Daffodils, daffodils and not dieting

Nature Notes for March (very late – sorry – please see last blog for my excuses) and Week 15 FWT?

Our parish hedgerows look stunning at this time of year, and behind their beauty lies a small bit of local history. As you drive around you will notice many of the Cornish hedgerows festooned with daffodils, ranging along the tops, dotted amongst the twiggery, pouring down the sides.  So many, you would be forgiven for thinking it were some free-for-all Britain in bloom affair, but the truth lies in the War Effort.

Many, many years ago, in the early nineteen hundreds, a St. Dominick man, sending other produce ‘up the line’ to London, picked and bunched some wild daffodils that grew here. The Tamar Valley has a micro-climate and produced early strawberries and cherries, and the daffodils were early ones too. They found a ready market in London and soon everyone was growing daffodils as they became a profitable crop. This was very much a market garden parish and not only were whole fields set aside for growing daffs (and a factory set up to treat the bulbs against disease) but most people with a bit of land would grow a few rows and band together with others to send boxes of daffodils off to market.

Now, come the War and Dig for Victory, all the arable land had to be turned over to food production. The daffs had to come out of the fields, and as they were cleared they often got thrown up onto the hedges, and there many thrived, and seeded and grew until now many of our hedgerows look like the photograph (above top) in spring with daffodils in abundance.

As for those homes with a ‘bit of land’ a large garden or an orchard, well the daffodils from those rows are still there – developed into great swathes – like this one that covers most of our orchard (above).

I took the camera round the orchard on one day and took pictures of the daffodils that were in bloom that day. I have to say that many were still in tight bud and would not show for another week or two so this is not the complete range that grow here – but you can see the variety we have.

The Dog loves to cool off by lying in the daffodils  (though it makes a mess of them!)

So my much belated March Nature Notes consist this year of daffodils, daffodils and more daffodils.

The Not Dieting part of this blog is the Fat Woman Thinning? report for week 15, and I can claim yet another one pound loss and half an inch off the waist measurements.  So now at 10st 5lbs. This is much steadier loss than I expected, especially as my weight gets further from the 12st starting point. If you are a late-comer to Fat Woman Thinning and wonder what it’s all about you can look at the FWT? dropdowns from the top bar where it will tell you the why and the how of my losing weight without dieting.

And looking at Bonny (The Dog) in the daffodils – she is very pleased her video has brought more people to enter the fabulous Draw I am holding on my blog here. You only have to sign-up to my blog to enter, though if you are on Facebook or Twitter you can have extra entries – what’s more, as soon as just one thousand people enter, the draw gets made.  And what can you win? Well, first prize is a KINDLE,(Yes a Kindle!) then there’s a Nero Slate Cheeseboard, and then ecopies of my Novels: –  Divining the Line, Nothing Ever Happens Here and Some Kind of Synchrony. If you haven’t entered yet – just click here for all the details, and if you have, don’t forget to spread the word – your friends and family deserve to know about this great free draw!

Does your area put on a particularly wonderful natural show at any time of the year? If so I’d love to hear about it – or any of your comments.

 

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Frogs, Fungus and Fat-balls

NATURE NOTES AT THE END OF JANUARY 2012

Winter still has not really had much of an effect on this little corner of Cornwall, it has been exceptionally mild and pretty wet too. I missed taking a photo of a row of early daffodils blooming against the backdrop of the Ginster’s Christmas tree outside their Pasty factory in Callington  (I didn’t have my camera with me and the next time I passed it was after 12th night)  But I have a shot of our first daffs to bloom – not an early variety but they were blooming by Wednesday of last week (25th Jan) and the snowdrops that line the bottom of the Cornish hedge these grow on were also blooming well.   The first snowdrops however had been those in the new wood, where these (see photo) were out before the end of December. In between I have noticed the usual spring blossoms, the camellias are already putting on a great show and primroses peeking out amongst the grass,  however there are also roses still in bloom in both the front and back gardens.

I couldn’t resist these two examples of fungi – amazingly attractive, one bracket fungus and some toadstools, which I believe to be a honey fungus but must check it out as it was close to one of our apple trees!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The frogs have returned to the water-feature (a run of very small shallow ponds going down through the new wood, fed by spring-water that runs into the main pond near the house) I tried to capture these on camera but the vibration of walking, even ever-so carefully, sends them scooting under the leaf-litter debris in the bottom of the pools. The frogs that inhabit here vary in shade and markings, from the usual green and gold, brown and gold to a dark liver red colour.  Their great clumps of frog-spawn, are, however, quite visible and, as they protrude above the shallow water, are also vulnerable to frost if we get one.

In the main pond (which also holds numerous shubunkin type goldfish, ranging from dark brown, through speckled to gold – none of which we have see at all since late November) the newts have reappeared.  I have tried to capture these on camera but being under-water means I always get a ‘light refraction’ shadow – so they are not that clear. If anyone out there can tell me how to take these photos in a clear way (using a simple old digital camera) please do!  Our newts range in shade from a dark olive green to a basic brown, through a russet red to a pale pinkish colour.  As the water warms up I expect to see more of them as they start their mating behaviour – where a female will  be followed around the bottom of the shallow shelf on the pond by a number of suitors.

My father has a new bird-feeder, it looks like a log with holes cut in the sides and you fill it with ‘fat-balls’ which are, much as their name suggests, balls of fat with seeds and grain in them. This has attracted two varieties of woodpecker, the green woodpecker and the greater spotted woodpecker,  to the garden where we can see them from the kitchen window (we often hear them in the area). They have been accompanied by the long-tailed tits, which usually fly in a group of about a dozen and flitter round the trees where the feeders are, feed briefly but then swiftly move on, however the fat-ball log seems to keep them here much longer.

Lastly a picture quiz: What is it? I took this photograph in very late December in our garden. A click on the picture will enlarge it for you. Can you identify the plant these fell from? Answers in the comment please – I’ll give the correct answer next week!

Clue 1: These came off a tree.

Clue 2: This tree belongs on the other side of the world – native of Australia.

Clue 3 This tree has silvery green leaves, round on young stems and elongated and pointed on older.

FIRST PERSON TO POST CORRECT ANSWER IN COMMENTS  WINs AN E-COPY OF  Divining The Line

And if you want to know more about the novels by Ann Foweraker ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to the first 3 chapters in pdf FREE !  Answer and Winner?? – See the comments!

SEE ‘Old Bottle – New Treasures’ post for February Picture Quiz!

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