Both of these thrushes, European robin (rødstrupe) and blackbird (svarttrost) overwinter in small numbers, mainly in the lowlands here.
1. Blackbird (svarttrost) and great spotted woodpecker (flaggspett)
2. Bullfinches (male and female; dompap) on plum buds (not too happy with this), there were 8 birds altogether….hopefully they won’t do too much damage… :(
3. Fieldfare (gråtrost) on apple
A storm is blowing this morning and a flock of some 30 fieldfares (gråtrost) were feeding and fighting over fallen half rotten apples in the garden!
At the apple moon coring and cutting apples is a must..processed a couple of hundred apples today, now drying over the wood stove and in the oven. It’s a it more urgent than normal as -8C when I finally managed to harvest them was a bit too much and they won’t be able to be stored long this year (all have brownish blotches on the outside), a bit like the supermoon picture I just took, see below ;)
On the day of my visit, Tim had been up all night keeping his vines from freezing by burning wood fires in the vineyard….this strategy seems to have saved the crop from a complete failure of the 2017 vintage :) This problem wasn’t restricted to England but also famous wine growing areas in France: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/
I look forward to returning in a few years to view you sea kale production areas ;)
My first (of many) loads of apples drying over the wood stove!
I’m 100% self-sufficient in fruit and never buy bananas, oranges etc. and don’t use a freezer. When the apples are properly dried, they can be stored for several years (so if there’s a bad apple year next year I also have fruit next year…it’s a good year this year so I dry as much as possible). When fresh fruit isn’t available (typically from February to June), I use only dried fruit. Dried apples are fantastic to eat as they are and are popular with guests as snacks and also a perfect present for family and friends. I eat a home made muesli for breakfast every morning – large organic oat flakes that I buy in large sacks and I mix with various nuts. I soak a mix of dried fruit (apple, cherry, bilberry, plums, saskatoons etc.) and use them on the muesli.
Today there were around 200 waxwings / sidensvans in the garden most of the afternoon and I saw them eating berries on Sambucus nigra, Viburnum opulus, Berberis, Crataegus and, in this video, a white berried rowan, received as Sorbus fruticosa! I’d planted this tree right outside my front door to try to attract waxwings….I was able to sit right outside the front door in full view of the birds and make this little film only about 2-3m away:
In this video we see a bird feeding on a rotten apple still hanging in the tree, a second bird, presumably this year’s young, is seen begging for food, and when a second bird turns up it actually feeds it…a bit late in the year for this!
…and waxwings on hawthorn and Berberis before they are scared up by a passing bus!
…and waxwings on Viburnum opulus (guelder rose / krossved)
I like to cook on the wood burning stove in winter…here’s a scene from the preparation of last night’s home grown veggie curry with Basella, Swiss chard, the two leeks I managed to dig up from the frozen ground, onion, garlic, dried chantarelles and winter chantarelles, apple, chili, coriander, golpar (Heracleum persicum spice) served with onion bhaji and rye (svedjerug) “rice”…it doesn’t get much better