Tuesday, February 23, 2021

spring sun, tuning up, amorous frogs, yellowhammers, katharine briggs lecture


A spring sun this morning, when I was walking, or so it felt.

The dawn chorus tuned up earlier in the day and frogs are amorous in the pond.

There were yellowhammers in the hedge a little to the north and west of where this photo was taken.

Excellent Folklore Society Katharine Briggs Lecture and Book Award this evening on Zoom.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

ice patterns, crab apples, last harvests, first seeds planted


Ice patterns on a full ditch beside a green lane to the south of the village. Further on there were snowdrops in the hedge and soon there will be daffodils. The site of an old cottage, I think.

Went cycling yesterday and saw these crab apples. There is always a scatter of them in the verge and they lie over winter. They contrast with the green - or in colder years the frost-bleached grass - and catch the eye as you pass. I'm always surprised that they don't get eaten. I will try and see, this year, whether they ever are or just rot down, feeding the parent tree.

Last of the beetroot soup today or tomorrow and then the last leek will be made into soup. It's lovely that we are enjoying veg from the allotment still, sad though it is that the harvests are almost finished.

The plot is drying out now and soon we will start work again. The seeds have arrived and J has planted the broad bean seed - generously, in case the mice raid the cold cabinet.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

icy, frog pond, happy torpor, sun's rays, valentine's veg


An icy week. No more so than today, which feels chillier than ever.

Keeping an eye on the frog pond for signs of distress. All quiet so far, with the temperature due to climb from tomorrow. Hopefully they are in a happy torpid state, with plenty of oxygen. I think there were some gaps at the nicely sheltered edge of the ice sheet along the back, which were opened up when the sun fell there yesterday. Surprising warmth in the sun out of the east wind.

Pleased I harvested the last veg last weekend. I'd never have got them out of the ground now for our Valentine's lunch.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

first bike ride, snowdrops and kingcups, last parsnips and leeks, seed order, looking forward


First bike ride ride of the year. Sounds like it will be the last for a bit - at least till the Mini Beast from the East has gone.

I thought at one point this morning that the mist wouldn't clear and I'd give cycling a miss but then the sun came through.

The land is sodden and pooled. But there's a lot of cheeping and there are snowdrops out in the hedgerows and on verges. Even the first kingcups in the deep ditches along Calcroft Lane (aka the gated road). Though they weren't the earliest - there was a big clump out along there in November.

Went to allotment earlier. The carrots have finished. The last ones scattered and partially munched by some animal. Dug the remaining parsnips and leeks. That's it for last season - apart from onions and shallots hanging in the shed. The potatoes were finished up last weekend - a smaller crop than usual because of blight...

Ordered seeds today. Looking forward.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

cherwell floods

Cherwell floods, opposite University Parks, Oxford.

snowy pics, work work, wildfell and forsytes, the brilliant avengers, flooding...


The snowy pics I meant to post last week.

Which tells you that it was somewhat busy, with precious little time for anything but work. Which makes it sound awful - it wasn't. For a start, much of the work was - well not necessarily enjoyable - but challenging (in a good way) and rewarding. Then, there were escapes into the world of Wildfell Hall - apart from Friday night, when I fell asleep. There was also pizza for late lunch on Saturday, in front of the log fire, and the Forsyte's on DVD.

And we've been gradually watching our way through The Avengers on iTunes for quite a while - the Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg version. Currently part-way through Castle De'ath. What wonderful TV - incredibly witty, clever, ironic, experimental, inventive, totally entertaining... Not to mention the brilliant camera work, music, acting and scripts!

Sometimes memories from watching them as a boy come back, but I'm sure I never realised just how amazing what I was watching was.

Meanwhile, the countryside is increasingly underwater. The green lanes really are a struggle. Though the flooding from the Cherwell opposite the University Parks was beautiful, in a rather terrifying way - some pics to follow (more quickly this time, I hope).