|Tuesday 31st July 2012|
A group of gulls heads out to The Wash at first light
|Monday 30th July 2012|
Weatherwise, July was a month of two halves. The first, continuing on from the previous three months, was wet ... very wet. Then came a hot spell, dominated for me by the epic saga of the polytunnel.
Early on, the month saw despair triumph over hope on the veg front, crops starved of heat and sunshine, devastated by slugs, unable to outgrow the damage. The rain seemed to benefit only the peas and potatoes.
But inevitably in such conditions, blight hit at the end of the month, putting the whole potato crop at risk. At least the spell of warm weather meant that the sweetcorn, runners and cucurbits began to look more healthy. We got our first modest crops of soft fruits too.
Chicken numbers went up by three with the hatching of three punky Polands, but the young cockerels are approaching time to go as they've started challenging Cocky, as well as fighting amongst themselves and trying it on with the ladies. Egg production is back up to about 5 a day.
While all this has happened, Lady Guinea has gone AWOL, though she occasionally reappears for food.
On the pig front, Gerald and Daisy have been getting jiggy jiggy, while the piglets have been chasing each other around. They are nearly five months old now and the two boys are booked to go off on 2nd September (they are in a state of ignorant bliss about this). Two of the girls will be following in mid October. One of them is sold already.
The bees swarmed again. Their behaviour is totally mystifying at the moment. However, after an eventful start, we are roughly back to where we started with them.
The farm's wild birds have been busy raising young and some are onto their second brood now. The summer visitors briefly started singing again mid-month. Presumably their young had fledged if they bred successfully. For now they are quiet again. They may even have moved on. The first migrants have started passing through with a couple of Marsh Harriers, Chiffcaffs and Willow Warblers putting in brief appearances.
Finally, we've had some decent sunrises, though totally cloudless skies don't give the most dramatic effects. Best for me though, sunrise has come forward to past 5.
Here's a look back at July's sunrises.