Saturday, 22 January 2022

First

Three weeks into January already? How did that happen? January always felt like the longest month of the year. Not in 2022 it seems. To be honest, not much has happened. Weather has been mostly wet and when it’s not wet it’s freezing. I forced myself outside one sunny morning and walked up the High Street. The swan family are looking good and hassling people for food.

Swans Kennet and Avon Canal

They’re so big when they walk up to you out of the water! They spend a lot of time preening to look as beautiful as their parents one day. There are seven cygnets in this family.

Swans in Hungerford

We’ve visited the allotment most weekends but it’s been too chilly to hang round and too wet to do much, even if we were so inclined. We actually had an excellent snow shower one work-day afternoon; lovely huge flakes and it quickly settled, but 10minutes later it had all disappeared! I’m still working from home and hope I can continue to do so, at least until after my fourth jab which is due in February.

Snow in Hungerford
I made a tasty spicy soup, with a Festival squash which had been stored in the polytunnel over Winter. Unfortunately a lot of the pumpkins went mouldy so we put them outside and they’re being eaten by wildlife now. I think I’ll set up a wildlife camera to see who’s enjoying them.
Festival squash soup
Ivan gave us a couple of yacons that he harvested last year and had stored in his polytunnel. Fellow plotholder, Min, started growing them and shared some growing tubers. The bushy plants have small yellow flowers. It’s an interesting sweet tasting crunchy fruit and it’s very juicy. We have one more saved in the fridge.
Yacon fruit tuber
I made a Smokey bean stew, with dried Borlotti and runner beans. Two tasty evening meals and enough for a lunch with these blue corn tortilla chips that were included in a hamper we received for Christmas from my nephews.
Bean stew with blue corn tortilla chips
I’ve literally only left the flat about eight times this year, with two outings to Swindon last week (one for a blood test and one for a clinic appointment ­čśä) That’s enough excitement for one week so now I have a couple of days off work. We visited the freezing plot yesterday afternoon. Unsurprisingly no-one else was there. We saw three grey squirrels frolicking in the trees and were joined by a very friendly robin near the wildlife plot. We saw a female bullfinch there last week - I must remember to take my big camera, rather than just my phone.
Robin on Hungerford allotments
As I walked back to our plot to get the monocular to look at some other birds, I noticed a movement in the hedgerow. Look at this little bank vole! 
Bank vole on Hungerford allotments
He was so unconcerned by me that I’m worried that he may not be long for this world ☹️ So cute and lovely to see. 
I never did get the monocular. It was so cold after watching the vole, for about 20 minutes, that we went home. Look at that sky and the weather says that today is going to be more cloudy!
Hungerford allotments
My first post of the year with an appropriate song by Cold War Kids.

14 comments:

  1. It's nice to see creatures out and about enjoying themselves. Hope you friendly robin sticks around. We had one that sat on our greenhouse and watched us work, but we could never tempt it with treats.
    It's always a bit disheartening at this time of year. Very dreary and dark. Hard to get any enthusiasm. But spring is just around the corner and then it's all-hands-on-deck.

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    1. Definitely hard to be enthusiastic when it’s so cold and grey. Aah, spring - can’t come too soon ­čśŐ

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  2. Times does fly. It's been quite dry with lots of sunshine after some frosty mornings up here in Yorkshire. I think there are a lot of people hoping to continue working from home.

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    1. Ooh, I need to see more sunshine, we’ve had cloud cover for a week now - it’s dismal. Cold with frost and blue skies is much more acceptable!

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  3. It's been a pretty miserable month weather wise, so most of my plot visits have just been a quick look round so far this year.
    Lucky you seeing a female bullfinch and a field vole. Take care. xx

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    1. Thanks. Yes the weather isn’t helping us to get started with the much-needed clearing and weeding.

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  4. Interesting that your cygnets have stayed with their parents. A bad tempered swan can inflict serious damage.

    The vole is so cute.

    As for the yanom, do you eat it as a fruit or cook it?

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    1. Yes, we’re wondering whether the cygnets will stay until they’re completely white..?
      The yacon skin peeled really easily and we just sliced and ate it raw. We intend to use the remaining one in a fruit salad

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  5. Sorry hit Publish and as the comment was fleeing I spotted a mistyping of yacon

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    1. My auto-correct didn’t like the word yacon (yachting! Tacos! Yea)

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  6. I'm hoping to get a yacon or two at our local Asian food sore. I plan on planting them and growing them in pots if I can.

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    1. Hello, thanks for popping by.
      The yacon produces 2 different tubers - one type for eating and round rhizomes which you plant. A big wide pot may be ok, but I would buy the growing tubers through a plant catalogue

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  7. I know, nearing the end of January and i too cannot believe it. I've been off work the past two weeks and still unwell. It's not covid though, tested twice at home then at a centre. Some bug. Like you though, i am too still working from home. The yacon look good, i've never grown or eaten it, but def. would love to do so, some day. Yeah, i feel for that vole too.

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    1. Oh dear, glad to hear it’s not Covid but get well soon nonetheless Shaheen!

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Belinda