(Photo 1. Murdock from the front garden)
Autumn is definitely on her way, the leaves are just starting to change and at last, it is getting decidedly cooler. We spend our days working outside and preparing for the onset of winter… I am getting calluses on my calluses. If I ever get an interview, I will have to hide my hands in my lap, or wear gloves?! (Love, I promise to remedy this prior to your return, or maybe I’ll hire a gardener while you are away. To save my hands...)?!!!
Tom has dammed up the stream so we now have a pond and a ‘salamander & frogs hotel’ which is a pile of slate rocks and stone which they do appear to like. It looks great and will hopefully look a little less ‘excavated’ by the spring. He has had an amazingly long summer holiday, which as I recall started at the end of May and will finally finish next Wednesday the 8th September when he goes back to school ; - )
(Photo 2. Brown Eyed Susan front garden wall)
(Photo 3. 'Hotel' & Pond by TAB)
Murdock hike, hummm lets see, it started out well. Tom and I fully kitted out with hacksaw, axe, giant pruners, water, food etc. etc. We managed to get about halfway up, found a spring & stream and then came the thunderstorm from nowhere, a tree hit by lightening, then a very speedy decent by all! Exhausted, we were only 500 feet from the house and poor Tom crashed through the fallen tree, fell and knocked his head, bloody ear and head. All in all a pretty exciting day, Tom is fine, of course and since then we have managed to clear the fallen tree and make a ‘safe’ and clear pathway to the base of Murdock. We are ever so slowly starting to tame the wildness that is our home.
(Photo 4. Gateway from lower pasture to Murdock - home of the Hornet Monster Nest)
Since then, Tom has been stung by a Bald Faced Hornet - lower arm to elbow swelled like a balloon. Our doctor (via phone) said it was still considered ‘local’ swelling, so nothing to worry about, ice and Antihistamine - she is the best doctor we have had in ages, straight to the point, no frills and not a great deal of bedside but you always know what you need to know and are not left curious. We both look like we have been in the wars, cuts, scratches and many bruises - it’s a pioneer thing.
(Photo 5. Hornet Nest in gateway, two feet long)!
J has managed to eat all but one of the pears from the tree. Tom got hold of two before she did, brought them into the house, offered me one which I ate, J then stole the other from the kitchen table right in front of us! Tom swears he would have eaten the other, if J had not, but I have my doubts. Next we have apples to collect from behind the house - the others, backing onto Pie’s paddock will have to wait until we can clear a path to them through the bramble bushes (most likely, a NEXT year task).
(Photo 8. View from gateway south)
I finally have my NY State driving license (which means I am NOW legal to drive unaccompanied in NY state. Enough said)…. Thanks to dear M. who came with me, talked me into calmness (I was a wreck), drank coffee’s and gave me a good heads up of what the examiner was like. She suggested I drive like ‘Miss Daisy‘, which was the perfect advice. When he asked me what I thought of driving in Germany, I said “oh they do drive rather fast” and tried to sound convincing, which he clearly believed and approved of. It took maybe fifteen minutes from start to finish, a three point turn, parallel park and that was it. I didn’t even get out of third gear. Feel a complete pillock for getting so stressed about it now, as it was the easiest and fastest test I have ever taken!
We were given tickets by the Saint Jacque’s family to attend the Washington County Agricultural Fair in Greenwich, which was a great day out. They had every imaginable animal on display, including a barn full of Draught Animals, to include some magnificent horses that made the Pie look small, Oxon and some other giant looking cow types (you see, I have a great deal of learning to do on this subject), pigs, goats, sheep, every bird imaginable and some not so imaginable. Tom enjoyed ‘trying out’ all the tractors, gators and farm implements, noting which ones he felt we really should get (which was most of them). He tried archery, which he did well at and was then treated to some new arrows for his bow. We have almost agreed on getting a Gator (this varies from day to day: a Tractor or ATV or Gator ) with a dump body & winch, a brush hog that tows behind BUT this has to wait until I am actually a paid employee of someone, somewhere. We ate Candy Floss and Fried Bread Dough (yes, I know it sounds disgusting but it tasted magnificent, covered in powered sugar, to sop up ALL the oil) and went home thoroughly exhausted, again.
We think we have a raccoon living in the dairy barn… a pile of empty boxes, all inside one another, tied in a big black Breckland Council Bag (thank you Breckland), found ripped to shreds ….. to be continued. Pie found a Praying Mantis, Tom captured it:
(Photo 9. Praying Mantis by TAB)
Next, we experience ‘Fall’ and all that goes with it….the stunning colours of autumn and the Hunting Season starts...
(Photo 10. The next project, transformation of this bramble boggy mess into grassland).
Can anyone please identify this plant below? It grows to 4' in height, smells of peanut butter when you pull it up, single root, prickly seed pods. Has a single flower, white turning purple flute, similar to the Morning Glory but more angular. Have been told it is in the Nightshade family, but can not find any information on it at all.
(Photo 11. Monster weed, grew with avengance after land was disturbed)