Friday, 28 February 2014

February sky

 February had over 200mm (almost 8") of rain. While December had 142mm (5.5") and January 180mm (over 7"). That is more than 500mm (more than 20inches) this winter!
It was also a very windy month with a gust of 63 miles an hour and on 20 days there was at least 1 gale gust (39 mph). Temperatures were average.

February 25th
Good weather for ducks!

The ponds are full to the brim.
 Although the bees found many sunny intervals, a lot of February looked like this!  

February garden.

First picking of asparagus , rhubarb and purple sprouting broccoli with rocket from the polytunnel. Somehow this seemed worthy of a photo while potatoes, turnips and kale have escaped the camera, despite being in the basket much more frequently!
 The poached egg plants went in after the potatoes were lifted in November as a green manure crop and forage for bees in May. Behind is a bed of cauliflower.

In the foreground is Rhubarb Timperley early. I divided one to plant up this bed last year. They were mulched in autumn. Behind is another bed of poached eggplant and behind that the kale.

I try to lift the  leeks without disturbing the Poached eggplant and forget-me-nots that have self-seeded amongst them.

The gooseberry bushes are still leafless, revealing a nest from last summer.

Ladybirds are ready for spring.

Even enjoying a spring kiss.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Alfie in the kitchen and looking at frog spawn.

Just finished sieving the flour for carrot cake.

Alfie likes to chop carrots as much as he likes to eat them.

Alfie at the top of the hay looking for eggs,

Alfie looking at the frog spawn.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Honey bees on viburnum tinus, crocus, rosemary and gorse.

 Photos from sunny intervals today and yesterday.

Pale purple crocus.

Purple crocus in full bloom.
The stakes at the end of the hive were to hold it down during our winter storms.

The Rosemary was covered in bees.

There were many bees on the Viburnum tinus.
The honeybees appeared to be collecting an off-white pollen .


There was a bumble bee nest under this pile of stones last summer.
 Now the early tete-a-tete daffodils are enjoying the shelter provided.

There were at least 6 Bombus terrestris  queens enjoying the crocus today too.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The season of frog spawn.

 Frog spawn underwater in the pond.

During the day the pond is thick with frogs but as soon as anyone goes near they disappear.

Alfie looking at the frog spawn.

Angus and Alfie looking at the frog spawn.

The following photos are from last spring...
Common frogs on their way to lay spawn in the pond.

Common frogs on their way to spawn.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Honeybees on gorse, crocus and snowdrops.

Pollen gathering has begun in earnest.
All these photos are taken here this morning.

On Gorse.

 On Snowdrops.

 The purple crocus are just beginning.

  Just as the yellow crocus are starting to fade.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Earth stars

 I continue to see Geastrum fungus, commonly known as earth stars, in the small tunnel beside the asparagus that grows under the peach tree.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Zoe's frost photos

Sometimes in winter, after a cold night, these patterns form on the outside of our velux window.

On this occasion (February 4th)  Zoe thought to take photos.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Garden helper

On cold windy days (and cool sunny days) I love to have picnics in the polytunnel, before long we are both working away.

After tea and play in the polytunnel Alfie lops some old stalks.

 Have I mentioned that the kitchen gets over run with seedlings in the spring? and this is still winter!

 Alfie filled dozens of flower pots, I love how he pats the soil down.

When there were no more pots to fill Alfie started to empty them!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Honeybees on Snowdrops, Crocus, Rosemary and Mahonia.

There has been so much rain recently but the bees are out when they get the chance.
All these photos were taken this morning.

On the Rosemary.


 On the Mahonia. This is a second bush and a different variety to the Mahonia Charity that was in flower in December.

 On the Snowdrops collecting pollen.

 On the Crocus.

 The crocus are increasing their appearance. Hives in background.

 No shortage of water, for which I remind myself to be thankful.
Photos can be deceiving! This photo (and all the recent rain) makes the pond look quite large.

I took the covers off the windows for a quick photo.  These are the two small swarm colonies with unfinished combs.
Great to see the bees out today, however winter is far from over.......