Swallows here

The swallows have arrived. Advance party came last week, now I'm getting used to hearing their chatter again in the air. (I think they sound a bit cross). My plum blossom is out and this year there are more pollenating insects around at the same time. Last year was disasterous for plums as they flowered when we had particularly cold weather pretty much across the country and consequently there were almost no English plums.

This on the other hand is a camellia I photographed this morning on the estate. The mist had almost completely gone and the sun was starting to warm the air a little.



That is what I like about this time of year. It's all to do with expectation and promise of what the year can produce. When it comes to gardening, seeing seedlings emerge, watching them develop their true leaves, the potential for the summer is so very exciting.

Here is my cucurbit collection. Some I will share with my brother Andy this weekend when we go to visit him for Easter. He has promised to trade some of his Costoluto tomato seedlings and given how they are described; "Handsome and exotic looking, even it’s name, Costoluto Genovese, brings to mind tall, well formed, shirtless men with burning and only slightly vapid eyes", this summer could be very good indeed!


8mm total rainfall in March

January we had 81mm so last month's rain is a bit of a contrast. Much as I dislike rain, I'm now wondering if it will adversely affect this year's mushroom crop?? We suspect that this is a key time for the mycelia to get themselves into fruiting mode. Well, time will tell.

Lots of exciting things happening with work, but all a bit secret as yet. It all seems to happen together, so the pressure is on to cover all the necessary ground and free time (and expendible tasks - like housework) tend to go by the board. I just about manage to keep us both in clean underwear.

Spring has sprung

Here we are, just into April, the clocks have changed and suddenly we are experiencing a parady of the "Ladybird Guide to Spring in the Country". Yesterday, driving back from Craven Arms on the top road, which takes a stunning route along hill ridges, I was given the full works, partridges and pheasants in their gorgeous mating plummage, newborn lambs being shepherd(ess)ed into the next field, little bunny rabbits nibbling at lush new grass, primroses just opened and to crown it all a stoat which strangely didn't seem bothered when I stopped the car to have a good look. And no, I'm not going to tell that joke.

Now we also have a little crop of spring lambs in the meadow next to the house as well, here are a couple of them.