Elizabeth Mills 2016-11-02 21:12:00

Up to now Autumns making quite a spectacle of itself, the trees glow beautifully in the late afternoon sun and slime moulds and fungi are making surprise appearances in the fields. The oaks seem to have produced a really good crop of acorns this year, the fieldfares and redwings are back and every evening the starlings fly over us on their way to roost.

Slime mould ?

Fungi in field

Autumn leaves

Spangle galls

Murmuration  on the way home

Autumnal butterflies

There is a definite nip in the air first thing in the morning and last thing at night but midday is as hot as any summer day we've had and the butterflies and bees are making the most of late flowering blooms to prepare for hibernation. My garden might be looking a bit past its best but theres still lots of lovely colour to make the most of and gladden the heart.






Flies

The garden is full of flies, hoverflies and bees, they are especially fond of the marjoram and thyme and we noticed this fantastic fly looking more like a bumblebee. We think its Tachina grossa apparently it takes caterpillars for its young to feed on. Lovely.


Update - I now have a pet fly! Like bees it love s sugar water.



Elizabeth Mills 2016-07-21 21:34:00

We recycled old tractor tyres to make into flower beds and the wildflowers have really romped away. The little pond we made from an old water cistern has two resident frogs and a visiting toad who like to sit in the cool shade near it.

Cornfield wildflower mix in tractor tyre filled with molehills.

Looks so relaxing!

Wildflowers love the gravelly area under the trees.

Friends of Bowland walk

Friends of Bowland organized a "Wildlife Wander" from Cross of Greets bridge. The weather fined up and it was lovely and sunny which brought out the grasshoppers, dragonflies and beetles. Lots of Meadow Pipits and Whinchats and possibly saw a Hen Harrier circling above. Found Bog Asphodel and Sundews.


















Elizabeth Mills 2016-04-15 10:23:00

Nearly every Bumblebee I saw in Slaidburn on Wednesday had lots of mites clinging to them. On the Bumblebee Conservation Trusts web page they say that generally mites are harmless. The mites will probably have hibernated with the young queen and when she makes a new nest they will feed on wax, pollen, nest debris and any other small insects. At some stage they will hitch a ride on foraging worker bees who carry them to flowers where they wait to attach themselves to another visiting bumblebee and so travel to a new nest.


Heavy infestations might make flying difficult for the bee and they suggest trying to remove some with a childs paintbrush...


There is another mite Locustacarus buchneri that lays around 50 eggs in the bees respiratory system where they hatch and develop, the trust says its not known for sure if they are harmful but that must be one heck of a head cold.

Frogs and Bees

The frogs have found the pond we made last year, one male has been sat in it croaking away and must have been successful as there are several clumps of frog spawn in it. I found an exhausted bee in the garden one evening and gave it some watered down blackcurrant jam and sugar water and after about 15 minutes of licking it up, it started to come round, had a poo and flew off ! The micro moths hatched out of a bag of owl pellets I left on a windowsill. I think they might be Skin Moths which feed off dead animals, owl pellets and the grot in birds nests.





Early Bumblebee enjoying jam NOT a Vampire Bumblebee


I think these are Skin Moths

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. 







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

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