Hobby Ahoy!

On Saturday I witnessed a Hobby chasing a Swallow, as they both flew across the allotment.

From the BTO:

Posted in Garden / Allotment | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Allotment Video Update 2nd May 2015

A few days late due to some upload issues, but latest video post below. Thanks for watching.

Posted in Fork To Fork, Garden / Allotment, Video | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Bank Holiday

Until about the middle of last week, I’d forgotten this weekend was a three day Bank Holiday. I treasure my time away from work (remind me I said that after the end of July, when I’m redundant and job hunting!).

 

Bank Holiday Reading Sorted


 As the weekend drew closer, a little reading matter arrived on Thursday, with David Hewson’s latest novel, “The Wrong Girl”, and my reading was settled. I’d been looking forward to this book particularly as it is the second in a new series.

Allotment Saturday

 

Will. Not. Start

As is my usual habit on Saturday I headed off to the allotment. I took the lawn mower along to cut the grass, however the machine refused to start, so I settled for some weeding, watering and general tidying. The gooseberry bushes have set fruit, so I put up the framework of canes that will become the fruit cage once the remaining Loganberries have flowered and the bees have done their thing to set their fruit.
I saw my first Swallows on Saturday morning. A bit late compared to some, but I’ve been looking and hoping to spot my first local birds for a few weeks, so I’m pleased to have seen my first “Sky Jewels” of the summer.

 

Co-worker


I was also visited by another feathered friend while working. As I weeded a robin came and worked alongside me, as I cleared the weeds, he fed on the insects I disturbed. I suspect he has a nest and young nearby, as he was flying away and coming back empty beaked for more.

I harvested the first radishes, the last purple sprouting broccoli and some rhubarb. Other crops are coming along nicely. There’s a video to follow, once it’s edited and uploaded.

Dog Walking Sunday

 

Bluebells

The rains came late on Saturday and stayed through the night and until mid-morning on Sunday. In the afternoon we left for the woods to walk the dogs. The bluebells are in bloom and it was nice to spend time and look at the glories of spring. I need time in the woods occasionally to bring a little peace and balance to my brain.

The Best Bit of a Bank Holiday Weekend

Still to come, Bank Holiday Monday.

Posted in books, Dog, Fork To Fork, Garden / Allotment, Simple Things, Wildlife/Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Catch Up

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve managed to post here and there are a few things to catch up with.

Allotment

 It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the plot, with lots of the seeds I’ve sown germinating and coming along well. The potatoes have shot ahead, and are now earthed up in their final ridges. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we won’t have any hard frosts because they are a little exposed. I’m sowing and planting most weeks now, and by the end of May most things should be in, and then succession sowing can begin. It’s also been a great couple of weeks for seeing birds on the plot. Buzzards, heron and kestrel have been some of the highlights.

I’ve also written and submitted my first blog for Regatta. I won a competition to write for them, in return for the exposure and free kit. Writing for them stopped me from writing here last week as I was up against a deadline, but hopefully normal service can resume. I’ll post a link to that post when it’s live.

The last few weeks have also been pretty dry, with little rain, so it’s meant hand watering the plot. As most of the seedlings are under cover this takes a bit of time, as they have to be uncovered first. Yesterday we had a lot of rain though, which has even things out a bit. Not sure what the long range forecast predicts for the next few months but hopefully it won’t be too hot and dry, and although it’s an old wives tale the Oak was out before the Ash this year.

Work

Probably most significantly in the last two weeks is that I’ve found out I’m going to be made redundant at the end of July. This is partly voluntary, so I have at least been able to make some short term plans, but it means I’m going to be job hunting soon, which I’m not particularly looking forward too, having pretty much been continuously employed for the last twenty years!

Reading

Has been a pretty mixed bag. I finished reading “The Peregrine: The Hill of Summer and Diaries. The Complete Works of J. A. Baker” which was a fantastic read. It was an Easter present, and a book (The Peregrine) that I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I have another copy of the single book, but have never gotten around to reading it until now. I’d recommend if you like nature books.

Posted in books, Fork To Fork, Garden / Allotment, Wildlife/Nature, writing | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Allotment Update 11th April 2015

It was raining when I made it down to the allotment this morning, as the video above explains. The rain did clear relatively quickly but I didn’t add to the video. I did manage to get some weeding done, and get the plum tree in the ground in the fruit bed. I also managed to sow some more seeds, including; turnip, beetroot and carrot.

The carrot I split across a couple of different methods to try something new. Some I sowed normally into the ground as I have done many, many times. I also sowed some others in some drainpipes which I filled with a mixture of sand and fine compost. I think these will hopefully grow longer and straighter, and as they are in drainpipes which are slightly raised off of the ground might be less susceptible to the low flying carrot-root fly. A bit of an experiment for this year so we’ll see how it goes.

Looking back across a wet allotment

Looking back across a wet allotment


The blue sky starting to break the cloud in the distance.

The blue sky starting to break the cloud in the distance.


One of the young brassica plants

One of the young brassica plants

UPDATE: I had to upload the video again.

Posted in Fork To Fork, Garden / Allotment, Video | Tagged , ,

Bullfinch

Its not everyday that something special happens to make your day early on, if at all; but this morning was one where that did happen.

I take part in the BTO’s (British Trust for Ornithology) Breeding Bird Survey. I have a set area which I survey twice a year and record all the birds I see and hear. As today was a bank holiday, I thought I’d undertake my early visit of the year (I’ll do another one after four weeks, and by mid-June).

The reason for such a great morning was three-fold.

  1. There were good numbers of birds generally. Often I’ve visited and counts have been quite low.
  2. I also got a watch a pair of roe deer feeding.
  3. I saw bullfinchs.

The latter was the highlight. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a bullfinch up close and this morning I was able to watch for a good ten minutes. The only downside is that I only had my phone with me, so the photographs are poor. I really must start carrying a proper camera with me more often.

Roe deer

Roe deer (zoomed and cropped)

 

Bullfinch (yes really)

  

Posted in Wildlife/Nature | Tagged , , , , , ,

Seeds Are Sprouting

 

Radish Are Go!

The first of the seeds that I sowed a couple of weeks ago are starting to sprout. Great news!

So far; radish, lettuce, peas, rainbow chard and broad beans are all poking through the soil. Most of these are under cover, so I spent quite a bit of time watering them. The parsnips haven’t shown any sign yet, but they’re always slow to get going. The cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower plants are also doing well so far.

The wind was back again yesterday, although quite mild generally, it was keen and kept things distinctly chilly.

 

Purple Sprouting & Kale

I also harvested some of the kale and purple sprouting broccoli, I’m pleased how this has done over the winter and I’m looking forward to my Easter Sunday lunch!

Posted in Fork To Fork, Garden / Allotment | Tagged , , , , , , ,