End of Summer
The signs are there, the swallows swarmed high in the sky a few days ago and have left.....about 3 weeks earlier than last year. Again, this was followed by spiders seeking refuge in the house, being a sure sign at our cottage that summer has gone. ( did it arrive I wonder...how did we miss it?) At lunchtime I could smell the smoke of the first woodburner keeping a cottage warm and I reached for a warm sweater. The outside temperature dropped to about 17 degrees and the colour of the sky is looking autumnal. It is August, next week is known as the summer bank holiday, a last holiday weekend in which families usually go and seek out a picnic on the beach before school starts again.
In the polytunnel, the zucchini and butternut squash are rotting on the stems; a sign that the humidity and temperature are too low. The tomatoes are gradually turning red but 90% are still green. The plums are not yet ready and the apples are falling from the tree. The plums are late and the apples early. Beans are trying to produce but lack heat and the cabbages are being ravaged by caterpillars. All in all not a particularly productive year in the garden. I have no beans set by for winter like last year and tomatoes depends on what happens otherwise we will be having a lot of green tomatoe chutney. The plums will become jam. At least there will be jam , bread, cheese and chutney over winter. As a result I expect food prices to rise, and not just locally but globally. We have been used to regular patterns of sowing and harvesting as nature has played along with us, now I am not so sure. I shall continue to monitor one year with the next but take a gamble on when to sow the seeds for next year, as April was very hot here and it appears to me that we have shifted 3 weeks forward.
On a larger scale, fires, storms, floods.... Nature does seem to be reacting to something.