wood a week in the cold months this will soon vanish when the frosts appear.
We had thought that we were going to have a very early Autumn, it turned out to be what is termed a “false Autumn” caused by an unseasonably dry start to the year. Fortunately this latest warm spell put a stop to the leaves falling in serious quantities until this last week, we are now deluged in clouds of yellow, red and orange leaves and our life saving leaf blower has been in action several hours a day with Ian at the helm. We normally try to keep them in vast mounds in order to utilise them in a couple of years as mulch. This is fine in theory, but it does mean that if a strong wind from the wrong direction springs up we are liable to have to do the work all over again. This also means a bi weekly visit to the roof this time of year to ensure that the gullies and drains do not block up and cause leaks in the house.
On the plus side it does mean that guests are able to drive away with a cloud of multi coloured leaves fluttering in their wake!