"The Queen
of Condiments"
Kirstie Allsopp
"The finest jams, chutneys and pickles I have ever eaten"
Clarissa Dickson Wright
"It's just me and a slotted spoon love"
Victoria Cranfield

Disrupted nature

5 hornet queens have woken up and been liberated from the house in the last 2 weeks and still the bats aren't back.  Last year the first queen heralded the bats by a few days, we need them.  Normally midges are awful by now but because it has been relatively dry and cold we can still get around without to many bites, but we will  need the bats, lots of them.

The mayflies were out in April, there are thousands of toad tadpoles in the river.......never seen that before but the level is so low, even with the wet weather of the last few days the levels are still poor but the ground a little less hard.  The rowan has blossomed and the fruit will probably be ready in about a month, 6 years ago the fruit was an August job, then July for the last 3 years but June......how are the birds to fatten for winter?  The rhubarb is nearly over, usually beginning of July.

We are however very luck in comparison to the rest of the South, our trees are green, the lawns not parched and I think the fruit crops will do well.  We have deliberately kept all the grass long as it seems to hold what little rain there is for longer.  The volume of bird song is tremendous even if it is loudest at 5.20am and the carpets of wild flowers in the field just about to break forth is better year on year.  Small blue and holly blue (I think) are on the wing, no marsh frittiliaries this year but loads of orange tip.  Damselle flies are out but no dragon flies yet...

I have received my first batch of Apricots from Arlington Court in May before the gooseberries, totally daft even if they are under cover with many more to come over the next few weeks apparently.

My strawberries are close to ripening but looking out of the window, a squirrel is sizing them up.......he gets up before me and makes deft work of the netting, unlikely to see many of them then....some things never change!

May 30, 2011 by Victoria Cranfield
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iain said:

Glad to hear that some-one realises that hornets are an asset not an enemy
but I doubt that you will convince the mob!
No advance on `Pan-Yan`then ?


cranfields said:

Anything that is so beautiful and eats flies is good by me, we had a nest under the bedroom window last year with a resident bouncer repelling outsiders and the drunk hornets after the pears fermented, the drunk ones flew into the glass and literally tried to stagger home who needs telly! Pan Yan, less successful I haven’t really liked what I have made so am playing with fruit rather than veg at the moment. My tastes are also getting hotter………too much of my own chilli jam!

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