Gardening is a four stage process--Germination of seeds, preparing the beds and planting, harvesting and preparing for winter. We are beginning stage three. We have been really busy here with harvesting and processing the harvest, but that is just one aspect of what's been going on at the lottie. Pruning the fruit trees. Every time I begin then it starts ingrain. I can watch the weather apps all I like, but Mother does what she likes doesn't she. The fruit trees and the large laurel hedge segment. It is higher than my Bride likes and wider than I like. It only has to be high enough to give us privacy from our neighbour. I mean, we don't want to sit on our little bench and snog while the neighbours look on. Know what I mean. Here is our section after the clipping. We like to keep a strip of soil between the fence and the plants clean. It helps keeping the weeds down. We had an inspection from the "Potato Police"a few days ago and given a clean bill of health; however, Phytophthora was sighted by the "Police" in another part of the complex, upwind of us. This blight comes every year--it isn't a question of "will it", rather "when it" . We saw some suspicious signs on out spuds a few days later and decided to remove the foliage, as the spud bed is relatively close to the toms...and then when we dug up one plant for spuds to eat, we saw that the tubers were well developed and decided to just empty the beds. A couple of foto's: We stalled all of the spuds out to dry on several pages of newspaper. We get in excess of 35 spuds on each plant. This is a good race: We have been pleased with these potato's-- La Ratte d'Ardeche. I then weeded and raked the plot flat, then sowed green manure-- Borage and Phacelia alternately. You can see the spud bed on the following pic: On the foreground left are Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Leeks and far right, Parsnips. The beans, courgettes and toms are keeping us hopping: We took a couple of leeks for the leek curry casserole as well. They have a ways to go still, those leeks. As you can see on the foto we took all the sweet-peas that were blooming. Gorsh--those long-stems really fill the house with their fragrance! Those sweet-peas are just beginning, so we are hoping to soon be picking them regularly. Bean picking also has its challenges--we call them "lurkers". Why "lurkers"? Look here: You see the beans there to the left...you also see a big leaf centrally in the foto, pull it aside and voilà ! The two lurkers. It is because of these sneaky tricks that beans play that is the reason that it takes so long to do the picking. These French climbers re one thing, but the Runner beans are even worse with their hiding. We each take a section of our bean plot and then when we are through, then we switch and check each-other's section. You always find some lurker...heck you can pick walk away to take a tea break, come back and still discover some lurkers staring right at you! Tch--What are they like. You saw those white "balls" four pics back...off to the side didn't you? Those are the nets for our blueberries--a necessary evil regrettably. The Merels, or blackbirds , would clean them off in no time. Here we are at work: Just look at these beauties. In the end, we had 2 kilo's. : We harvested the Swiss chard again, and so began the processing cycle again as well. Everything seems to be a bit early this year, like ~two weeks early. It is keeping us on our toes. Having said that, we are eating fresh veggies every day. An update on the bees--two of the three hives have new queens, one failed. So yesterday the bee dealer in our area came by with a young three-day old dame. Then we put her in a small tube made of rolled-up wax foundation and then shoved it in-between two frames. The head end was shaved a bit to make it thin. Also a small split in the end so that she can stick her tongue out and hopefully the workers will feed her. In a day or two, she will emerge and be accepted by the colony members which will have had time enough then to become accustomed to her odour. It has been difficult this year.