Last night brought the first major frost of the season (amazingly a whole 2 months later than usual)...it was beautifully timed with our dark moon Samhain celebrations and meditations....and perfectly timed for the start of 'winter feeding season' for the cows and sheep too.
Although there is more grass around for the animals to graze then usual this year, (a combination of a great weather summer and hopefully because of the improvements to the soil with my new grazing system), the quality of nutrition of the grass/herbs rapidly decreases at this time of year because of the ground temperature and decreasing daylight. so the sheep and cows are fed haylige each day from now until next April/May, depending on the weather (and when the grass starts to grow) next spring. Some fantastic hay/haylige was made from the Yorkshire Dales meadows this summer with all those days of sunshine, so hopefully the animals will stay very fit and healthy throughout the winter, with such good quality feed, a total opposite situation from last year when many of the local farmers really struggled with the quality and quantity of feed that was available/produced
The Edible Garden has also had an incredibly productive growing season this year again mainly due to the super amount of sunny days, but also because of factors such as created microclimates and species and varieties of plants grown. Now all the frost tender plants have died back, i'll be spending the next couple of weeks, topping up the beds with well rotted manure/straw or garden compost (depending on that will be grown there next year) and then topping with more straw, to add fertility and protect the soil from leaching nutrients through exposure to the elements.