With summer now over everything is starting to take on a real autumnal feel. Everything takes on a much slower pace, which is a relief after a very hectic summer. And what a Summer it has been, with the most fantastic weather! It's been the hottest, driest and sunniest since 2006 and it really showed. We had the best pick your own season in many years, between you, you picked 10 tonnes of strawberries!
There are still lots of things to do on the farm - we have lots of autumn fruit to harvest - sweetcorn is at its best right now and we are out harvesting this on a daily basis. It is also time to start lifting our main crop potatoes, saxon and desiree, these will then be graded on the potato riddler and bagged up into 25kg and 12kg sacks for the farm shop.
Until the first frosts we will still have a small range of soft fruit. Apart from harvesting we also have lots of things to do to get ready for the winter, cutting out and tying up all the cane fruit (raspberries, tayberries, blackberries etc) is very important to reduce the risk of disease and make sure only the healthiest and strongest canes are left for a good crop next year. Tying up protects the canes from damage by the wind over winter.
Although the busiest time of year for the livestock is during lambing, in the Spring, we now have to make sure everything is ready for the winter. The tups (rams) go in with the ewes in October so we can lamb in the spring and after that they are all housed for the winter in our sheds. Some of the finishing cattle will also be housed over the winter, this protects the fields and allows them to recover in time for spring turn out and it also makes feeding them and checking them during the bad Winter weather a much easier job.