Doing a rough check on what has done well around the farm this year and what has performed poorly -I would say that the biggest disappointment has been the apples and the plums. In both cases these have been largely non-existent. Walnuts too have been a disappointment.
Everything else has performed to perfection. Raspberries, runner beans, peas, broad beans, sweet peas, onions - all these in the vegetable garden have done very well indeed.
But it is in the hedgerows that the real burgeoning has taken place.
Every holly bush and tree is covered with fat, red berries (although whether they survive until Christmas or not will largely depend on the weather), every crab apple tree has branches hanging low with red or golden fruit (the cattle are waiting for them to drop off because they seem to enjoy their sourness), the sloes, which are almost ripe, are more plentiful than they have been for years. But the crop which amazes the farmer - the best crop he can ever remember - is the hazelnuts. We have quite a few hazel trees in the pasture hedges and every one is thick with nuts. Yesterday the farmer picked up those which had fallen off in the breeze (I forbid him to get up the trees to pick them when he has a severe balance problem) and brought them home, and today he has added more to the bowl.
I have to tell you that I had one or two last night and they are absolutely delicious - so fresh tasting and quite unlike the ones you buy in the shops, which have been picked for a few weeks. So I am sorry Mr. Squirrel. I know you have been hanging around for a few weeks just waiting for the nuts to ripen, but we are hoping to get at them first. You can stick to the ones at the tops of the trees - you are agile enough to get up there with no effort at all.
I hope you like the bowl. It is hand made of white ash, by Richard le Blonc and I bought it in Cheticamp, a lovely coastal village in Nova Scotia.