A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

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


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. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Bee Orchid

Look out for the unmistakable Bee Orchid in grassland over the next few weeks.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Cinnabar Moth

From mid May to early August the colourful Cinnabar moth can be seen on grass and heathland. We spotted some on a visit to Alney Island nature reserve in Gloucester on the flood plain of the Severn.