…in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance. So said Ruskin. From time to time we flirt with the idea of peacocks. Meanwhile we have lilies:
We had some rain today. After six or seven weeks without any appreciable precipitation there were a few little showers. It did not wet the ground under the trees. It evaporated from the vegetable beds before it could soak in. But it was nice to see.
The flora around us is shutting down – get the seeds done then give up. Fauna activity is changing – hedgehogs disappearing, badgers ranging wider.
By cultivating life in polytunnels we take responsibility for the climate. Here are some glimpses in the one we call Zenith:
Bee inspection today
lots of store
but no brood.
We are worried we might be Queen-less.
Slightly cheered up by the sight of a new species (for us) of dragonfly
The Darter we have is characterised by resting on a photogenic twig but this Southern Hawker does not keep still so we just get a blur of green and blue
Today we had the first real rain since May – a ten minute heavy shower. It did not make much difference to the rock-hard ground but it did show such things are possible although the forecast indicates we will have to wait three days for a repeat performance.
When the temperature dropped a little a couple of days ago it was like returning home from another country – one where the light was too bright to see properly and the temperature too hot to think properly.
The fields around are parched and bare
accentuated by the stripping of grass for silage
Bringing in the Red Kites
The broody hen has moved her clutch outside to cool off
Fortunately we have been developing a tropical house
but things have felt quite exotic outside as well
Our guest has been eating well
and so have we
with spare to save
There seem to be a lot of wasp nests around – in the potting shed:
in the woodshed:
which they have to share
and in the hedge:
The rabbits are moving closer
on the lookout for a weak link
We seem to have had an increase in the number of Siskins knocking themselves out on windows
Sometimes they don’t survive, sometimes after a spell in the recovery box
they can fly away
We have been used to finding young hedgehogs in the Autumn, too small to get through hibernation, and building them up ready for the Spring.
Last night we had a youngster, weighing in at 189g, dehydrated and unable to find suitable food in these hard-baked conditions. After one night in care with water and soft food he was already 20g (around 10%) better off
We have mentioned the swallow brood from time to time but now that they are (almost) done it seems time for a résumé.
Like all migrants this year, the Swallows seemed to arrive late and, from local reports, in smaller numbers than in recent years.
Sometimes we have had two pairs, for the last couple of years just one. The suitable nesting sites round here are spaced out by hundreds of metres. Do the same ones come to us… or their offspring?
When the Flycatchers arrive they seem to start building a nest the same day but the swallows spend weeks fussing around before they get down to business.
When they did, they ignored the specially designed swallow nesting cup we have had in place in the woodshed and chose a place in the rafters near by.
temporarily back in the safety of the woodshed while they listen to bedtime stories about somewhere called Africa
Today, at the suggestion of Radio 4, we puree
Helpfully, the programme emphasised good labelling to avoid blood bank confusion.