Between The Ides and The Equinox

Having survived the Ides of March without major mishap and, although we can still see snow,

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we feel that with the new moon

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we can start early Equinox celebrations.

The bees have sucked dry the crocus flowers

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But being in Wales we are or course surrounded by daffodils

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they are everywhere

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More exciting are the fritillary buds

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and the signs that hedges are waking up
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Trees are more reserved but signs can be seen
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and profiles are changing
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The birds are busy

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gathering nesting material

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They are also noisy, in the case of this Song Thrush in a good way

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We were pleased to receive a Brambling visit
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and are always happy to have the modest Dunnock around

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The Woodpecker combines defiant colours with modest behaviour – always using the back of the feeders

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So, as the sun shines

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illuminating the buzzards overhead

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and even making sheep look glamourous

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we prepare the chair on the porch

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pretending we will have some time to sit down during the next six months.

The Trouble with Seeds is… they grow

Seeds are very small. You can get a lot in a couple of boxes

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So, with great enthusiasm, we start sowing them

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Pop them in a nice warm place

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where they happily germinate

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Then they say they want bigger pots

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so we have to oblige

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These Broad Beans should be going outside but while they wait for a bed they need even bigger pots

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and before you know it the greenhouse is full.

While we bring most things on in a protected environment it is nice to make some sowings direct into the soil

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even if it is in the tunnel.

It was a bit early in the year to ask this salad to live up to its name

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but we will have it on our plate before too long

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The Glass is Falling…

and according to the Met Office the pressure drop seems to be sucking in a purple dragon ready to consume Wales

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This is what it is forecast to bring us by tomorrow evening

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The daffodils are just raising their heads, do they know?

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The frogs have been busy, do they know?

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James has weathered many a storm, he doesn’t need to know

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Some of the elderly Cayuga ducks are past knowing

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while the handsome young drake thinks he knows it all

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The bumble bee is still busy, she knows what she needs to know

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We know. And that is why we have spent today adding more meadow mix and wild flower seed to the orchard, ready to be watered in.

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Multiplication

Autumn is usually the season for seed propagation but down at the Lake today

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last year’s bulrush seems to have been biding its time

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Its neighbour is a bit further on

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spreading its seed

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which will be able to float away… a couple of metres

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We can’t wait to see the sprouting from our propagation efforts

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trees here and also new hedging

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where the Beech is starting to wake up

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We know frogs are not very clever…

We know frogs are not very clever or maybe we should be thankful that not all their spawn has results.

The first we spotted this year was in our woodland pond, which was sensible

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But the second batch we saw was here

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just waiting for a bit of rain to take it down here

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So it was a bucket case

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to move it to our big pond

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where it might be safer

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Although, if you refer back to this entry, that might not be the case.

We have known frogs to deposit spawn in any furrow or damp depression. Bert just sees it as added protein if contributed to his damp depression

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The Flight of the Bumblebee

“Well, now, my bumblebee, go on a spree…

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catch up with the ship on the sea,
go down secretly,
get deep into a crack.”

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It scans better in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian and not really sure why the bee wants to catch up with a ship.

Anyway…

As reported previously, the luscious crocus blooms

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have been an irresistible snack for our bees

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But over the last couple of days they have been joined by a visitor

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The Queen Buff-tail Bumblebee… (just look at that lovely buff bum)…

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hibernates and then emerges now as temperatures rise. She goes foraging to replenish her energy reserves, used up over winter.

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She is carrying some mites

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But unlike the disease spreading Varroa mites infecting honey bees that can give us cause for concern these mites that are found on bumblebees are different and generally completely harmless. They are detritivores that live in the bumblebee nests, eating old wax and general bee generated rubbish; when the nests are abandoned over winter this causes a problem for the mites, so they hitch a ride on queen bumblebees to get to the next active nest.

So, as she clambers from bloom to bloom

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We wish her, and her hitchhikers, well

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Saffron Snacks Anyone?

Today the sun shone and the temperature soared to a dizzying 11 degrees.

Time for a bath

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and a good flap

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Down at the hives things are on the move

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Word has got around of a feast to be had

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Arriving to take a look

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Investigating

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These anthers can be a bit bendy

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but the pollen is certainly getting transported

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Full load and setting off for home

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This snowdrop clump was bouncing and vibrating with all the bee activity

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and a contented buzzing was rising up

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We are five days off the full “Snow Moon”

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We, and the bees, hope it does not live up to its name.

Houdini is at it again

As you can see here, from an early age Houdini lived up to her name (or rather she was named to fit her behaviour)

Today she persuaded Cagney, her (foster) mother, to fly over their fence, walk across our field and then fly into the field next door

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where the grass was not greener.

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They had to be walked

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down to the bottom gate

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round the corner, through our gate

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up through the meadow

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past the reception committee

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and back inside

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to be checked out by their favourite drake

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and a little wing clip

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Elsewhere, signs of life are increasing

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Double Figures!

As temperatures soar into balmy double figures

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there are just a few remnants of the last week’s permafrost

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Life comes bouncing back

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Time to relax…

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or to scrub the greenhouse roof

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as promised

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because the first inhabitants have poked up their shoots

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The Camellia buds will now benefit from the warmer weather

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The hens are pleased to be able to peck and scratch without bending their beaks and toes

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while the Woodpecker still opts for the lazy option

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So we welcome the new moon for a new start to what soon will become Spring

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