Frosty Morning

Quite beautiful this morning. Everything covered in frost glinting in the early morning sunlight. This Which Hazel looked like a little glimmering jewel.

Antique bottles dug up on a Victorian Farm in North Devon

Buried Treasure

While landscaping our gardens we have dug up many things including old tools, farm implements, water pumps, tyres, bones and scrap metal.

However, one of the most delicate and lovely things we have found are antique bottles.

Varied and obviously old, quite often the writing on them tells a story.

One bottle reads:

WHEELER
LONDON
TRADE MARK
SOFT WHITE HANDS

Another reads:

MRS WIINSLOW’S
SOOTHING SYRUP
CURTIS & PERKINS
PROPRIETORS

May favourite is:

SAMPLE BOTTLE
DR.KILMER’S
SWAMP ROOT
KIDNEY CURE
LONDON.E.C

First New Moon of 2020

Described as a Wolf Moon, the moon certainly had a presence this evening! I don’t think the picture does it justice.

Viburnum Flowering January in North Devon

Happy New Year! 2020 is here!

A new year has begun, and the garden is already showing signs of life. Apart from the daffodils and snowdrops poking up through the ground, this beautiful and fragrant Viburnum flower is putting on a beautiful show!

Dead bees outside a beehive in winter

Bee Clean

I look out on the beehives every day, but make an effort at least once a week to do a quick walk around and check there are no issues.

Most of the time, they seem quiet with nothing happening. They might as well be empty boxes. However, today one of the hives had this big pile of dead bees outside.

Bees keep there hives clean and tidy and this one had just had a big clean-up pushing out all the bees that had died.

It appears alarming to see this small handful of bees on the ground, but this can be quite usual. As the bees born in the summer die they fall to the bottom of the hive.

Dead bees at the entrance of the hive
Dead bees at the entrance of the hive

As part of housekeeping, the overwintering bees will cast all the bodies out of the hive entrance.

This happened to bee a bright warmish day, and later on bees could be seen flying from all the hives, including this one.

Geese inspecting the beehives at Chilcotts Farm
Geese inspecting the beehives at Chilcotts Farm
Stored apples eaten by mice and rats

A Bite Out of Every Apple!

It would appear we have a mouse problem in our store! After carefully picking and storing our apple crop, It would appear a little mouse family has come along and taken a bite out of nearly every apple!

Even worse, it would appear that we have had rat visitors too with big toothy bites out of some of the store squashes.

A Stored Butternut Squash, eaten by a rat
A Stored Butternut Squash, Eaten by a Rat
Fox at night in December North Devon Barnstaple

Mr Fox is out and about

We have unfortunately lost a duck and a chicken over the last couple of days. Taken by Mr Fox! We haven’t ever had any issues with Foxes, but this year we have lost 3 ducks, 2 chickens and a goose!

Medlar in Autumn - North Devon

Autumn Fire!

Wow! The colours of the medlar in autumn is incredible!

I have never eaten the fruit. Each year I store it, ready to eat, and never get around to it.

I am not sure if it is the fact that you have to let it get to the point of rotting before you eat it that puts me off?

However, I wait until the spring and the big flowers probably make up for what I may have missed.

A walnut tree shedding its seed, the walnut

Walnuts are falling!

I checked the walnut trees a week ago to see if the nuts were ready.

The tree still showed the green fruit intact with no signs of releasing its nut from the fruit.

I checked again yesterday, and within just one week, the tree had started to drop its fruit. The green fruit had split open, and some of the nuts were lying on the ground. Others were just about to fall.

I quickly gathered and picked all the nuts before an opportunist squirrel or mouse had the opportunity.

They are now all drying in the warmth of the utility room, to be eventually stored in our outside store, ready for eating at Christmas!

Honey bee on an ivy flower in autumn

Ivy Flowers, good for the Bees

Even though October is drawing to a close, on warm days the bees are VERY busy.

If you look closely at the ivy, you can see it covered in insects busy at work on the ivy flowers. Not only honey bees, but wasps, flies and bumble bees. All going about their work gathering or consuming the produce of the ivy flower.

The Ivy flower is quite easily overlooked, but is a valuable source of nectar and pollen for the bees. Especially at this time of year when there is not much more forage around. This is one of the last chances for the bees to gather last minute stores.

A fly on an ivy flower in October
A fly on an ivy flower in October