Helga the Explorer (no relation to ‘Dora’) is even bolder these days; she thinks nothing of marching straight into our neighbours’ house!

Our 10-hour thunderstorm
September 2020

“What?!” I hear you say, but our neighbour told us she was on the phone when – out of the corner of her eye - she spotted a white chicken strutting towards the dog’s food bowl. The dog, a big boxer dog, was completely gobsmacked and could only stand and stare at the sudden intrusion of this uninvited guest. Of course, my neighbour ‘shoo-ed’ Helga out of the house, but now Helga, undeterred, waits outside our neighbours’ house waiting to be fed. She must have told the others because they now join her too! Sorry Mrs. J, I have spoken to Helga and told her not to do it, but of course, Helga being the Explorer, wouldn’t listen to a word I said.

Then there is Hannah, who enjoys spending the night anywhere other than her own coop. We don’t really know where she sleeps exactly, but it’s happened a few times now – she does return the next day, though - alive and well and in one piece thank goodness! Maybe she does make her way back to the coup but after it’s been locked up for the night. Or maybe it gets too dark for her and she gets disoriented? Or maybe she’s having a sleep-over with some of her friends? One thing’s for sure - she better find somewhere safe to sleep because we have spotted some foxes wandering around the neighbourhood.

Speaking of wildlife... the other day I heard a strange barking sound coming from the field next to our garden, only to see a young roe deer walking along the fence trying to find a way out. He must have found one in the end, because the next morning he was nowhere to be seen.

By the way, what tremendous thunderstorms we had back in early August! I don’t know what the weather was like where you live, but here in Glendevon, there was literally non-stop thunder and lightning from 8pm until 6am! In the Netherlands you get severe thunderstorms occasionally and I absolutely love them, but I have never experienced anything like this. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep much that night. Thankfully there wasn’t much damage, apart from part of the A823 (our main road) being washed away and our landline telephone being struck by lightning. When JP and I went to have a look at the damaged road, we got chatting to other locals and while we were chatting, more of the road crumbled and crashed into the burn below! That’s when we thought:”Right, best not to get too close!”

So, our main road is closed for the foreseeable future, thankfully, I am on the ‘right’ side, so I don’t need to  go out of my way to get to the shop. The latest update is, although the road had reopened with a temporary bridge, it is now closed again for a few days.

It’s harvesting time again and it’s interesting how different years produce different gluts. Last year it was strawberries, this year we’ve got cherries (a whopping 13kg, 28lbs!); last year we had an average harvest of French beans, this year we are still harvesting for the 4th consecutive month! Last year I didn’t have any pumpkins, now I’ve got three!

I am so proud of my little pumpkins, they are a small variety and I only had 3 plants, two in the greenhouse and one outside. The one growing outside didn’t do very well, but the two in the greenhouse have produced 3 pumpkins between them, one of which was ripe at the beginning of August. I am also harvesting tomatoes from the greenhouse and the French beans outside are also producing now. The runner beans are doing really well too. I have planted nasturtiums in between the beans and not only do their flowers look really pretty, the bees love it and are pollinating my beans at the same time! I am also growing a 3m tall sunflower, but what was I thinking?! Because of our elevated position (790 ft above sea level) we experience pretty strong winds and every year we have to use guy ropes to secure our runner beans, so why on earth did I grow a 3m tall sunflower?? It is still standing, but only because it’s attached to 2 metal posts which go deep into the ground! So, here I am hoping that it will continue to stand tall until it flowers and the seeds are ripe for the birds. Fingers crossed!

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