Went to the Giant's Causeway at 8 a.m. to avoid the coach loads of tourists. Came away a bit underwhelmed. The rocks on Staffa and at Shiskine golf course on Arran more impressive?
The sky is full of rags, rooks fighting the gale. The grass is long and very wet, beetroot are full of holes from munching slugs as are the remaining potatoes. I picked enough damsons to make a litre of damson gin. Did not crush the fruit just pricked them with a silver fork, bunged in the sugar (how much depends on how sweet you want) and gin and put away in a cool dark place (the back porch) for a few months.
One thing I found was that damsons eaten of the tree when ripe are sweet and juicy, not at all bitter like sloes.
The courgettes marrows are doing well but no flowers on the sweet peas, no butternut squashes, ate our first bit of purple sprouting broccoli.
The small wasp Diplolepis rosae lays its eggs in Dog Rose buds and forces them to develop into a large red-tinged moss-like galls from which the young wasps eventually emerge. Known locally as Robin's pincushions.
Having talked of success and failure in the garden I have only to walk up the lane to find fruit everywhere -
Blackberries or brambles and sloes,
rose hips and haws
crab apples in the road fallen from a hedge side tree.
Of course not all the wild fruit are harmless - the gloriously red berries on the right are from the wild honeysuckle and are moderately poisonous. Other bright red berries - colour a warning sign - include Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum} and the various nightshades. (Woody on the left)(Not the Deadly nightshade, that has black berries.)
To move on, a tale of two tree trunks. The one on the left was covered in ivy so I attacked it and thought I had been successful until I saw green shoots emerging.
On the right the rugged bark that can only be an oak. That is what I call texture.
A note about marrow (overgrown courgette (zucchini)) gluts - planted far too many, made gallons of soup with roasted garlic, was disgusting and had to put it down the toilet!
Why do I grow so many? Probably because it is one of the things that grow well and relatively trouble free.
It is cold! Usually we do not get frost yet but just about zero last night.
Finally, as some of you know, I have a habit of coming home from places with a pebble or two in my pocket. Unfortunately these stones were a bit big no matter how deep my pockets.