Black and White

Things have been a bit monochrome today
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Except in here of course
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Groundcreeper

It is snowing properly this evening after a day of flirty weather, hiding in the hills
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and sneaking in with a bit of sleet, a bit of rain, a bit of sun.

I suppose the living things we are most aware of in our lives are the birds all around us. It is easy to see their behaviour through human eyes – the friendly Robins, the flighty Blackbirds, the secretive Wrens…

Recently we have been enchanted by the Treecreeper
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(sadly, to our best current knowledge, singular)
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Today, perversely, creeping on the ground
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Always seemingly oblivious to human activity close by
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Meanwhile excavations continue to create Shangri-La in Zenith
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And pre-Spring continues to unfurl
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While a hint of decay lurks on the doorstep to remind us not to be too optimistic
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Salad Days

As we prepare tonight’s dinner, eating something we sowed ten months ago,
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we appreciate the necessity for forward planning and Not Letting Things Slip.

So, although skies may play fast and loose
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using the polytunnels, we should be able to harvest salad all the year round. But when Autumn comes it is easy To Let Things Slip.

This year we are determined to plant regularly and keep things going. We have so far kept this up for a month, germinating on the hotbed
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which still has a core temperature of 65 degrees, and then quickly moving on
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This system means we are pricking out salad leaves, which is not normal
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(notice the use of slug-deterring bran, which we learned about here)

So today’s sowing, as an experiment, took place in guttering lengths
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with a view to sliding the seedlings into a new location.

Also today, Dinah sorts out her maternity quarters
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while Bert keeps a nose on things
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The wind may still be blowing, the rain falling, and the temperature dropping
but daylight is lengthening and life is insuppressible
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Dinah moves house

Doris having moved on, we wake to welcome sunlight
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casting strange reflections
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leaving snow at a safe distance
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With a week to go before her confinement, it was time for Dinah to move to her maternity quarters. Suspense – would a pig follow a feed bucket?
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Bert watched closely
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As did the pig zone Robin
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anxious to keep a check on his desirable patch.

Lottie and Bina kept a watch on their food
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While we keep a watch on their nether regions
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Not yet up to a senior boar, they are down for a couriered in offering from Ireland – but mapping the cycles of gilts is a millimeter measurement exercise.

Our household group of starlings
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Take a few turns over the roof
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Resting on its laurels

The birds had to be more than normally acrobatic this morning as Doris violently rocked the feeders
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By the end of the afternoon she was moving on, leaving the blue sky swept clean
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But also leaving one of the Eucalyptus resting on the neighbouring laurels
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Other predators sneak through with less bluster but still cause damage.
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These aconites were planted out a few days ago – obviously a rabbit delicacy.

Pethan eraill yn y tyddyn heddiw:
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Waiting for Doris

As we await Doris’ arrival
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We already feel slightly soaked and blasted by the last 24 hours’ weather.

The run off from the pig area reaches capacity
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and we leave behind us aquatic footprints.
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Saturation is all around
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The hens are pleased to eat their teatime corn from the logs
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The Guineas are pleased to be behind glass
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The pond is put to the test
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to see how the overflow overflows
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The starlings head over to their roost
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and the Goldcrest becomes slightly blurred
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We have heard that Dinah
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will have better milk production if fed cabbages
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she does not agree
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Lottie’s only concern
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is that all is ready for breakfast
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Meanwhile the hotbed has reached a core temperature of 65 degrees
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and the latest batch of salad seedlings have had to be evacuated to somewhere cooler
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Bright, Spicy… and Speedy

The hotbed had a top-up last week and has revved itself up to record levels
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55 degrees at the core, germinating the latest salad seeds in two days

heat has to be released
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to be appreciated by the fig
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and the fennel
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Pressure is on to keep things moving
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Preparing a bed for the previous sowings
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Succession salad will be very organised this year.

Outside things are wet and warm
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and the spring flowers decide to stay asleep
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