Monday, 30 August 2010

Bank Holiday Sunshine???



It is quite rare here in the UK for the words 'Bank Holiday' and 'sunshine' to appear in the same sentence. Bank holiday weather has become a bit of a joke. In 1992 winds reached 77mph - one of the windies days on record for a bank holiday. And in 1986 parts of North Wales had five inches of rain and widespread flooding.

So everyone here is cock-a-hoop that the weather forecasters tell us we are under a strong ridge of high pressure and the weather will be set fair all week. But does that mean we can bask out in the sunshine and enjoy it? On a farm? I think not.

Already the farmer - and our neighbour Geoffrey - are out cutting grass for second-crop silage. By tonight all seven fields earmarked for silage will have the grass down. Geoffrey and the farmer work in conjunction with each other when it comes to silage - the farmer cuts his grass, Geoffrey cuts his grass, Geoffrey bales both lots up into bales and then we get an outside contractor to wrap the lot. It is good to have a few days of high pressure; it does take some of the worry away as there is no need to keep scanning the skies for a coming shower.

Later this morning, when my cleaner has gone, I shall take a flask of coffee out to the farmer. I'll take my camera as well. I am sure you have seen enough photographs of silaging but you never know what turns up.

One of my new hens has gone missing. Rumour has it that there is a fox about. I hope the two are not connected - I'll keep you informed on that score too. Have a lovely day if it is sunny where you live.

Later: Well, here he is,cutting the bottom field - four down three to go. Tess and I had a walk round the hedgerows, me looking for anything unusual, Tess looking for rabbit holes, of which there are plenty. The farmer had seen a bunch of young pheasant with their mother - these will be wild ones reared in one of our fields - always a joy to see after seeing so many reared for shooting parties. All I found was this growth on a wild rose branch; we used to call these 'pincushions' when we were children. I have a feeling they are the homes of gall wasps, but I shall now go over to Stuart Dunlop (Donegal Wildlife) so that he can tell me. Incidentally, Stuart's site always has something interesting on it and he is a mine of information on anything to do with Natural History - pop over and have a read sometime.

14 comments:

mrsnesbitt said...

Oh dear - hope the hen is safe somewhere! Has she scuttled away to lay some eggs? We had this happen - first thing we would look out for her as she would dash to the food before scurrying back to her eggs.

The weather eh??? NAFF!

Gerry Snape said...

Hooray for sunshine!! Actually we had a super day at the Prom Art in Grange yesterday even though we woke up in Warrington to serious rain. Hope the hen comes back. Our last lot, a few years ago, all got taken by the urban fox...old rascal!

Pondside said...

Fingers crossed for the return of that hen....no foxes here, but the raccoons and otters are nasty at night, so our hens are always locked in at dusk.

Heather said...

Oh Pat - I do hope your hen is safe. I love the look of 'pincushions' but believe they might not be good news for the rose. I shall certainly visit Stuart's blog - he will fill the gap left by Professor Yaffle who always seemed to know what was what and I miss him. Glad the weather is on the farmer's side for once.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for the walk around! It is as if I was there! Hope your hen is back again!

Bovey Belle said...

Wonderful sunshine here too and OH and I have actually SAT DOWN and enjoyed it for a little while this afternoon. Then back to work in the garden (me) and barn (him). We are hoping this week will be enough to really dry our logs out for winter storage (hence working in the barn, clearing space.)

Your OH will be hopeful of a good last? cut anyway.

Bovey Belle said...

Wonderful sunshine here too and OH and I have actually SAT DOWN and enjoyed it for a little while this afternoon. Then back to work in the garden (me) and barn (him). We are hoping this week will be enough to really dry our logs out for winter storage (hence working in the barn, clearing space.)

Your OH will be hopeful of a good last? cut anyway.

Derrick said...

The wasp nest thingy looks quite attractive so it's a pity if it isn't good for the rose. We saw grass cutting here too this morning. Farmers across the entire country must be out mowing! Hope you find the hen.

George said...

An interesting post, Pat, and I am fascinated by that thing you call a "pincushion." Nature never ceases to amaze me!

Stuart said...

Yes, your gall is the Robin's Pincushion Gall or Bedeguar Gall caused by the tiny (3mm) wasp Diplolepis rosae. The wasp larva alters the bud growth to form a series of chambers that it lives and feeds inside. If you mark the location you can go back at the end of the year and see the remains of the gall when all the growth has died away. The gall certainly won't harm the plant and will increase biodiversity as it attracts lodgers and associated parasites.

Elizabeth said...

What a super and heartfelt poem below!
Yes, school does seem pretty much like jail when one is in it.
Wordswoth has lots of important stuff to say on the subject....
Anxious about the chicken.....

Reflections said...

I too hope the hen is okay and just off some where. But those foxes can be such rascals...

Thank you for the walk, I really enjoyed my visit.

Dave King said...

I remember the pincushions. Never knew what they were, though. Keep 'em coming!

The Weaver of Grass said...

There is I am afraid absolutely no sign of the hen - I fear she is lost for ever.

Thank you to all of you who commented and particularly to Stuart with his excellent description for us all.