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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:03 pm

Our visit to the BKKS National Show at Coventry yesterday was a very enjoyable day out marred only by the trips to and from the showground in a cramped and very hot mini bus. We appreciate that it is paid for by the club but next year several of us agreed that we would rather pay toward a more comfortable air conditioned mini bus or go by car than endure the discomfort of yesterday. That apart we had an enjoyable day out starting off at Keith's were he greeted us with hot and tasty bacon and egg butties and mugs of coffee. Further pleasant and unexpected bonus at the show and Dave surprised us by supplying very fresh delicious cheese and cheese and ham baps with home grown tomatoes and a freshly made cup of tea as an addition to our enjoyment.
We had our usual visit to Shirley Aquatics later on in the afternoon but this time to their new venue on Beckets farm, next door to one of the biggest farm shops I've ever seen in my life, it was huge; and very reasonably priced, example, 500g of fresh sweet cherries £1.00, 6 nectarines also a £1.00, can't see cheaper than that!
Again several of the members couldn't resist the bargains to be had at Shirley's and several members bought bargain priced goods and several fish, namely small Orfe and Koi.
The next problem was getting them home quickly on a hot day!
I know one bag of small Orfe are swimming around today so one lot arrived home safely.

This continued hot weather continues to surprise and delight us but it is now getting too hot in the afternoons for me at least, I 'm up and out at half six these mornings to water the garden before the heat hits.
One bonus of this glorious weather is the handsome visitor to my pond on Saturday morning pictured below, it is an Emperor Dragonfly and it's the U.K's largest dragonfly, 76mm body length and 106mm wingspan. This snap is male resting up on the scouring rushes at the back of my veg filter, the female who arrived shortly after male never stopped long enough for me to get a picture as it was constantly chased and harassed by male in about the 2 hours they spent by pond.
We took our dog for a walk early this morning to beat the heat, but not early enough it seems, a lady dog walker we know told us she saw a Little Egret in the Elwy, it was wading in the very shallow river by the viewing platform earlier, but no one got a picture apparently, that's a first though!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:50 am

The continuing hot weather has got me out earlier and earlier watering the pots and garden, this morning a quarter past five and the sun cracking the flags I put the sprinkler on the lawn to try to revive the growing patches of parched yellowing grass showing. The continuing hot weather must be some sort of record for UK, I remember hot dry summers when I was small but thought it must be down to selective memory of childhood?
The fruit is starting to ripen rapidly and once again lots of Tayberries and gooseberries plus the last of the early cherries from the greenhouse collected, as you can see from snaps below.
The blackbirds and magpies are at them from dawn to dusk though hammering them so I've had the annual tedious task of netting them all.

Four of us made the pilgrimage to Chirk yesterday afternoon to try a bit of fly fishing, starting at 3.30pm and fishing through to evening but a total blank for all of us, due once again to the heat. We had the place to ourselves and even the owner Sean left us at 4.30pm to our own devices telling us we could fish as long as we liked!
Nigel finally had a small perch on after our tea break at 5.30pm but lost it, all 4 inches of it!
It really is a beautiful spot in the Ceiriog valley though, it's noted for being a place of 'outstanding natural beauty' and the wild life about is pretty awesome. There was all kinds of flying aquatic insects about and just dozens of Damselflies and the odd dragonfly hawking around the lake and river to keep us entertained despite the lack of interest from trout.
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Summer Sun cherries.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:18 am

We are now into mid-summer July and the hot sunny weather continues unabated, You actually take it for granted, like holidaying abroad!
It pretty much started for me here in the North East of Wales on the 18th of April with only three, yes; three days of rain I've registered in my gardening calendar. Sadly? one day it lasted all of twenty minutes, a quickly passing thunderstorm back in early June!
OK, it's a pain watering the pots in the garden twice a day but, whatever, the upside is lovely hot sunny weather, it's like living in Portugal lately, without the communication problem with the natives.
Anyone growing oranges yet?

My koi are feeding well, clearing about a half kilo of food a day but miraculously my water remains fairly clear unlike my neighbour Alan who has enjoyed? green pea soup water conditions over the last two months.
I told him I experienced a similar occurrence early last month when my pond water went decidedly green and murky.
I initially put it down to the bright sunny weather and heat but as a precaution I decided to replace the 55 watt tube in my TMC Proclear uv filter (I replaced the bulb as normal practice in mid April)
I discovered one of the end caps on lamp leads had become faulty and ceased working (plastic degrading through heat and causing intermittent electrical contact with bulb)
Result was bulb must have shorted out as it was clearly blown.
I replaced and re-soldered in the two entire lamp leads rather than just replace end caps and also put new 55 watt tube in, I also replaced all the 'O' rings, this is important as they also degrade (note; there are two sizes, used by TMC, 3mm 'thin' and 4mm,'thick' check with Vernier gauge if not sure)
Still murky water so as I had ordered new 55 watt bulbs with the new parts, I replaced the bulb once again, result, clear water within three to four days.

NOTE;
The bulb replaced in April ceased working by early June, second new bulb never worked at all! third bulb still working today the 5th July.
Bottom line here is never assume a bulb is working because; A it's new, and B because it lights up as mine did, and C because you bought the genuine TMC replacement bulb as mine was.

Here is my poem dedicated to July and the continued hot weather we have all enjoyed.


THE GLOW WORM.
A happy chap's a glow worm
A glow worm's never glum
How can you be grumpy
When the sun shines out your bum!
pollygog
 
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:01 pm

Yes, the watering is getting to be a pain, one drawback of growing potatoes in pots is that amount of watering they need. This warm dry weather does have some advantages though, the crops of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are the best I can ever remember.

I'm off out now to spend the next hour or so watering the gardens and greenhouses after having spent half the afternoon fruit picking, it's a good job I've got a big chest freezer.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:24 am

Strange year this year fruit-wise, my gooseberries are the smallest in size ever due to drought yet the apricots are the size of peaches, they are huge!
The early cherries, Summer Sun (last month) and the Early Rivers, cherries have been pretty big and juicy this year, see pic's below, yet the Morello and Stella cherries are just normal size this year.
Also due to very cold late spring, the plum crop has been very hit and miss this year.
Early flowering plums like Opal and Victoria suffered badly in this years cold weather at blossom time as there are just 4 plums maturing on the Opal and a sporadic sprinkling on the Victoria and Denbigh plums yet the later flowering Jubileum and Marjorie's Seedling plums with more frost resistant blossom have quite a decent crop on.
Tayberries are smaller but sweeter this year as are blackberries and Jostaberries but, Jostaberries like the gooseberries, picking, then topping and tailing hundreds of them is a real chore!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:57 pm

The most welcome and pleasant rain of the last few days has been and gone and its back to the hot and hotter again today. An on-going trend of the continued heat wave is going out earlier and earlier to walk dog by the river.
A neighbour told us she had to take her little dog to the vets last week, it was very ill from drinking water out of the river Elwy!
The vet told her the number of sick dogs she is treating is increasing due to continuing heat wave producing high levels of bacteria and harmful algae in local ponds and rivers. The decreasing levels and much slower flow rate have exacerbated the situation. This morning we had to change our route to stop our Lottie from drinking from the river as she normally does, it's up slightly from last week but still a trickle to what it normally is. We carry bottled water and bowl in car anyway so its not a problem for a drink for our dog.
Looking at the new massive flood defences this morning and seeing the trickle of river moving slowly through the dried up riverbed down below looks very much like overkill; but, watch this space!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:03 pm

Another big bonus of the continuous sunshine this year is a bumper crop of blackberries, my second picking was yesterday when I took this pic below of an early thornless variety called Chester, all my blackberries are thornless now, so much more easier to pick too.
One further possible point of interest is next pond meet is here, that is Sunday the 5th August at 2.00pm, details in newsletter.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:14 am

It has indeed been a good summer for the soft fruit although my strawberries and raspberries are now coming to an end.

One highlight this summer is that a pair of swallows has nested in the rafters of the stable for the first time in over ten years. The house next door bought two cats of the semi-wild type that have deterred them from nesting for a number of years but the cats are now 14 and not agile enough to raid the nest. Anyway, three baby swallows have fledged and left the nest in the last couple of days.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:07 pm

I'm so envious of you Colin, to have Swallows nest in your stable again, the added good news that three young have successfully fledged is a big bonus too.
Sadly for me, the last time I had Swallows nesting in our place was back when we lived in Bickerstaffe pre; 2005.
Back then we had an old wooden stable in the yard with the top section of the stable door missing and a pair of swallows nested there every year. One year a weasel caught and killed the female Swallow brooding her eggs on the nest but ironically Cynthia caught the weasel in a mouse trap a week later, poetic justice there!
A pair was back nesting the following year though, most probably their offspring.
We always kept a diary of when they returned from Africa, usually around April the 13th!
Summer was just around the corner when they returned each Spring to hurtle screaming around the garden snapping up flies around the koi pond, a real joy to watch.
We were also very lucky to have a small colony of House Martins nest under the eaves of our cottage and we felt it was a real privilege to have them build their mud cups up there (despite the mess below the nest site every year)
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:06 pm

Coincidence with the fledged swallows this week but another three young birds successfully fledged are three young Osprey chicks at Cors Dyfi on the Aberdovey estuary we saw yesterday.
Following a trip to Borth to empty a family static caravan we called in at the Osprey site on the Dovey estuary to have a well earned coffee break and then view the new chicks.
We had our little dog with us so we were not allowed down to the estuary viewing lodge but its not a problem as they have four huge monitors streaming live pictures in the reception hut, so, despite the strong wind blowing them about, we could watch real time the female feeding a huge flounder to the three fledged chicks.
Meanwhile, the now famous Monty the male Osprey watched over his family from a nearby tree perch: and, it had stopped raining!
We still have to empty the van though!
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