A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunflowers

Sunflowers are a crop not often seen in our area but this strip near Leonard Stanley seems to be doing well. We  thought they were supposed to face the sun but these seem to be turned away perhaps avoiding the prevailing winds.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Maize nearly ready for harvest



The field of maize near our house seems to have grown well this summer and is almost ready for harvesting. 
Maize a type of wild grass came from tropical Mexico around 5000 years ago spreading to other South American civilisations. Eventually the Spanish discovered it and exported it around the world.
In the UK maize doesn't usually ripen as a grain due to the climate. The corn cobs are harvested together with the plants by farmers in the south when it is cut in the autumn and made into a high energy silage crop for winter feeding of cattle.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Yellow plums

Autumn brings fruit of many types. Yesterday we picked and dealt with the yellow plums from our old tree.

The plums are quite dry to eat raw but delicious stewed and served with yoghurt, in a fool, made into jam or with apples from our neighbour's tree and made into chutney.



Thursday, 14 August 2014

Caper Spurge or Euphorbia Lathyrus.



We have spotted this plant in the countryside many times but this year it popped up in our garden. We couldn't agree on a diagnosis so asked some friends who easily identified it as Caper Spurge, Mole Plant or Euphorbia Lathyrus.
When we say "popped" the plant grows at an alarming rate and by the time we pulled it up it was one and a half metres tall!  All parts of the plant including the seeds and the roots are poisonous to humans and most animals so be very careful if you come across one. When seeds are ripe they apparently explode sending them everywhere which must be how it arrived in our garden.
It's other name Mole Plant comes from the fact that it is supposed to repel moles in the garden. W think it might have worked as we did have a young mole around in the spring but come to think of it he hasn't been around recently!


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Horse Chestnut




The fruits of the Horse Chestnut are now ripening to the delight of children who collect them for the game of Conkers where conkers are threaded on string and swung at opponents conkers to try and shatter them while keeping their own intact.
This fine avenue of trees leads to the church at Frampton on Severn.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Ancient Oak

We passed this magnificent old Quercus Robur on a walk near Frocester Court and wondered how many hundreds of years it had stood there. Some branches have died and fallen but this is normal for a tree of this age.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Bird Bath


I was awoken this morning with the sound of much flapping of wings and thought at first that a bird must be trapped but looked out to find a family of blackbirds bathing in the pond.
The continued this activity for around an hour presumably ensuring their feathers were in good condition and free of parasites

Friday, 25 July 2014

Maize field

During our two weeks away on holiday the maize crop in front of our cottage has grown enormously helped by warm sunny weather and showers and is now above our heads as we walk the footpath.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Evening Walks

We have enjoyed some lovely evening walks recently such as this one along the Cotswold Way. As the wind drops, light percolates through the trees, birds sing and all is well in the countryside.  Hope you too are able to make the most of summer.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Hornet

The hallway window was buzzing the other day and on investigation we found it was this Hornet. We managed to move it outside using a jam jar and it settled on the patio where we were able to photograph it. In fact the trauma of it all meant that it moved itself to the wall and remained there until it warmed up the next morning.
Hornets have a reputation for being aggressive but they are said to be less so that many other wasp species it is just their noise that makes them appear so. They can be up to 2.5 inches long this one was only around 1.5" so possibly a young one.