PANSTARRS and Wildflowers

Look up, look down.  It’s an exciting week if only the weather was better.  Excitement mounts as PANSTARRS, the first naked-eye coment to be seen in our skies since Hale-Bopp, arrives in the northern hemisphere in the west just after sundown (it is there earlier, but heading towards the sun, so can’t be seen).  Tuesday 12th should be its best chance of a good view for UK observers as it is close to the crescent moon, then still visible till until after Easter.  The current forecast for 12th March is poor. Continue reading

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February on the ground and in the sky

I’ve been out gardening.  That might sound a little strange, but it’s not something I’ve had the time or inclination to do recently.  It’s been very snowy in January – up to six inches on the ground for a week or two.  It’s been gone a week but I’ve been busy with work, yet I made sure I took some time off this weekend.  Continue reading

Mercury, Venus, the Moon – and Moore

I caught The Sky at Night this month on one of its first runs – I am terrible at missing it.  Another interesting programme, with plenty to see in the sky this month.  Venus, Mercury and a crescent moon all making some alignments just before dawn – a time I should be up and about at this time of year! The Geminid meteor shower mid-month.  The Moore winter marathon with things to see through binoculars.  I failed miserably in the spring and vowed to try harder this time. Continue reading

Realisations of my mortality – A Jubilee Wood

Funny how things come to you.  I was preparing to plant the first trees in our village’s Jubilee Wood when I realised that the chances of my seeing it in fifty years time are slim, to say the least.  I know my family have a tendency to get to their 90s and even a couple who made the big 00, but when I helped plant the Jubilee Oak even I laugh at the image of my riding round in a buggy to celebrate its 50th birthday.  But if I can, I hope someone will help me do it.  So I invited the schoolchildren that came to help plant, especially those aged ten, to make sure they celebrated the woods half-centenary. Continue reading

Back to business

I seem to have got the garden back under control at last.  You might not think it if you came round unexpectedly, but to me things are happening roughly as they should be again.  I cleared the space for the winter lettuce this morning and harvested two carrots and a parsnip!  That was all that had grown from countless carrot seeds and one row of parsnips sown.  The slugs seemed to get all the seedlings; I don’t know how they missed these.  There are a few more parsnips and Hamburg parsley growing nicely right at the edge though, I think the slugs must have been confused by the cucumber growing up the arch right beside them. Continue reading

Not a good year for…

… anything except water, really.  It hasn’t been as wet here as in most parts of the country, and I did need to water the vegetable patch (what’s left of it) for a couple of weeks in August.  That meant I ran out of water in the double water butt, but the second one smelled bad, and when I looked I found I had (turn away now if you haven’t a strong stomach) some slugs decomposing in the bottom of it.  I tipped the water out and cleaned the butts and set them up again.  Two days later the thunderstorms started and I had full waterbutts again. Continue reading

My wildflower patch

Although I’ve been having trouble with other parts of the garden this year, my ‘new’ wildflower patch has developed quite nicely.  I say ‘new’ since it’s been grass that got gradually taken over my ‘weeds’ or rather, native wildflowers, so having mentioned it to my neighbours in order to give them a chance to object, since we have open plan front gardens, I devoted the area to wildflowers, mowing a winding path through it and watching what came up. Continue reading

Venus and Diamonds

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend has been really enjoyable, if frustrating with the ‘typical’ English weather.  It’s unseasonably cold and I’ve had fires lit to get over the chill.  I’m never quite sure whether it’s too cold to put the tomatoes and corn out on the patio bench to harden off, or whether it’s too cold for that.  I hope they survive and I expect they will. Continue reading