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Monday 22 December 2013

On Alert

Sunday ended up not been a bad sort of a day after early morning rain cleared away. It was a blustery day with some sunny spells. We decided not to go to the plot to harvest our fresh vegetables for Christmas day. With the whole country on rain and wind alert that might have been a bad decision. If Monday turns out to be as bad as it’s forecast there might just be a harvesting window on Tuesday.

As you can see the forecast for Tuesday is sunny, cold and windy just the sort of weather for picking a few Brussels sprouts.




Tuesday 23 December 2013

Missed Most of Monday’s Bad Weather

As it turned out Monday wasn’t the best day to visit the plot and harvest our Christmas dinner vegetables but compared to other parts of the country we got off very lightly. It was a dull, windy day with rain on and off for most of the day but nothing too drastic 8.8mm and certainly nothing out of the ordinary for the middle of December. We’ll have to see what tomorrow brings now as more rain and strong winds are forecast.

As it wasn’t too good outside, on Monday we shared some indoor kitchen duties. I made a couple of pies. The one on the left is beef and onion in red wine, a little different from the steak and ale pie which seems to be very popular at the minute. Alongside it is a greengage pie. This is a first I’ve never tried them in a pie before probably because we’ve never had such a good summer harvest. I’m not sure the fruit is firm enough to stay put once a slice of pie is removed. I’ll soon find out.

Sue used up some of our red cabbage, Huzaro to make one of our favourite vegetable dishes braised red cabbage.

We just need to make a dash down to the plot sometime on Tuesday to harvest a few fresh vegetables.

Overnight Monday into Christmas Eve it was windy around midnight but then died down into the early hours of the morning. Another 3.8mm of rain in the early ours of Tuesday have lifted our monthly total to 47.6mm which is nothing out of the ordinary. Christmas Eve morning is breezy with some sunny intervals looking a possibility so it looks like harvesting some fresh vegetables should be on for this afternoon.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday 24 December 2013 (part 2)

Got Our Christmas Veggies

Tuesday afternoon was cold and breezy but we decided a quick trip to the plot was in order to harvest some fresh vegetables for our Christmas lunch. We didn’t have any intentions of hanging about on the plot just harvest and leave.

As it happened Sue couldn’t resist a little bit of video of our plot neighbour’s mini greenhouse which has taken a real battering from the winds over the last month or so. The surprise is that it’s still standing although I use that term in its loosest sense.

There’s a temptation to think the wind is going to win at any minute but on each successive visit over the last few weeks its condition has deteriorated.

Once the videoing was completed it didn’t take long to harvest some carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and leeks and we were heading back home for a hot drink.

Wonder if we’ll need to do any more harvesting before the New Year.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Guests Who Came to Dinner

Cold but no wind or rain and some sunny periods meant Christmas Day was pretty good weather wise.

Here are a few of our feathered friends who called by for Christmas dinner.

Thursday 26 December 2013

A Little Break From The Gales

Christmas Day and Boxing Day provided some relief from the constant battering from the gale force winds of the last few weeks. Of course it couldn’t last and by mid evening on Boxing Day the wind was getting up again and it started to rain.

Boxing Day was cold and sunny during the day.

Our greenhouse was still frosted over in the middle of the morning and it was the first time this winter that the bird bath needed defrosting.

Then mid evening the wind returned and has continued through the night and into Friday morning with no sign of a let up. The forecast is for the gale force winds to continue all day.

I don’t know how the weather forecasters measure how windy a month has been other than to quote maximum wind speeds but that doesn’t really give any details of how many windy days there’s been. So here’s my method. My weather station records wind gust speeds and it’s possible using the data output from this and then some manipulation in an Excel spreadsheet to produce a chart showing how many gusts at particular speeds have been recorded.

For ease of comparisons between years all Decembers values from 2011 to 2013 are plotted next to one another. It turns out December and January are our windiest months of the year with January 2012 taking the unwanted number one position. There’s still a few days to go but it’s clear that not only have we had lots of windy days this month but that the gusts have also been the strongest I’ve recorded with 3 gusts in the 36-40 mph range. December 2010 was an exception with very little wind but that turned out to be one of the coldest December's on record.

Friday & Saturday 27/28 December 2013

From the Cutting Room Floor

Friday turned out to be fairly typical windy December Day. It was a mild day with some sunny spells and a few isolated showers but spoilt by the strong wind. Saturday was much better as the wind abated at last.

I just felt a little sorry for these Christmas Day visitors to the garden who didn’t make either mine or Sue’s previous posts.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Good Timing

Sunday was a lovely December day with plenty of sunshine, light winds, not too cold and no rain until late on into the evening.

We decided to make the most of the weather and pay a visit to Wentworth Castle. It’s just into South Yorkshire a short 20 minute car journey away but somewhere we haven’t visited before. I had a quick check on the Internet to make sure it was open and pick up a few details such as that it has 500 acres of parkland, a deer park and woodland trails so it appeared ideal for a short afternoon’s visit.

I did think about taking my SLR camera with its 500mm zoom lens so that if we did get close to any deer I’d be able to get some good shots, but it is a heavy beast to carry around and Sue would be taking her 1200mm lens equivalent Panasonic camera so I decided to leave the beast at home and make do with a point and shoot camera for my pictures.

We arrived and made our way to the parkland following the signs away from the visitor centre.

This was our first view of the parkland and not a deer in sight, well there probable is it’s just that no amount of zoom power is going to get a decent shot of them. As we both admired the view and were busy firing off a few first shots some staff arrived carry bags of oats to feed the deer. Rather surprisingly we had stumbled upon deer feeding time and the bags of oats were emptied onto the grass for the deer. There weren’t any deer in sight waiting to be fed, however, after shouting “Come on” several times deer started making their way from all around the parkland for their share of the oats.

How close do you want your deer? As you can see a zoom lens wasn’t required. The deer came up to almost touching distance provided you kept very still but the slightest movement would spook them.

This stag was in charge and spent most of the feeding time surrounded by his females making taking a good picture of him a little tricky. Eventually though when he’d had enough to eat he posed for a few pictures.

We found out that over Christmas and up to New Year’s Day the deer are fed each lunchtime so we’d been very fortunate to arrive at just the right time. After the deer had had their fill we took a little stroll around some of the parkland before returning to the visitor centre for a coffee.

We’ll have to make a return visit to have a look around the 50 acres of formal gardens and the restored Victorian Conservatory.

If I’d looked at their web site more closely I’d have known that the deer feeding time was 13:00 - 13:15 although then it wouldn’t have been such a nice surprise would it.

Watch out for “King of Wentworth Castle” coming on Sue’s Wordless Wednesday blog post later this week.