After the usual stop-go start to the harvest we have finished combining the oilseed rape, which has yielded better than expected. Now we have moved into the wheat. The weather during the last three months seems to have suited our keuper marl clay soil - around 70 millimetres in May, less in June with a lot of sunshine but one night of heavy rain, dry in the first two weeks of July then one week of small amounts daily. We are seeing the results in ears of corn with plump grain, but, as I have said before, until it is safely in the store we will not be making any predictions. The weather always has the last word.
Not so on the domestic front: blackcurrants, redcurrants, loganberries are now finished, turned into jam or stored in the deep freezer for winter puddings or jam making when I have more time. The birds got most of the cherry crop, which was huge this year. As soon as I start to pick them it is the signal for the birds to clear the tree. I do not really mind as I still have jelly made last year but next year I shall have to be quicker off the mark.
It is a daily job keeping the bird feeders stocked up. The woodpecker is a regular feeder on the peanuts and I frequently hear his call in the garden. Young starlings, their greyish plumage differentiating them from the adult bird, are also coming to the feeders; they are probably from the second brood of the season.
I have had no success so far trying to take photos of butterflies on the buddleia although they are there in spectacular numbers. Also spectacular is the number of field mice that the cats bring to my door. They catch voles as well, which I am sorry about, as they are the principle food of barn owls and apparently in short supply. Their most impressive trophy this year was a stoat; I wish they did not feel the need to show me their catches but they are not to be deterred.
Visitors to The Mews have had no lack of choice when deciding how to spend the day out.
Reg Taylor's Garden Centre near Southwell is once again holding an exhibition of contemporary and traditional sculpture in the Swan Sanctuary, a lovely place to walk at any time. Held every two years it is on until the end of August and is one I shall definitely visit. I would also recommend the recently-opened Civil War Centre in Newark which is attracting many visitors. Visit and participate in the events for the family taking place daily during the summer holidays. There is, in fact, such a wide range of things to see and do in this area that perhaps one day I will draw up a programme and take a holiday myself.