Warming up to germinate

The days tick by and our minds turn to seeds.  Time to think about this place:


and how it doesn’t really look ready as a place to grow things.

It does feel warm though.  Here is the outdoor temperature here today:


I don’t trust that peak around 10.45 am, when the sun came out for a while.  I presumed the casing on the temperature sensor was sufficient protection from direct sunlight but experience and further research have proved me wrong.  I will be building a shelter for the sensor soon.  So I reckon the maximum outdoor temperature today was about seven degrees.  Here is what was recorded in the polytunnel today:


So, even without direct sunlight, an increase of ten degrees inside compared with out.  So better get it cleared, we made a start:


In our mind it is already looking like this one at Bealtaine Cottage:

Meanwhile outside each day the snowdrops are a littler more full:



And as always, our neighbours take a lot of interest in our activity:



Joining things up

On the 19th August 2014 we set off on a camping holiday at Acorns small holding. We were so enraptured by what Phil and Roz had done to four acres of farmland in five years that we decided there and then to change our life.

So what a delight when we Phil and Roz arrived today to visit us on our new patch.  If we can half match their enthusiasm, energy and vision we will work wondrous deeds in this place.  You can see Roz’s thoughts here.

Four weeks

Four weeks today we arrived at this place.  The weather the last couple of days has not been conducive to photographs – misty flat light – so let’s start with a list:

Birds seen on, or over, our patch during the last four weeks:

  • Siskin
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Chaffinch
  • Robin
  • Dunnock
  • Wren
  • Heron
  • Buzzard
  • Crow
  • Starling
  • Goldcrest
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Blackbird
  • Greenfinch
  • Pheasant
  • Raven
  • Magpie
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Goldfinch
  • Bullfinch (male)
  • Coal Tit
  • Longtailed Tit
  • Treecreeper

Of particular delight are the wren, constantly flitting round the stumps and creepers; the woodpecker, now visiting the peanut feeder daily; and the treecreeper, creeping up the hazel just outside the window.

After a few days enclosed in the run Flora and Marge were looking a bit fed up:


So we set up the hen netting to try giving them a bit more freedom.  They briefly shared a space with Molly and Dahlia but after one hackles raised spurs out confrontation to find top hen we decided 10 year-old Molly didn’t deserve such stress and we made two separate enclosures.  They could completely free range but patches of snowdrops and daffodils are close by and we don’t really want them scratched up.  We were a bit fearful that Flora and Marge, having come from a completely free range setting where they roosted in trees, would be over adventurous but they have been quite happy to know where their base is.


We have set up our survey basemap and are beginning to gather information to make overlays of existing structures and our observations:


Thoughts are also turning to the imminent growing season so we have decided to start with the biggest challenge:


“requires 20 to 25 degrees to germinate” Nowhere is that temperature.  Except maybe here:


I think that shelf might stop coating our tea-towels and food containers with wood smoke and start doing something more useful.

Meanwhile, mixed life forms spotted in the conservatory this afternoon:



These boxes contain the first residents for the thing that was built out of the other boxes the other day:


We drove for 45 minutes over winding deserted roads through a landscape that is new to us.  This photo, taken hastily on a phone, does not do justice to the clouds below the mountain:


They took some catching and securing in their boxes


They are feisty creatures who have been used to ranging completely free and roosting in trees so not sure how they will take to their new home where they need to be confined for a while to become accustomed to their surroundings


Welcome Cuckoo Marans Flora and Marge


Burning your boxes

Is burning your boxes a bit like burning your boats or burning your bridges?  All the big ones have been flattened and stashed in the polytunnel for future mulching but the banana boxes, which were excellent for packing, are hard to flatten and you don’t get much once you have.


The sheep are being moved around a lot at the moment as they have been going down for their scan.  Lambing on this farm is due on March 25th. As one travels down to Welshpool all the sheep are lambless until the last few fields where they have already lambed.

Outside looking in


Inside looking out



Butterflies and Boxes

We have disturbed a number of butterflies hibernating in the house and outbuildings.  This tortoiseshell did not really want to wake up but when offered sugar and water looked a bit happier.


After filling up it was happy to flutter its wings in the sunlight.


Yesterday, instead of our usual post van we found a convoy (of two) red vans outside the house.  The reason being that our post contained six very large boxes – our usual postman had dragged our his boss to drive an additional van.  So today we had the task of moving the boxes to behind the house


and trying to work out the assembly instructions


Currently the last sun of the day shines through the conifer shelter belt from behind, making them look on fire from within


And finally, today’s gratuitous “view from the garden” picture