Monday, October 28th
Terrible wind and rain all last night. Martin joked this morning that it was the sort of weather we used to dread bringing on a power cut. Now the worst fear is running out of water and food. We checked the outside of the house once we were dressed, but there was no damage despite the awful noises we heard in the night. Then we went round the grounds to see how much the storm had brought down. Our fences are still standing, so the sheep won’t escape onto the lawns, nor can the deer penetrate the new vegetable garden. We found branches scattered everywhere and the large willow has two huge limbs dangling which we kept clear of while the wind was still blowing this morning. Willow is not very good for burning, but it can be cleared when the winds drop. A tree has been uprooted in a neighbouring field but there was no damage to the fence.
The acorns are still falling and are so plentiful that it’s like walking on a pebble beach in places. Anna and Jane have soaked and dried the ones they’ve gathered and have shelled a large number too. They are going to try grinding some today to make acorn flour, then they’ll roast others and grind them to make the acorn coffee. I have my doubts about both ideas, but as we shall run out of flour and coffee eventually it is worth trying.
After collecting more fallen kindling, I found a few more blackberries which are quite plump from a few days of mild weather and rain. And then I had my first row with Stephen because I came back inside the house and found him eating the berries straight from the basket. I told him they weren’t meant for him, they were for all of us, and they would go much further mixed with apple. He looked at me in amazement and said he’d only had two. But we can’t help ourselves to food whenever we feel like it now. We have to think about all of us as a group and we all have to stay healthy if we are to come through this difficult time. Then Stephen tried to make amends by digging over the hen run so the chickens could find more worms and I felt rather mean. He gave them weeds too and found 4 eggs.