There was a small drama this week when we found a young hedgehog entangled in a badminton net in the garden. The first step was to cut the net and remove the animal, still entangled, before we could begin to free him. Good light, fine scissors plus spineproof garden gloves were required. As you can imagine, every time the little animal felt a movement he did what hedgehogs do, i.e. he curled up tightly. Happily, with patience, we were able to remove every strand of netting and place him back in the garden in a sheltered spot. We were not sure if the shock would be too much for him but hedgehogs are clearly made of sterner stuff. A visit to the release site later in the day revealed that he had uncurled and was foraging actively under the hedge. A story with a happy ending.
Still in the garden, we have had a tremendous crop of cobnuts. Usually the squirrels get most of them but this year even they have been overwhelmed. Now I am looking for recipes using green cobnuts; if anyone has any suggestions do pass them on. I have not been so fortunate with the walnuts; when the squirrels don't get them the crows do; they take them long before they are ready to take off the tree.
Incidentally, you may know cobnuts as hazelnuts, dried and sold in the shell or ready-shelled or perhaps as Kent cobs, much sought-after in the green state. They are not to be confused with filberts, which are oval in shape and the husk completely covers the nut. These are less popular than cobnuts as the husk is more difficult to remove than the half husk on the rounder nut.
We have been lucky, weatherwise, on the farm. The oilseed rape yielded well, considering the poor start to the season. There was even debate as to whether or not it would be better to plough it up and re-drill. Fortunately it was decided to leave it in and hope for the best; a right decision as it turned out. The wheat yielded well with a low moisture content, which saved us drying costs. We only had to use the dryer for a short time to cool the grain for storage. The straw has been baled and cleared, allowing light cultivation of the fields prior to preparation for the next crop, We still have field beans to harvest. This will be interesting as we have not grown them before. I will report on the result next time.