One of the worries for farmers is what the weather is going to do. At present it is very unpredictable. Although the pressure is quite high on the barometer, there are frequent heavy showers. Yesterday we had an inch of rain in three hours, yet several hours of bright sunshine. The weather forecasters had said there would be only light showers in the east, so on Sunday (better the day, better the deed) the farmer cut four fields for second-crop silage. It was just drying nicely yesterday when the heavens opened. This morning he tossed it about in the bright sunshine and it dried beautifully. They started to bale it up half an hour ago and within ten minutes it was pouring with rain. It still is and the balers are sitting in the cab of the tractor and waiting to see what happens.
I have been out and about this afternoon with my camera. I popped the camera over the garden wall and took a snap where I had thrown a packet of hardy annuals - a few bits of candytuft, one marigold (complete with insect), lots of bright california poppies and a pretty red flower I don't recognise (identification anyone?)
Then in the field I came across this lovely "pincushion" on the stem of a wild rose. That is what we called them when we were children. Does anyone know what they are? The farmer thinks they are some sort of "gall" which houses insect larva - I'm not sure but doesn't it look pretty with the light behind it?
Yesterday we picked blackberries, today I made a blackberry and apple pie and the farmer made the rest into the first lot of Blackberry Whisky (1 pound berries, 1 pound sugar, 1 bottle cheap whisky - leave in demijohn for six weeks, strain and drink on cold winter nights). Now we are watching the sloes for the sloe gin - you will see in the photograph that there are plenty of them but they are nowhere near ripe yet. The recipe is the same but substitute gin or vodka for the whisky and if you don't feel like wasting time pricking each sloe with a darning needle then put them in the freezer overnight and when you add the gin they will all split and release their juices.