02 Apr 2016 - Jo Duggan
Autumn on Flaxbourne

The summer was another dry one and although Marlborough was fairly drought ridden, it did mean the Monarch butterfly was around all summer and even into May. We have planted lots of Swan plants to attract them and for their caterpillars to feed from. It also meant that the local cricket teams could play cricket on the Elterwater Lake that has dried up this year for the first time in 8 years I believe - great fun for all.

The Monarch butterfly

At the end of March we were busy finishing the harvest of the hazelnuts. After quite a dry March the hazelnuts were falling all through the month onto nice dry ground which makes life a little easier for picking up. What also made the harvesting a little easier was the purchase of the Nut harvester, a balloon of wire which is rolled over the the nuts and the action of this opens up the wires and grabs the nuts and closes up after it. So you just roll it over the husk free nuts...... the husk tends to get in the way,  that has to be moved away and some varieties don't loose their husks so there is always a certain amount of grovelling around on your hands and knees. 

The crop was pretty good and they are all out in the sun drying which takes at least 6 weeks. 

April came and went before we realised it was here !! 

We did go away at Easter for a week ( unfortunately a death in the family). Then it was a catching up month so trimming hedges and weeding the garden, keeping up with the growing of veg. crops in the garden. We also had the last two Molesworth Tours coming in for a tour and lunch at the grove. 

 For a long time we have been planning to grow a lot of natives on a steep bank which is just below the house. We hope it will attract some native birds eventually. So as the olive harvest is looming we are aiming to get this bank planted very soon now. Most of the plants were bought today so we'll get on with within the next few days.

As the month of April comes to a end we are looking at the olives now and they are looking good, just beginning to change colour. 

We hope to harvest mid to late May this year, so we are looking to get everything ready now for the 4-6 weeks of hard work. Not just the machines have to be fit but our bodies too!

Hopefully we'll get some helpers from www.helpx.com for the harvest. 😊

The hazelnut harvester

The dropping hazelnuts

Soon the olives will be ready to harvest - they are changing colour from green to purple and then to black. Looking forward to seeing all our helpers. 

Olives 2