Sunday, 30 October 2016

Catching Up

We decided to make the most of the dry weather over the last few days and have some days out. For the last few days the weather has been milder but mostly cloudy and windy at times.
Temperature, Rainfall and Sunshine Records 23-29 October 2016
We headed north for our outings to Richmond Castle, Beamish Museum and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. On Thursday at Richmond Castle it was windy making it feel pretty cold.
Construction of the castle began in around 1070 and it's still possible to climb up to the top of the 30m (100 ft) high keep to get some brilliant views of the river Swale. The only problem was in the wind it was difficult to hold the camera steady to get any good shots. At times it was more important just to hold on to the camera to stop it been whipped out of your hands and over the side.
The wind had abated for our next trip to Beamish Museum in County Durham. It's an open air museum on a site covering about 350 acres with a 1900's pit village, a 1900's town, a railway station and a 1940's farm forming some of its main attraction. As it was school half term holiday the museum was very busy and some of the shops in the town were no go areas as there were long queues outside. The shops sell traditional sweets and cakes and there's a fish and chip shop in the pit village which had long queues outside as visitors waited to buy their fish and chips. I noticed that there weren't any queues at the dentist's in the town.
Our third day out was to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. It was certainly the best of the three days as we even managed a little bit of sunshine and with only a gentle breeze it felt fairly mild. We seemed to have caught the moors at their autumnal best.
Into the afternoon the blue skies and sun disappeared and the moors took on a more moody appearance.
We arrived back home with lots of photos to sort out and plenty of video to edit. Still we'll need something to do now the dark nights have arrived. No doubt our photos and video will eventually be posted to Facebook, You Tube and Zenfolio.

Monday, 24 October 2016

A Dry October Means Lots of Tidying Up

There hasn't been much to report on the weather front now for the last week or so. It seems to be in a bit of a rut although it's not an entirely bad rut. It's been mostly dull and cloudy with a few sunny intervals now and again. We've had the occasional shower but it has remained mostly dry.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 18-24 October 2016
Despite the rain shown on the above chart October has been reasonably dry with only 28.0mm (1.10ins) of rainfall making it the driest October of the last seven years at this stage of the month. It's also been coolish with only 2012 having a lower average temperature this far into the month.

The dry weather has given us chance to get some tidying up done on the plot. We've even made a start on a couple of those areas that have been neglected for a little too long.
The pile of rubbish was getting bigger and bigger and eventually I couldn't do much more until a little bit of space was created by burning some of our chopped down conifer, elder and laurel. It had to be a careful job to make sure the flames didn't spread too far and get out of control. It was a case of getting rubbish burnt while it was still dry as, most of the time we were at the allotment, the threat of a really heavy shower never seemed far away.
We were lucky to get only a sprinkling of rain as the shower gave us a near miss. It was dark by the time we left the plot leaving just the dying embers of the fire to burn away through the night.
The embers were still warm the following afternoon.

Friday, 21 October 2016

A Look Around the Plot

The weather hasn't varied much over the last few days. It's been mostly cloudy with a few sunny spells now and again with light showers mixed in for good measure.
Temperatures have been very slightly below average with the rolling average monthly temperature remaining at 10.6°C (51.1°F) for the last eight days. It's rather unusual for it to have remained unchanged over so many days.

We're used to dodging the showers when we visit the plot. It's become a regular feature of our visits. Below is a short video looking around our plot as we tidy up as much as we can before any winter weather arrives.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Should Have Seen It Coming!

Monday wasn't too bad for mid October. Some pleasant sunny periods in the afternoon lifted the temperature up to a respectable 16.1°C or 61.0°F. We made an afternoon visit to the plot and found time for a cup of coffee and a couple of superb Queen Cox apples straight from the tree.
Apples - Queen Cox
As we pulled up spent peas haulms and strimmed the grass we should have seen it coming.
We didn't spot it until it was too late. We were about to pack up as a very heavy shower arrived. We decided to wait it out sheltering in the shed until the worst of the rain had passed. It didn't last long but it did look like more heavy showers were around.
As we finished packing all our produce and gardening equipment into the car some more blue sky was making an appearance.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Neglected Allotment?

It has been a few days now since we had any reasonable weather even allowing for it being the middle of October. It's been a week since we visited the plot so if we're not careful we'll be getting a tidy up letter from the council.
Temperature & Rainfall Records for Week Commencing 10 October 2016
Since last Monday when we visited the plot in the rain we've had more rain each day. Oddly though it's been one of the driest starts to October we've had in the last seven years with 22.8mm or 0.9ins. We didn't have much rain on Friday and Saturday but the weather wasn't very conducive to doing any gardening. Between any showers it's been cloudy with only a few brief sunny spells resulting only 4.4 hours of sunshine all week. A mild September has spoilt us especially moving straight  into a coolish October. Perhaps the weather will improve next week. Tidying up the plot has gone on hold this week bringing all our wonderful plans to a grinding halt. 

We did manage to pick a few tomatoes and some salad leaves from our raised bed at home for our lunchtime sandwiches .
We might manage another week with our home grown tomatoes before we have to move on to less tasty mass produced fruits. It's been very nice to have tasty tomatoes for a few months.

Friday, 14 October 2016

First Milestone for Autumn

Thursday produced a sort of first milestone of the onset of autumn and winter weather as the daytime high temperature didn't make it into double figures with a high of 9.9°C or 49.8°F. Throughout the day, we had lots of showers, some of them pretty heavy, finishing up with 6.4mm or 0.25 ins of rainfall.
Temperature & Rainfall Records for 13 October 2016
Our cherry tree is in no doubt that autumn is in full swing.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Not Very Rosy

Wednesday was another cool day with some heavy showers and not much of a day for gardening.
Temperature & Rainfall Records for October 2016
We haven't had a great amount of rainfall on any day but the showery nature of the weather and the cool temperatures mean that nothing dries out during the day. The monthly total stands at 18.2mm or 0.72 ins at the moment.

Our rose in a pot which stands outside by the summerhouse door is doing its best to continue flowering despite the poor weather.
However, each flower doesn't last very long before it surrenders to the damp conditions and goes mouldy.
Still it's nice to still have a few flowers even if they don't last very long.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Back to a Rather Damp Allotment

There seems to be little doubt now that autumn has finally arrived. September was warmer than average for September and with some decent sunny days we were spoilt a little bit. October has certainly brought with it some much cooler and damper weather.

Back on the 11 September I planted out some cut and come again lettuce plants called Catalogne in our raised salad bed at home.
For one reason or another I haven't given them much of a thought. There's been enough rain for me to forget about watering plants outside so it had been a while since I'd checked out how they were doing. I had a look this week and got a pleasant surprise.
A forest of leaves ready for picking and as far as I can tell no damage from slugs and snails. Hopefully these leaves should keep us supplied for some time providing we don't get any frosty nights.

We decided on a trip to the plot even though it was cold and damp. I carried on with a Somerset theme and harvested a few more apples, well 15kg or another 33.5 lbs.
Our main problem is storage as we haven't got any. I think they'll have to go on the floor in our summerhouse although we are rapidly running out of floor space in there. It's a nice problem to have though.
After harvesting this little lot we'd got a little bit wet in the spells of drizzly rain and decided to head for home to warm up and dry out.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A Long Weekend Away

We had a long weekend away in Somerset with a few different photographic opportunities. The weather was a little bit mixed although I'm not sure which weather produced the better photographs. On Thursday we made a visit to WWT Slimbridge giving us a chance to photograph a few different birds at close quarters.
It was a lovely sunny afternoon at Slimbridge and the wildlife didn't let us down with plenty of photo opportunities.

It was a bit different on Friday as the weather was dull and overcast all day with the sun stubbornly refusing to make any sort of appearance. The rain held off though. First up was a spot of steam train photography as the West Somerset Railway were holding their autumn steam gala.
Williton Station
Near Watchet
We also visited Cleeve Abbey looked after by English Heritage. It's supposed to be one of the best preserved monastic sites in the country. After our disappointing visit to Whitby Abbey the other week I was a little bit dubious about what we might find. I needn't have been as I thought the site was much better than Whitby Abbey with plenty to see and photograph as we walked around the site.
Cleeve Abbey
Cleeve Abbey - The Refectory Hall
Saturday's plan was to visit Minehead and then go on to visit the National Trust Property, Holnicote Estate, and in particular the village of Bossington and its beach. The weather remained dull and overcast all day but apart from a very light shower at Minehead it was another dry day.
Holnicote Estate - Bossington Village
Holnicote Estate - Bossington Beach
On Sunday we planned calling in at Tyntesfield another National Trust property as it wouldn't involve too much of a detour away from the M5 as we headed back home. It was a good choice. The estate has some fantastic trees that it's difficult to stop photographing. We didn't have any time to look around the house. As you can see from the photos the sun decided to put in an appearance.
It's now a case of sorting through lots of photos and video.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Laxton's Superb Perhaps?

The decent start to October has continued. The mornings have started off a bit dull and cloudy but generally we've had some sunny periods through the day.

On a quick trip to the plot on Tuesday afternoon I managed to pick another bucket full of apples from our apple hedge.
We inherited our apple hedge over twenty years ago now and we don't know the varieties that were planted. We assume that they will be standard type varieties as searching out unusual apple varieties on the Internet wasn't an option when these trees were planted.
I'm not sure of this variety and I think we've changed our minds several times over the years as to what it might be. It doesn't seem to go rosy red and is rather a tart apple but I'm not totally convinced that it's a baking apple. My best guess at the minute is that it may be a Laxton's Superb.
For the moment the apples have been boxed up and will be stored in our summerhouse for a few weeks. It will be interesting to see how the apples keep over the next few weeks.

Has anybody any other suggestions regarding what variety these apples might be?

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Trains and Boats and Planes

After a very chilly start to the day it warmed up nicely and finished up a lovely October day.
Over the weekend we had a couple of days away visiting Whitby and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Grosmont
Whitby Harbour  and an authentic replica of HMS Endeavour
Photographed at Grosmont

Monday, 3 October 2016

A Very Mild September

For us at any rate September has turned out to be a very mild September and easily the mildest I've recorded over the last six years.
However, the spell of exceptionally mild weather hasn't continued into October. On Monday morning, 03 October, the temperature fell to 2.6°C or 36.7°F which is the lowest temperature I've recorded this early into autumn.
The good weather through September helped our collection of brassica plants to establish quickly and grow well in the mild weather.
Collection of brassica plants planted out on 06 September 2016
Brassica collection on 02 October 2016
I had some doubts about how much growth these plants would put on in the cooler autumn days but so far they've done extremely well. Will they continue to grow this well through October?

Our early cauliflowers didn't do very well at all this year as they were devastated by slugs after they were planted out and although they recovered to some extent and went on to produce some heads these too were eaten away by slugs. We've had a long wait this season for some decent cauliflowers but some planted out in summer are now producing some excellent slug free cauliflowers.
Cauliflower - Clapton
If at first you don't succeed keep trying seems to work most of the time on the plot.