Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lammas Eve

The last day of July has brought more rain, and it’s very ‘close’ out – must try and find out where that expression comes from.

My back is still playing up, so I am determined to find time to walk every day. Not a problem when I am at the printers as the walk up to the main road takes 15 minutes. But when I am at home I get embroiled and the day flies by. When I take my camera out for a walk it’s a very slow affair as I do a lot of ‘looking’ rather than brisk walking.

So it’s off out and leave the camera behind, for a brisk half hour walk. As we live on the side of a valley all walks involve either going up then down, or down then up, so it’s quite a good workout!

Today I did down Stoneage Lane, along the meadow, along by the Cam River, and up Wick Lane back home.

Although I didn’t have my camera I did have to stop a few times to look at things (impossible not to!), and gathered a few bits and bobs – for my nature table.

As I walked down Stoneage Lane I heard a sound from behind the hedge – the soft breathy grinding of a cow chewing. I don’t know why but I love this sound, it’s very soothing. Might try and record it.

The late summer flowers are out in abundance – bindweed, nipplewort,  thistles, bramble blossom and willow-herb, and the fruits of autumn are developing. The crunch of fallen hazel nuts as a car goes by, a green rose hip, and the amazing ‘shaggy’ seed head of Herb Bennet.

Image

August tomorrow, harvest month and shortening days. I think we should have intermediate seasons, and would like to call August ‘Sumtumn’.

 

Advertisement

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

By the pricking of my thumbs…

Thunderstorms are forecast for later today, and as it’s a full moon as well (and a Supermoon to boot!) we are expecting some excitement from the heavens.

The July full moon is often associated with thunderstorms, as one of my favourite sites, http://earthsky.org says – ‘ In North America, we often call the July full moon the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Hay Moon. At this time of year, buck deer grow velvety antlers, thunderstorms rage and farmers struggle to put hay into their barns.’

So I’ve battened down the hatches and staked whatever might be bashed down (Sunflowers, Hollyhocks, Borage…) – although at the moment it’s business as usual in our heatwave, with the thermometer heading for 30 degrees, and the birds and bees buzzing and cheeping like crazy.

This has been an amazing year for flowers, and the jasmine is the best it’s ever been. I always associate jasmine with the night, as that’s when it smells strongest, and illuminates the dusk with it’s starry flowers.

Maybe I will call this full moon the Jasmine Moon…

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beautiful purple visitor

A few weeks ago I noticed a new plant growing in the herb bed. Just a couple of stalks with vetch-like leaves and tendrils. Nothing that I’d planted, but I decided to leave it and see who it was. The herb bed filled out with it’s permanent residents – skullcap, sage, marjoram, thyme,  rosemary, St.John’s Wort, chamomile (amongst others!) and this year’s plantings – pinks, rue, wood sage, bergamot…and I thought no more of the newcomer.

I managed to put my back out earlier this week – gardening in a silly position! – and so I haven’t paid much attention to the herb bed for a few days. Then yesterday I went to say hello to it, and there was the new plant, flowering abundantly in the heatwave, and clambering through the seeding skullcap. It is beautiful, and obviously a vetch, but I didn’t know which one till I looked it up – it is tufted vetch! Not uncommon, but not a plant I have seen in the wild either. It’s flower heads look very like melilot, except they are purple, and the leaves are very delicate. I’m so glad it chose to visit, and hope it stays – I am not the only one  to love it…

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cam Valley Ravens

Ravens have moved into our little valley in recent years – a bird that stirs my soul. I love all the Corvids, but Ravens hold a special place in my heart. Who knows why we feel akin to one creature over another, it’s a strange phenomenon. It seems to happen with plants too. Maybe it’s how we spent previous lives!

Ravens it is though, and their ‘cronking’ resounds over the valley. First we noticed a pair, but now there seems to be more – sons and daughters? We have named the daddy ‘Walter’ after Mr Cronkite – not a very dignified name but onomatopoeically appropriate! In this hot weather he has been soaring high up in the sky, and yesterday as my eyes followed him I saw him fly over a curved arc with rainbow hues – a sun halo! It’s the first time I have seen one, and I so wished I could have taken a picture of the bird and the halo, but it was beyond my photographic skill. I had to be content with a silhouette of the raven – looking rather dishevelled…

And now I am stuck indoors with a poorly back – wish I could be up there soaring with him.

Image

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The potatoes that nearly weren’t

In early spring last year we saw a notice for a ‘Potato Day’ in Castle Cary. We were intrigued, and headed over to see what it was all about. It was all about potatoes! In a community hall trestle tables had been set up in a square formation, and covered with trugs full of seed potatoes – every one a different variety, from ancient to modern. The system was that you took some bags and walked around the trestles, choosing which potatoes you wanted, and writing on the bags what they were. Payment was by number of potatoes, all very simple. It was like a jumble sale only much more orderly – potato fanciers seem like a very civilised bunch. We studied the ‘form’ in the form of a small leaflet describing the varieties, and made our choice – it was fun, and the romance of the potato caught hold of us.

When we got home we dug over our small vegetable patch and allocated spaces for the four different varieties we had chosen – 

Mr Littles Yetholmes Gypsy – 1899

Belle de Fontenay – 1885

Apache – 1986

Dobbies Asset – 1930

– and in they went.

Then the rains came, and came, and came. The potato plants grew ok, and we got potatoes off them, but without exception they were fairly tasteless and watery, breaking up in the pan after only a short boil.

So we decided that we would forgo potatoes this year, and concentrate on beans and peas. Last autumn D dug the plot over thoroughly, finding a few potatoes left, but digging deep to clear them all.

We watched our seeds come up, and grow into healthy plants. But hang on, what’s this growing among them? Blooming potatoes, and not just one, but about 3 or 4 plants. It seems the potato will out, so we let them grow.

We dug some up yesterday and they were a lovely red and white colour, so we decided they must be ‘Apache’. We weren’t expecting too much after last year, but when we cooked them they were absolutely delicious, just what you would expect from a home-grown potato.

So we learned something interesting about the effect of too much rain on potatoes!

Image

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Elderflower in July

I think my blogging challenge to myself in July must be about accepting failure with grace, as I forgot to post again yesterday…

The heatwave continues, with cloudless skies and temperatures in the near 30’s. It seems strange with all this heat that the late spring is still showing it’s effects, but it does seem to be the case. Maybe it will take all year to catch up. I always think of June as the month for Elderflower and Lime Blossom, but here we are nearly a third of the way through July and the elder blossom is still coming out (this pic taken last Friday), while I haven’t seen any lime blossom yet. I will have to check the big beautiful lime tree on the way to work tomorrow, and report back.

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Garden Days

So I have failed my challenge already – Ha! I blame the heat. I completely forgot to post yesterday, my sun-addled brain could only cope with an episode of ‘The White Queen’ and bed.

No matter, I will get back on the horse…

We have spent the weekend in the garden, trying to get jobs done in between sitting down and drinking copiously. But mainly just drinking in the sun and the beauty around us – our garden brings us such joy. From over the wall came the cheers on the telly and from our neighbours, as Andy Murray wins Wimbledon. What a very lovely weekend!

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Heatwave

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

July challenge!

Summer is speeding by, and I want to try and slow it down, so I have set myself the challenge of posting everyday on my nature blogs, of which I have two. This means there will be a pst here every other day, and a post on my Blogger blog ‘Poetry of Earth’ every other day too. It may only be a photo!

Something that astounds me is how plants move about. One year there may be a big patch of a particular plant somewhere and the next year there may be none. How does this work? If a plant is happy somewhere I would expect it to reproduce there and persist, but this doesn’t seem to be the case always. Last year a big patch of Dovesfoot Cranesbill appeared in the lane where I hadn’t seen any before. This year there is none!

It makes for exciting times, as you never know what is going to pop up on your regular walks. The other day we went for a walk into Dunkerton, and one of the fields bordering the river is awash with Marsh Thistle. It looks so funny, just spindly stalks topped with buds and flowers, spread over the entire field. They don’t seem to like growing near each other, but have spaced themselves out quite evenly, like a mine field!

Image

I went to photograph one and noticed something shining caught in the flower head. It was an insect wing, and when I looked closer I saw a whole Damselfly attached. Poor thing, it’s Maiden flight cut short by the Marsh Thistles spikes. A handy meal for someone passing though – nothing goes to waste.

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shine bright like a diamond

Shine bright like a diamond

Midway through the French Revolution month of Germinal and we are having the first rain for nearly a month. After getting used to rain as a nearly daily accompaniment last year, today’s seems strange to see, after so long. The ground had completely dried out on top, all the ruts in the fields that used to reflect the clouds on their journey were dry and dull. The almost constant bitter wind had scoured our countryside and lips to a shriven, dusty state. The early plants in the garden, Pulmonaria’s and Cowslips, were holding tight to the ground, leaves dry and crispy and flowers barely peeping out, not wanting to rise too far in the freezing air.
But now the rain has come, and I hope it will stay for a while – because Germinal, like many of the months named in that archaic calendar, is wonderfully descriptive and easy to understand. Germinating is what the seeds we have planted should be doing now – drinking water, swelling, and expanding up into the warm spring air. Bring on the warm spring air please, the month of Floreal is coming!

Leave a comment

April 11, 2013 · 11:37 am