Let’s start with the big news first: Tufty, our poorly hen is still with us!!

Tufty is still alive!
August 2018

When I sent last month’s newsletter out on the Saturday, we let her out for a final day in the fields, thinking if - by a miracle - she did manage to make it through the day we would still have to end her suffering on the Sunday. When we came home that night, there was no sign of Tufty - she had vanished. So, we assumed she hadn’t made it and had wandered off somewhere and died peacefully. That is until the neighbour came to our door to say she was creating havoc in their garden! We were gobsmacked! My husband went to pick her up and when we examined her, there hardly seemed to be anything wrong with her neck at all! It’s still ever so slightly bent over, but nothing like it was weeks and indeed, the day, before! We couldn’t believe it! Now that she seems to be back to her normal (sweet) self - she’s back outside with the rest of the flock again creating havoc in our garden. Apparently the vitamins we gave her had a positive effect and we’ve continued feeding her the special mash once a week, just to be on the safe side.

They never fail to surprise you, don’t they?!

So does the Scottish weather by the way; what is happening to the climate?? It has been incredibly dry and really warm too, by Scottish standards that is. One of the (many) reasons I moved to Scotland, is the slightly cooler climate, I don’t really like anything over 23C, but this year there have been plenty of times when temperatures have risen above that. Mind you, in the Netherlands it’s currently over 30C, so it’s still cooler over here. But for the first time, our garden is not 4 weeks behind everywhere else! In contrast, because of the extremely hot weather in Holland, my parents’ strawberries are behind ours! But what a harvest we’ve had so far; the strawberries never seemed to stop (11kg), the cherries are the best we’ve ever had (7kg), the onions are that big, they are ready to lift now (something we normally do at the end of August) and it looks like we’ll be making sauerkraut by the end of August too instead of September!

You normally start storing vegetables from the end of September, which ideally should last you until February/March. But because we have to harvest everything before September, we might not have enough stored vegetables by the time March comes round! I try to overcome that by sowing lots of greens (like kale, purslane and endive) in the greenhouse over winter and they should be ready in March/April. Keep an eye on our Facebook page, because if I have a glut of something, I will sell it in the shop. The hot weather is also a cause for concern - we can manage to water our garden with watering cans, but large farms can’t, so reading how the drought is affecting farmers in the news is commonplace.

Oh, by the way, did you see River City on 11th July? Or were you watching the footie? Anyway, if you did tune into the best (and let’s face it only) Scottish soap, you couldn’t have missed me - I was spectacularly in that episode! I was a guest at the Murdoch’s birthday party and feature in a couple of key scenes. You can even hear me converse in the background! It’s still available to watch at BBC iPlayer (not any longer), and the party scene is featured around the 20 minute mark. Here is a still from the scene:

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