Summer is finally, officially upon us.  It’s felt like summer for quite a while here due to the ridiculously good weather we’ve been having, but it truly began yesterday.  And for the first day of summer?  A good old fashioned thunderstorm, the heavens opened and the rain, oh it did fall.  Unfortunately I’ve still not actually got around to attaching the IBC to the drains and so it was all wasted, however in the afternoon, when the rains stopped and the sun was baking us once again, I managed to siphon the water from the waterbutt into the IBC, meaning the butt is now almost empty again and ready for a good downpour, and the IBC isn’t quite as redundant as it was before.

I can’t believe we are already so far through this year, the last few months (since the sun started to shine) have totally flown by and I’m already starting to mourn the end of summer (even though it’s only just begun).  Although the end of summer does mean the start of full time school for the boy, and I’m not mournful about that…or the start of Strictly Come Dancing.  There are still far too many jobs to get finished off, the flowerbed needs more mulch, the veg patch needs finishing, our fruit bushes and the brassicas need netting, there are still seeds to plant (even though it’s getting too late, I’m ever the optimist) and there’s a ridiculous amount of weeding already needed.  I’d hoped to get some of these done before summer began (to be fair I had planted sweetcorn already however a chicken, trapped in the workshop, managed to do for those) particularly finishing off the veg patch so it would be providing a plentiful bounty throughout summer, but such is life – and as I keep reminding myself, there’s always next year, and we will (fingers crossed) still get something from it, just not as much as I’d hoped.

We are surrounded by signs of summer; the hedgerows are starting to lose their flowers as the fruit slowly appears, the air is full of birdsong and if you listen carefully as you walk along the lane you can hear young birds calling from nests hidden within the depths of the trees and bushes, and the sun seems to be refusing to go to bed – meaning the temptation for a beer in the garden is never far away.  The swallows are another summer constant; as I garden, they are constantly swooping around me, and are now sitting on nests in a couple of the outhouses including my workshop, one always scoots out as soon as I go in, but the other of the pair just seems to tolerate my intrusions and sits there whatever.  We also have a load of young sparrows appearing, in fact one appeared today, dangling from a chicken’s beak.  I have a feeling Tilly may have caught it and given it to the chickens in repayment for their constant harassment of our other cat Ernie.  I managed to catch the chicken with sparrow (thanks to a helpfully abandoned football net), but the bird was dead and so I left her to it.  I’d rather it was scoffed by a chicken than its little life totally wasted.  Unfortunately it took the chicken quite a while to eat it all and so she ran around the yard with its remains for a good hour, with lots of others chasing her, trying to get a peck, before it finally vanished.

I’m hoping our first summer in Cumbria will be a good one, I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous about the thought of the 6 long weeks of the school holidays and just how batty the children will have sent me by the end of it, but despite my reservations, I’m hoping there’ll be lots of time outdoors, climbing fells and just generally enjoying our amazing surroundings.

And finally for the new season, a new look blog, because we’ve now been here for, at least a part of, all four seasons and I felt it was time for a change away from the seasonal calendar to one more representative of what the posts are about.  Of course, the bale elevator is never far away.  I hope you all like it.

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