Last week was a bitterly cold week. A hard frost on Friday morning, which barely thawed, prompted us to abandon harvesting parsnips before a fork or backs were broken!
As the Brits on the farm comment on how cold it is both Bob, from Czech Republic, and Nerijus, from Lithuania, look unaffected by the weather - no woolly hats until it’s zero! The town where Nerijus is from in Lithuania now has over 12 inches of snow. This and the change of our wind direction will make our countryside welcome to some winter migrants. Judith notes that Waxwings, Redwings and Fieldfares could well be on their way from many of the Baltic and Scandinavian countries.
The hedges on the farm are noticeably full of flocks of Finches, in particular Chaffinch. With many of the Hawthorn hedges now stripped of berries the Thrush species will be turning to Ivy and Sloe fruit.
After dark we seem to be surrounded by owls hooting and just before Christmas I noticed a pair of Lapwings that have taken up residency in one of our fields and can be heard every evening. I haven’t seen the Lapwings in daylight but I caught a glimpse of one at dusk last week.
We will soon start in earnest harvesting our Jerusalem Artichokes, and by the end of the month Kalettes and Purple Brussel Sprouts should be ready to enjoy. Tender Purple Sprouting Broccoli continues to be a delicious highlight of mid-winter.
As always, please wash your vegetables and fruit before you use them.