Autumn is most definitely in the air. Social media is filled with people celebrating, agonising or bemoaning their / their offspring’s exam results, the nights are drawing in and the brambles are finally starting to ripen.

I imagine you can guess which I am most interested in…

I’ve done a few picking excursions – a few bags already stashed in the freezer and a bag up here on the croft ready to add some more on a morning pick tomorrow and make the first batch of bramble jam of the season. It’s very tidily coincided with running out of two flavours of jam in the shed this week. Time to get out the list of how many of each type we made last year and work out which were the best sellers to determine what amount we make of each flavour this year, and whether we introduce any new flavours. We have invested in some teeny jam jars alongside our usual full size ones so we can offer little tester sizes and are thinking about making up Croft 3 hampers of our various produce and crafts for next season in the shop.

Another set of friends visited this week – someone I used to work with in the library service back in West Sussex. It was lovely to spend time with someone who knew us before we were the people we are today, back when we lived in a house, had proper jobs and were just a bit crazy rather than entirely mad! It was also lovely to introduce them to Rum which they saw at her best with sunshine, blue skies and a sea like glass for the regular Thursday boat trip. We spotted porpoises and sea birds but sadly no dolphins or whales this week. We were thrilled to learn last weekend that Ann, the woman who rows out from Soay to collect the post each week has just published a book about her life and ordered it straight away. It’s been awhile since we last read a book aloud, something we used to do fairly regularly but we’re already halfway through Ann’s book in just two sittings. I suspect we’ll finish it tomorrow. Reading it has served to remind me anew how lucky we are to be having our adventure, rekindled my resolve to get writing myself and made me realise how similar in many ways yet utterly different in others our wee islands are.

It’s been really midgey this week, easily the worst week of the year so far for them. It’s meant a few days trapped inside as it’s fine to be out walking briskly and faster than they fly but you cannot stay still, so tasks like weeding raised beds, watering plants, hanging out laundry or feeding the animals are not tolerable for more than a few minutes. I did manage to weed the unplasticked strawberry bed and put some compost around all the wee runners. My next indoor day task is to create a proper month by month planner for the growing and do some research on suitable mulch for various crops along with learning more about feed for the crops. I have some great permaculture books on the shelf which I have not yet read properly and suspect all the info I need is already here in the caravan just waiting for me to learn it. The midges have meant plenty of time to read and crochet though – I’m about two thirds of the way through the latest freeform crochet bag – this time it’s a purple and lilac one which is gorgeous if I do say so myself, infact if I had any occasion or justification for needing a bag myself I would be very inclined to hang on to it!

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