Got up early this morning and it was pitch black. The sunrise is getting later and it was really noticeable even from Friday. It is getting dark now about 9.15 pm but we haven´t grasped the concept of the days pulling in yet and very often eat our evening meal outside in the dark! Having said that, we are trying to slowly move the animals feeding times. We like to feed them two hours before dusk, giving them time to scratch around for the last morsels and ensuring that no food is left to encourage rats and mice.
It has been cooler here the last few days, over cast with a light breeze. It has been a lovely rest-bite from the very hot temperatures and has made us feel human again, even getting us thinking about outdoor jobs. We have so much planned for the autumn and winter that we don´t really know where to start. I guess we will just have to sit  down and prioritise but as anyone knows, living the way we do, every job is a priority as they all make life easier.
As the last few days have been cooler we decided to have another go at the permaculture bed we have planned. We thought with it being overcast it would be the best time to attack some digging. How wrong could we have been. It has been so dry that the soil is baked and it was really hard work. This digging out will be the reed bed for the kitchen waste water. There will, eventually, be two reed beds with a path between. A pipe will run under the path to feed the second bed. This way if we do get lots of rain, both of the beds will have run off systems to ensure that the water goes where we want it to.
We are mounding the soil up each side to store more water, at the front by the rocks the artichokes will be planted and at the back will be fruit trees. All of this is going to have an arbour made from the reeds growing around here so that it matches in with the rest of the garden.

This week also saw us finish the summer kitchen as it has now been named. This is the old kitchen re-purposed out on the terrace. We have used all the old material, worktops and cupboards and made a functioning cooking space. We think this is a great space now. We have comfy seating all around the edge of the terrace on which to relax, with a table in the middle to eat on and now the kitchen to cook. We spend a lot of time out on the terrace so this just makes it that little bit more a-tuned to our way of life.

Over the weekend we turned our attention to feeding times for the animals. We spend a lot of time each day, mixing food, cutting up scraps and giving the food out. We would love to be able to give some of this time up. It runs our life, as in, if we go out we have to be back early afternoon to mix food and feed...either that or we cannot go out until after feeding. As the animals are free range this should not have happened but with the very dry year nothing is growing out on the land, so feeding has had to be increased to compensate, after all we decided to have the animals. They give us eggs and meat so it is only right that we look after them to the best of our ability. We have made and trialled two types of feeders in the small chicken run. The chickens took to them straight away, as chickens would when food is involved! They both work but one works better than the other as there is less spillage. The chickens now have a constant supply of food and last night we didn´t have to go down and feed them. We have worked out that we will need another 12 of these feeders, so we are going to buy the bits we don´t have and hopefully have these up and running this week. We will have to fill the feeders up about twice a week and as a bonus it will mean we can have a lay in which will just be the best present anyone can give us!

This is the first feeder we made, but the food falls everywhere and being so worried about attracting vermin we think this one is going to have to go. Saying that the chickens took to it straight away.

This is the second type and hardly any food is spilled. This is the feeder we are planning to put outside on the land. The only problem we can foresee  is if it rains...some kind of rain cover is going to be needed to keep the food dry.