Yesterday's pictures are just a little misleading as actually the artichokes are still tiny. They look as if they are almost ready to eat, but they will be weeks yet. I have cut the two largest cucumbers and one of them will be the centrepiece of tonight's meal, the other having been cut for Al, Dilly and Squiffany. Again, you can't really judge the size; the largest is about 9 inches long, but there are far too many for such a young plant and taking them off as soon as they are big enough to eat will save its strength. One year I tried removing the first few fruits, thinking it would help the plant grow quicker, but it seemed to discourage it and I didn't get any more cucumbers for some time, though I can think of no reason for that. Tomatoes have set but are still tiny, and some of the physalis are in flower. They have pretty pale yellow and brown flowers. I can't say that Cape Gooseberries are a favourite fruit, they are just not something to eat by the bowlful, but they have a pleasant enough flavour, look pretty and keep for ages.
The Sage has been to the farm to say hello to some of his favourite cows. Patty Pan, Big Pinkie and Foster are the ones he knows best and they came to say hello and were disappointed that he didn't produce apples from his pocket for them. He was remorseful and promised to visit again soon but I'm not sure that cows entirely appreciate anticipation. Foster will come and spend a few weeks on our field (known as the Ups and Downs as it was used for small-scale gravel extraction at one time and is very uneven) soon but the other two have fairly recently calved and so are doing their duty in the milking parlour twice a day at present.
The Ups and Downs are marked on one old map as Anglo-Saxon earthworks and on another as Anglo-Saxon burial ground - I don't know on what basis and no digging has been done on the land for the nearly 80 years it has been in our family. Yesterday I was explaining to Squiffany that, if you look at flowering grasses, you can see how many different varieties you have. She carefully examined the different grass heads and looked wise, but I suppose 14 1/2 months is a little young to expect her to identify Timothy, Creeping Fescue and the like with any certainty. She was polite enough to humour me, anyway, and I appreciate that. As it was half-term last week, I did not look after her (mother is a teacher so was on holiday too) and by yesterday she evidently missed us as she came marching up to the door and made herself at home.