Posts Tagged nature

Growing our runner beans

We always start our runner beans off in the cardboard tubes that are the inside of a toilet roll or kitchen roll.  This means you don’t have to disturb the roots when planting out.  Not having a greenhouse yet I started mine off on the windowsill of the lounge, where they got the afternoon sunshine. This is what they looked like 2 weeks ago when the first beans started sprouting.

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It wasn’t long before we saw more growth:-

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By the time a week had passed they were all growing strongly:-

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It’s been gloriously sunny all week here, so I’ve not wanted to plant them out in the heat of the day.  We waited until Thursday evening when the sun had gone down and planted into the beds.  This year we are trying the “no dig” approach, so the ground is covered with cardboard to stop the weeds growing through, and we just made a hole big enough for each tube by each cane.

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Now we have to wait for them to climb the poles and to produce some beans.  We always do well with beans, they are easy to grow and pretty fast too, so with the warm weather we have been having we should see some results before too long.  Let’s hope the cardboard does the trick with the weeds.  It will eventually break down, but should last the season.

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Bluebell walk

The Bluebells are absolutely lovely at the moment, and near us is an ancient woodland area called Otterhead Lakes, where there are also 2 lakes.  On Monday we took ourselves down there to walk amongst the bluebells.

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Just the woodland path was beautiful with the fresh green of the emerging leaves, so fresh, so luscious.

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The path follows a stream that runs from one lake to another.

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On our route we noticed a tree trunk that had been sawn and yet was regenerating little shoots.

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There were also some late white narcissus in clumps along the pathway.

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On the road down to the carpark was a Devon Bank or hedgerow just full of bluebells.  They are so lovely to see growing wild like this.

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We also have a few bluebells in our garden around the base of a bush.

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All we need now is a lot more sunshine to bring on all the Summer flowers.

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Favourite walk up Staple Hill

On Sunday, being a reasonably pleasant day we took ourselves up to Staple Hill for our favourite walk.  The trees always provide a great subject for photos.

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There was one tree that had grown higher than the others and slightly to one side.

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We could also see all the new growth on the pine trees; the ends all being lighter in colour than the previous growth.

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On one side of the loop walk you get fabulous views right over to Wales.  The land is managed by Neroche and here is a sign they put up acclaiming the woods are for everyone.

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As we rounded the corner we saw some people had built a structure like a dome shelter out of saplings.

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Inside were some mysterious hangings, one like a butterfly and one like a dreamcatcher.

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We wondered who had built it and why but there was no sign and no one to ask.  I rather liked the fact that someone had been creative in the woods.

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Moving the bees

During the cold spell we have had, Neil decided to move the bees into the woods.  It is best to move them when they are more or less dormant and there is no activity outside the hive.  He moved them from the side of our field, near to where the hens are just about 100 yards into the woods. This will enable us to extend the hen run without being too close to bees.

He made a special stand for the hive at waist height, so as not to have to bend down to examine the hive.  He made it big enough to take 2 hives so when he gets another hive of bees later this year, he can also position them there.

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The above picture is taken looking down the slope into the woods.  You might wonder what the green bags are for either side of the hive. Well that is to flap about and put off any woodpeckers from pecking the hive and eating the bees.

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This is the front of the hive, where you can see we have strapped the hive down to the stand, this is to stop any deer from dislodging it.

Even although today it is a sunny day, the hive has not warmed up enough for the bees to start flying again.  But now that Spring is on its way hopefully they will start flying again soon.

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STOP PRESS:  we still have availability at the B&B for Easter Sunday 31st March and Bank Holiday Monday 1st April

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Mystery red fungus

We were gathering wood that had blown down from the trees in our woods and I came across this branch on the ground with 2 round cup fungus growths on it.

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We asked a friend who is very knowledgeable about these matters and he advised that this is an Ascomycete Sarcoscypha austriaca also known as the Scarlet Elf cup fungus.  It is not uncommon and is very similar to Aleuria aurantia the Orange peel fungus. So now we know.  Anyone else seen this recently?

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STOP PRESS:  we still have availability at the B&B for Easter Sunday 31st March and Bank Holiday Monday 1st April

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Seed swap days

We have been to 2 “Seed swap days” in the last week.  Last Sunday was a big “Seedy Sunday” held at Stentwood Farm near Dunkerswell.  Stentwood Farm is run by a community who have a bakery called “The Common Loaf”.  They make artisan bread and sell it at farmer’s markets in the area.  Anyway they have a farm with lots of parking and a tea room, so were ideally suited to hosting the Seedy Sunday.  People bring along unwanted seeds, or seeds they have collected from their plants, in little envelopes, and these are then swapped for other seeds.

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I collected Budleia seeds and also enveloped up some runner bean seeds we had collected from last year’s harvest.

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It was an all day long event and people could donate some money if they didn’t have any seeds to swap.

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After sorting out some seeds people could go downstairs to the tea rooms to have a cuppa.

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Although it was a bitterly cold day there was a good turnout. The event was organised by the Blackdown Hills Transition Group.

Today the Honiton Transition Group had a seed stand at a community Fayre in the town, so we went along to that too.  We were a bit late and didn’t manage to get many seeds, but it will be interesting to grow a few new varieties this year and see what comes up.

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STOP PRESS:  we still have availability at the B&B for Easter Sunday 31st March and Bank Holiday Monday 1st April

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Snowdrops at Otterford Lakes

As it was such a lovely sunny day today, when our B&B guests had gone and we had the first lot of washing on, we went for a walk to Otterford Lakes.  It’s not far from us, just up through Bishopswood a couple of miles.  We walked down to the first lake and the swans were just gliding over the still water.

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As we stood and watched them they came nearer to us and I was able to take this close up.

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We took the lower path past the waterfall.

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As we walked along the stream the sunlight was glinting on the water.

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We followed the path along the stream until we came to the second lake.

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As we walked back we were able to the see the snowdrops much better.  There were carpets of them in the woods.

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They looked so lovely in the sunshine, really made us feel like Spring is on its way.

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When we got home I noticed some of our Spring bulbs are bursting into life.  The crocus in the half moon baskets by the front door have come out.

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And the very first of the Tete a Tete daffs is out.

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We actually sat outside to have a cuppa after lunch the sun was so glorious.  I think the B&B guests who left today were jolly lucky to have this lovely sunshine and to see the view from Lodge House so clearly, even in February.

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