Sunday, 10 October 2010

Autumn Doings (and Stone Coffins)

At last, some dry weather, which should last for a couple of weeks. The autumn raspberries are now producing well.
Removing the pumpkins has given these parsnips more space. I don't start picking them until after the first frost, so they have more growing to do yet.
Runner beans on 10th October - not very common so late in the year, but a welcome addition to our vegetable hoard this year.
Still lots of chard and spinach to come too.
These broad beans seeded themselves, growing from beans which were in a pod I missed a few months ago. They started to root themselves in the soil, so I've removed them and put them in pots for the winter. I'll pop them out in the spring, for a few early plants - with two small beans in there too, there are five in total. In this part of the world we don't do autumn sowings of beans - the soil here is cold, wet and we often get snow.
As vegetables finish we're clearing the beds - this is the former marrow bed. I've spread my "cat compost" and lightly worked it in. This compost is made from wood-based cat litter + cat wee, composted for a year. It will now have another 4-6 months in this bed to break down further. It's a good soil conditioner and has really helped to lighten my heavy soil.
Here are the last two courgettes for 2010 (sniff!) - tiny really but still good eating. No more until next year, let's hope they're as good then as they have been this year.
I caught this green/black bug sitting on my green shed - do have a close up look as it is really rather interesting. After a bit of hunting around on the internet, I think I have identified it as a Green Shieldbug in its final stage before moulting into its adult appearance. Amazing how many different stages there are for this insect.
So, where do the stone coffins in the title to this blog post come from? Yesterday we went to the seaside for some birdwatching and on the way back decided to call in here - St Patrick's Chapel in Heysham. This is all there's left of it (the wall on the right is more modern). It was built in the 8th century, and it's famous for these:
Coffins carved out of stone. They're certainly pre-Norman Conquest, some people think they were for bones rather than bodies, and there are several.
Next door is another church, St Peter's, now the Parish Church and also thought to be 8th century. It's mentioned in the Domesday book, and also has the distinction of having a Viking hogsback gravestone which we were unable to see as there was a wedding on. It's funny, when I was a student I lived a few miles from here and never came to see the site, glad I finally made it!
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