Cabbage white butterflies are indeed white and they lay their eggs in clusters on the underside of brassica plants - in this case on broccoli plants in my vegetable garden. When the eggs hatch into caterpillars they live off the host plant which they devour with great ferocity. If they don’t get eaten by eagle eyed birds, they will eventually turn into butterflies and so the lifecycle is completed.
All of our hedgerows are full of berries and now that September has arrived much of it is starting to ripen and can be harvested. Never be too greedy and remember to leave plenty for the birds. This is a bucket of Damsons - 14 pounds in all. Farmer John’s wife has made some into damson chutney, unsurprisingly Farmer John has opted for damson gin!
This is a large black slug which can grow up to 20 cm in length, but usually 10 to 15 cm. They range in colour from jet black to chestnut and even orange. When disturbed they contract to a hemisphere. Its mucus is extremely sticky. They are an omnivorous species, eating carrion and dung as well as vegetable matter. They prefer rotting vegetation to living material. They tend to come out at night or after rainfall during the day.
Across the farm we have a number of wild bird seed mixes, an area of 7 hectares in total. They have done well over the summer and are now full of seed - quinoa, millet, buck wheat, white mustard, phacelia, chicory and sunflowers. The sunflowers are looking stunning at present with the heads following the sun. They are currently providing pollen and nectar for the pollenators, but later in the year will be a vital source of feed for our farmland birds.
With interruptions to wheat harvesting we have been using the time to gather our baled straw in. A forklift lifts the bale onto a trailer, which is used to transfer the straw to our barn. Stored in the barn it will be protected form the elements over winter so that the quality does not deteriorate - it may not be used for six months depending on next years spring. We have 575 bales to pick up and store!
We competed our 2021 wheat harvest yesterday. It was a harvest due to the amount of rainfall we had in August - we recorded 154 mm and what really didn't help was the cold northerly winds bringing cloud in off the north sea. Not only did this make it difficult for the corn to dry, but drying the corn required more heat than usual because the ambient temperature was so low. Almost all of our corn came in at over 17.5% moisture and for safe storage has to be dried down to 14.5% - that meant some long nights for the drier. While a harvest, which would normally be completed in twelve days took over a month, yields were very good so we have to be thankful for that.
Our seed has passed its necessary checks and has now to be loaded into lorries to be transported to the processing plant. The lorry can carry up to 30 tonnes of corn at a time and is filled using a forklift truck which has a bucket attachment on it. With good quality corn it usually takes about 22 buckets to fill the lorry. Grain quality so far this year has been good and the seed is going out of the stores very rapidly, on its way to farms all over the country where it will be planted this autumn.