Look I don’t want to be a weather bore, but now I am all weather stationed up there are just far too many opportunities to share interesting data with you. For instance, on Tuesday when I was going to bed the outside temperature was 12.5 degrees, and when I got up in the morning it was still over 11 degrees! That’s just not right for early January. We need some seasonal cold weather, some frosts, perhaps a little snow, not this unhealthy balmy stuff. So warm was it during the week that the bees were quite active on some days; that’s good in some ways, because they need to get out and do their toilet, but there is little in the way of pollen and nectar for them to collect this early, so all that physical exertion will lead to them consuming their food stores when they should really be in a tight cluster inside the hive keeping the queen warm. Having said that there is not much for them to gather, the winter aconites are in bloom, as are the hazels and some of the Viburnums are flowering too. I have a Viburnum tinus in my garden that is smothered in blossom at the moment, but the pink flowered Viburnum bodnantense with its heady scent is particularly impressive for a January flowering shrub.

My seed order hasn’t arrived yet, which is a shame, because I want to get the onions started, but I don’t suppose a few more days will matter. In previous years I have grown onions from sets, but organic ones are hard to come by, and those that are available are very expensive. What did arrive last week were my seed potatoes, so today I opened the sacks and spread the spuds out in trays in the potting shed to chit. I have gone back to ‘Coleen’ this year for new potatoes, along with ‘Maris Bard’, which were very good last year. I will be growing ‘Charlotte’ salad potatoes, and ‘Orla’, and early maincrop type. In total I will have 100kg of seed potatoes to plant in the spring, which will test the back and knees!

My little Robin friend and I have become almost inseperable whenever I am at Moyns Park – if I’m there he’s there, and if he’s not there all I have to do is call him and he appears almost immediately. I haven’t quite got him eating from my hand yet, but he now comes within a couple of inches of it when I am offering him some crumbs. I think that we might make a big breakthrough this week, and I hope that I can capture the moment on my camera; watch this space.

I had a record number of orders last week, which was great – thank you all for your support, but it was challenging too. Because I never know in advance how many orders that I am going to receive the logistics of meeting the requirements of 50 boxes, when some weeks it might only be 30, tends to crank up the anxiety levels. Usually, by hook or by crook, I manage to scrape through, but there may sometimes be occasions when I just don’t have enough of something to go round. When that happens I will always operate the first come first served principal, so it’s in your interest to get your order to me as early in the week as you can manage.

It’s only the 12th of January and I am already a third of the way through preparing numbers for my self-assessment tax return; good aren’t I? I have been known to file my return dangerously close to the 31st January deadline, but I have resolved to avoid the stress of cutting it that fine. Hopefully by this time next week I will be smugly informing you that the chore is complete; I just hope that i am not feeling too bruised by the amount that I owe HMRC.

Ouch! Tomorrow the van is going to the garage for a full service, and the road tax is due at the end of the month, and I need to buy a pallet load of potting compost, and I need to buy a new laptop computer before this creaking thing dies on me…..roll on February.

In the shop this week there will be: Brussels sprouts, kale, perpetual spinach, leeks, beetroot, swede, parsnips, carrots, red and brown onions, mushrooms, garlic and potatoes of various types. The squash have finished now, but there are a couple of new items this week – limited quantities of sweet potatoes, and ginger. There are Seville Oranges and blood oranges; they are smaller than I was expecting so there will be a minimum of 5 per bag. Lemons and kiwi fruit complete the fresh produce offering. There will be rocket pesto, plus spinach and red onion. Apple juice, honey and 2 types of pesto – rocket or spinach and red onion, and that’s yer lot.

Did you see the Wolf moon on Friday? It was a cracker. There was apparently some kind of partial eclipse at some point in the evening, but I failed to see that. The full moon in February is known as the Snow moon, wouldn’t it be nice if we could be sledging by the light of it?

As I sign off the outdoor temperature is 5.4 degrees and the windspeed is 0.8 mtrs/second

Have a good week.

Phil

 

 

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