Woke up this morning to cloudy skies and cool air. Rain is predicted today and will be very welcome. Hopefully no watering later. It has been a few months since my last post, I just never seen to have any time to sit and write anymore. It gets quite frustrating at times, as I have every intention but then life just gets in the way.
Update on mum...she is as healthy as an ox. She is eating well and drinks OK too. She sits a lot and anything and everything wears here out. She helps wash up, but we have to check the water as she will use cold water instead of hot. She will get the washing in and fold the clothes but this really wears her out. She is sleeping a good 12 hours now with the help from the melatonin and herb capsule she has at night. Around the full moon, she wanders in the night and we have had a few bad nights sleep. The moon cycles seem to really unsettle her. We are now locking doors to ensure she cannot hurt herself in the event that I do not hear her get up. This hasn't happened yet, I must sleep with one ear open at all times. 
About 6 weeks ago we had an animal attack. It wiped out our ducklings, ducks and had a few chickens that wouldn't go in at night to roost. We were left with about 5 ducklings out of 30. We were devastated. But we spent a few days sorting the fence line again and we now hope we are safe once again. We have had another batch of ducklings hatch since then so we should be OK for meat this coming year. One little duckling I found was still alive, barely. He had a head injury. I put him in my pocket so that he would not die alone. He was a fighter and so far has pulled through. He has had to learn how to do everything again. He has been named Dougal and he is just beginning to walk. He is still struggling with balance but I am sure he will get there.

Sincen January I have been doing a permaculture design course. I am hoping to get it finished and graduate in December. I am really enjoying this course and implementing new ideas. We have realised that there are a lot of things we can do to ease our workload. One of them is growing perennial vegetables. We have some already, asparagus, artichokes, fruit bushes and our trees but there are lots more that we can grow that will cut down our planting every year. These plants will also help improve our soil by adding organic matter naturally as plants do in the wild. I am using this book to help me source plants that will grow here.

I have been canning like crazy here. In the last week alone I have gone through almost 150 jars. Our store room is filling up nicely. At the minute I am canning apples from our trees. I have made apple sauce to use when making cakes. This enables me to cut back on the sugar mainly for mums health. As she progresses with this disease she will crave sweet things. I am hoping that I can ease these cravings with healthier foods that I make at home. It will also help keep her regular as that is another side effect of only eating sugar. As well as the sauce I have canned apple and blackberries and just plain apples for pies. I have also frozen some whole for baked apples in the winter months. Something new I have tried is canning figs. I made a cake from them that was very nice so there will be more canned this week. I have canned lots of tomatoes and our third planting are still producing so more to come. Jams made this year are plum and fig. They are both yummy. In the winter I will make another batch of marmalade too. 

The dehydrator has been working overtime. It has been on drying pretty much all summer. I have been drying leaves to make into green powders to add to cooking. I have dried olive leaves, mallow, amaranth,  purslane and lambs quarter too. All of these leaves add extra vitamins, minerals and fiber to foods. All of last years canned grapes have been dried for use in cakes and Christmas treats. At the minute the dehydrator is drying figs and apples too.

The garden is beginning to show signs of the seasons changing. The squash plants are coming to the end of their productive life. We still have lots of peppers, aubergines, celery and sweet potatoes to come. We planted out a second lot of corn in August. I think it may have been too late but its just an experiment to see if we can get 2 crops a year. The yellow cherry toms have finished but the red seem to have got a second lease of life as the temperatures drop from 40 degrees to about 30. We have lots of winter seedlings growing, cabbage, cauliflower, brocoli and Brussels ready to plant out as and when we have a space.