….and then the sun came out

After a bit of a gloomy week we did what we knew we had to do – get muddy!

Mandy protected the rhubarb and celeriac from the cold. The straw from the greenhouse that was snug around the tomatoes and peppers toes was moved out to guard our loot from the frost.

The first celery of the season was cut and enjoyed, tomatoes picked and beetroot the size of footballs were pulled – oops, as were some weeds.

The greenhouse was blitzed and as nice as it was to be getting stuck  into the jobs I couldn’t help but reminisce about those hot sweaty greenhouse days full of excitement as we strung up the new tomato plants and wondered how the aubergines were going to do. Now we were wrapped up against the cold and pulling it all down.

Then it started to rain. And rain and rain.

Happy thoughts, keep smiling…….

Now there’s rain and there’s rain and we’ve seen the latter this week. Nothing else for it, time to curl up with a pad, pencil and a pile of gardening books. Light the fire, make a brew and see how long it takes for a purring cat to start climbing all over your books and a dog to bed down on your feet.

We’ve made a wish list for what we’d like to see on our plates next year, got a list of seeds we need together and had lots of sweet potato thoughts.

And then the sun came out! Oh what a difference a clear sky and some sunshine can make.

Perfect timing for the smallholders meet up.

For the November meeting we gathered at Martin & Jan’s woodland and watched impressive tree climbing and felling…..


A horse pulling logs….


very easily and efficiently!


Then getting lots of well deserved attention.



Catching up with friends….


and being mesmerised by an open fire.


Jan filled our bellies with another delicious lunch…..


cooked on a camp fire.


Oh the great outdoors!


This woodland’s even got a…..


I chuckle at how I say, ‘that’s a beauty’ when I see this! Oh how my composting bog knowledge has increased, oh how my world has changed!

Then John gave a talk…..


about these….


The Asian hornet also known as Vespa velutina or if that wasn’t scary enough the Asian predatory wasp.

They’ve reached Normandy and may soon be coming to a town near you.

Now, I make light because they are not aggressive in nature. That said, upset the Asian hornet and they charge….in a group. They are bad news for bee keepers as if the Asian hornet finds a colony they settle down and make prey of honey bees.

Now, we could all plant up a load of these –



Sarracenia attracts, traps and kills the hornets but appears to leave bees, wasps and European hornets alone – clever stuff eh. Bravo to the head of the botanical gardens in Nantes for this discovery.

If re-thinking your garden planning to accomodate some Sarracenia doesn’t appeal you could make some traps just like Mandy showed us in her July post, Picking up the pieces. These traps need to be good and sweet and in position by the end of February when the queens begin to buzz around. For each queen trapped thats around 200 hornets down.

So when you hear of ‘killer hornets out to attack’ fear not. Build traps and don’t get confused in the buzz. Remember the Asian hornet is actually slightly smaller than the European hornet and no more dangerous. The Asian hornet is in our part of the world. Luckily for us the Asian ‘giant’ hornet is not. The Asian ‘giant’ hornet is very dangerous. This is the world’s largest hornet and has an unbarbed sting so it can sting, sting, sting injecting powerful venom. The Asian ‘giant’ hornet kills between 30 and 40 people each year.

So, there’s a reason not to emigrate to tropical parts!

Have a good week.

Hal x



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