We have had a lot of rain in the last few days:
so at the end of today it was good to see some golden light through the frame of darkness:
Some of our hens and some of our ducks have been living together
quite happily. They mostly just ignore each other, only answerable to their internal hierarchies. When there is persistent rain, the hens vanish under cover and leave the ducks to their sloshing around.
But both groups are increasing in size so today was time for the ducks to leave…
…go round the corner…
…along the path
And with a little gentle persuasion…
…through the cunningly devised pallet funnel…
…taking them through the gate…
…into their new home
Where they will spend the nights in the Farrow House, last occupied under false presences, by one of the ingredients of our dinner tonight:
The hens look a bit lonely
particular the one who preferred the ducks’ teatime wheat to the corn provided for the hens.
Other home produce that has passed across the table today, in addition to the bacon, aubergines and damson wine in the picture above, include a disappointment
Last year we grew some succulent sweetcorn. This year’s variety, in spite of looking pretty when in flower
have proved to either remain hard on cooking or simply without kernels
The tomatoes keep on coming (slowly)
The apples and blackberries are safely in the pie
and next year’s damson wine has made a start
Time for probably the final peep at the bees
Although one of the colonies is weak it has survived the wasps which devastated a hive last year. We have been taking measures:
From the stronger colony we claim just one frame of honey
Watching the damsons swell
and multiply, as part of this year’s seemingly heavy fruit harvest
we are reminded of some wine made from the fruit two years ago
and find it more than palatable
It will be out with the demi-johns next week.
Harvest elsewhere is a bit of a race between ripening and remaining light and warmth.
At least raspberries keep on producing whatever the weather
We have been running down our original hen flock as the new one down by the meadow has been building up
Top cock Floppy,
once the master of a sizeable harem, has had his charges reduced to four
the Gold-Laced Orpington, has been with us for a number of years and we watched her two Maran companions as they emerged from eggs. Now their laying days are few and far between and we would let them live out their days if their space was not needed for an expanding Rabbit World
Still, we would not be able to cull them so we are fortunate to find them a Retirement Home with some friends. June does suspect
as they await collection
with an interested audience
Speckled Sussex Floppy keeps one of his breed and we bring another from the bottom flock to make-up a pure trio
Maybe the source of some future hatching eggs…?
Meanwhile apples are swelling
and we are ready
even for high up ones
While apples ripen we collect other produce
while our neighbour fattens up his
Here are our temperatures for the month so far:
When we haven’t been in the misty low cloud there has been lots of brightness
warming up insect life
Bert thinks it is still worth sunbathing
and the ducks are always happier with a bit (not too much) of sun
Bird song has intensified as the August moult ends and territories are re-established
There is always one courgette that manages to hide while it nurtures marrow aspirations
So, as daylight hours diminish, we relish any brightness on offer
Yesterday we visited Powis Castle gardens (for free as part of Open Doors).
As well as simply soaking up the sights one is always on the alert for inspiration…
By way of complement, here are some sunny sights from here today which would not be out of place at Powis Castle:
We all know that butterfly populations, along with those of many other insects, are falling rapidly.
Here are some statistics for one-year (to 2018) and ten-year trends:
Climate Change related – “Warming temperatures have been shown to have both positive and negative effects on populations of British butterflies. Species at the northern limit of their ranges have been able to expand their ranges, moving northwards throughout the UK.”
And Habitat related – “Habitat loss and changes in habitat management have been the greatest drivers of change in UK butterfly populations”
As well as long term trends there will of course by the effects of short term weather patterns and that, in different ways, would explain the wave of Painted Ladies and also Peacocks and Red Admirals we have experienced this summer.
“emerge in once-a-decade phenomenon” as the BBC explains here
and Red Admirals
are locals and their habitat, at least here, has been broadly the same over the last few years therefore the recent numbers must be due to something else – weather patterns this year maybe.
The list above of fourteen species is not a random one but the butterflies we have seen on our plot so far. The latest addition was a solitary Wall seen this week:
We have started recording our butterfly sightings, along with those of other living things, at iRecord:
where they might be of use to others plus less common species can get confirmed by an expert!