Thursday, 4 February 2016

Signs of Spring

Its a bit wild and windy up here but the little bit of extra warmth in the greenhouse and in the hotbed is making all the difference. The crocuses are putting out their lovely golden yellow flowers and the salads have all started to sprout. I went to start weeding in the polytunnel and found one alpine strawberry. The snowdrops are looking so beautiful in the shelter of the hedge bottom and the primroses are flowering alongside the stream.Watching telly with the cat I heard quite loud scratching coming from a plastic sack with firewood in it. Both me and the cat were worried it was a mouse and one of us would have to do something about it. (ok the cat looked quite cheerful and was probably thinking it could find room for a little one), but it turned out to be a longhorn beetle that must have emerged early because of the warmth. 







Monday, 1 February 2016

Happy New Year !!!

Ok its a bit late, but never mind. The weather has been all over the place one minute warm as spring the next gales and snow.  We have made hot beds in the greenhouse to get early salads going. in the garden primroses, red campion and daffs are out.

Collecting molehills to fill hot beds

Tete a tete out in Slaidburn

Hot bed with manure to add heat and be covered with about 8 inches of soil

Weather can get a bit dramatic up here !

Tit or wrens nest in climbing rose

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Happy Christmas

 Had a lovely quiet Christmas and thankfully not flooded out like lots of other poor people in Lancashire. A vegetarian Christmas dinner was a potato and leek bake topped with tomatoes and a smoked cheese sauce along with customary sprouts, roast parsnips and yorkshire puds, followed by christmas pudding which the cat appears to have eaten most of in the photo below.
 Happy Christmas !
Portrait done as present 

A Christmas Pudding

Vegetarian Christmas

Friday, 13 November 2015

Nostoc commune

On paths and lawns you might notice something that looks like a green jelly fungus. It loves warm wet weather, paths and poorly drained compacted lawns. I think my photograph is of Nostoc commune, a type of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria have been around for 3.5 billion years and helped to create the atmosphere we have today by releasing oxygen into the atmosphere and fixing nitrogen from the air. In medieval times it was called star jelly as it was thought to be the remains of shooting stars fallen to earth. Nostoc species are of interest to food, biofuel and pharmaceutical companies. Traditional medicine has used them as anti inflammatories and today they are of interest for their antibacterial action and possible use against certain cancers. So instead of going urgh, I think a small round of applause is called for.




Thursday, 5 November 2015

Fungi foraging

Even though I'm too wussy to ever eat any fungi I find, I still love going out in autumn looking for them. I think it's their weird shapes and strange habits that I like, seeing something growing straight out of a decaying tree or a bright spot amongst the leaf litter or yellowing grass, just makes a drizzly autumn day a bit less dreary. I have no idea what this white one is - puts me in mind of a sea slug though.



Monday, 2 November 2015

Foggy November 1st

Beautiful evening walk and treated to an amazing natural spectacle as the fog rolled in to fill the valley below us creating an almost primeval scene. Felt like we were stood on the edge of a giant sea loch. Unforgettable. Even the sheep were quiet.