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Bombus consobrinus on Himalayan Balsam

Long-tongued Bombus consobrinus (lushatthumle) which almost exclusively feeds on Aconitum has turned up in the garden over the last few days on Himalayan balsam / kjempespringfrø (Impatiens glandulifera).

Thanks to Tor Bollingmo for the ID (he tells me, he’s not seen this species on Impatiens before).

Visit from Permalin

Lovely visit and the year’s first picnic last night from Permalin Farm, currently being established in Agdenes Kommune, just south of Lensvik (see permalin.no). Dominika Bučková and Håkon Nilsen estabished a student company producing delicious 100% flax flour bread in Telemark (Linbakst; see the following video in Norwegian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkGsbhMlZrI) using a method to remove cyanide from the flour, so that authority regulations to limit consumption of flax seed can be safely circumnavigated. They are now moving the business to their permaculture inspired farm in Trøndelag. I’ll be doing a workshop at the farm during their Farming in Harmony with Nature Summer Festival on 27th-28th July. See you there :)

Grain eaters

With 40-50cm of snow in the farm fields, grain-eating birds are desperate for food. Today, some 30 yellowhammers (gulspurv) and many hooded crows (kråke) and jackdaws (kaie) were at the bird feeder where I’d put out some grain this morning!

Digging for victory

I’ve been following and supporting the discussions that we need to Dig for Victory against climate change as though we were in a war….this is the progress so far! No, I shouldn’t joke :(
The first two pictures shows progress digging a trench along the driveway. 30 years ago, I dug by hand the length of the driveway and filled in with stones and gravel as the previous owners hadn’t wanted a car into the house and it was just a pathway with grass. I started the trench to stop the tree roots invading my vegetable beds, a problem on my shallow soil which I didn’t think was more than 20cm depth anywhere, but where the pictures are taken seems to be part of an old sand quarry and it was much deeper than I ever imagined and I’m still not down to the rock! I gave up having excavated a lot of sand and come down to a layer of clay beneath. I’ve now refilled this with large rocks! I remember excavating this part 30 years ago in the spring and finding a hard layer that I thought was rock…it seems it was frozen :)
The second picture shows another bed I constructed when building the greenhouse (RIP) for my mint collection. The mints were grown in pots and sunk in gravel to stop them wandering. I’ve dug it all out, cleaned the gravel and replanted!