December has arrived and we are well and truly heading into the darker months, not my favourite time of year, but at least we were able to spend this afternoon out in the garden. While Ade put the delicate plants to bed for the winter, wrapping them in fleece or bringing them under cover I did some leaf raking. Although we have lots of trees we don't actually have too much raking, as most of the small leaves from the fruit trees just seem to disappear with the wind. The leaves from the ginkgo biloba, cherry (5 trees) and walnut (2 trees) however do require raking up.
Most of the trees are now bare and the leaves a soggy mush underfoot, but as damp leaves break down much quicker the conditions were perfect. There is nothing like a garden workout to lift the mood and the smell of damp walnut leaves is quite intoxicating. The chickens were their usual helpful selves, always under my feet ready to pounce on anything edible that I uncovered as I raked and piled the leaves up. More helpful than the chickens is my Yeoman Hand Held Leaf Collector, bought for us one Christmas a few years ago and still appreciated (one of those presents that just keeps on giving). With their help I am now the proud owner of a heap of leaves almost as tall as I am and by next year they will have rotted down and be great for the potager.
After a couple of hours work the orchard was looking much better, I’d even seen signs of next years orchids, and it was time to return to the kitchen where a warm mulled wine was waiting for me. Now to serve the chicken and pumpkin the slow cooker has been busy cooking all day.
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