August  2011                                                                                                             Back to July


Monday 1st

17 to 27 to 17°C. 34 in the polytunnel. Overcast with a few sunny intervals and barely discernible rain showers. Warm and very humid.


Continued to cut out the back of the hedge.


Pat now has all the ingredients for Ratatouille. Red onion, sweet and hot peppers, aubergine and large cooking tomatoes. The first of the Sonesta yellow french beans are also ready and also a few climbing beans.


Tuesday 2nd

15 to 25 to 17°C. Very similar to yesterday.


Shredding and watering. Some of the shredding was from contractors for the electricity company who came to trim the hedge where the the power cable comes through. I wish I had their chipper. It made short work of the branches they cut off. The foreman said it cost £25K so I will stick to our smaller £1.4K one even though it took me over 2 hours to shred the same amount as their's took in only a few minutesFrown


Wednesday 3rd

14 to 26 to 16°C. Warm and humid. 35 in the polytunnel


It was supposed to rain today and tomorrow but the front slowed down and its direction changed from west to south-west so now it is unlikely we will get much even when it arrives (the Welsh mountains block most rain except when coming from the north west). So most of the garden needed a good water and we have just about run out of rain water. Time to fill the overflow butts (~800L)  from the well, twice by the time I had finished and it took all afternoon to water most of the vegetable garden and the summer bedding down the drive and in the back garden. No doubt having done this the forecast will change and it will pour down for the rest of the week!


Thursday 4th

14 to 23 to 15°C. A little light rain overnight, cloudy to start but cleared by evening.


I was right to water yesterday, the rain wasn't enough to wet the ground  beneath the trees. Did some more shredding.


Friday 5th

13 to 24 to 13°C. 32 in the polytunnel. Sunny intervals with a cool northerly breeze.


Back to cutting out the back of the hedge.


Saturday 6th

14 to 18 to 12°C. Sunny intervals but still that cold northerly breeze.


Decided to harvest the second early potatoes while the soil was dry. Both the Kestrel and Rubesse gave a good yield, around 18-20kg from an initial 1.5kg seed. And very healthy with only a few tubers affected by slight scab.


Some of the Lady Kristl early potatoes in the store have started to sprout so I planted 20 of these in pots to produce a second crop later in the year. These are joined by 20 other tubers kept back in the refrigerator from the super early Swift. Hopefully we won't get the penetrating frost which destroyed them late last year.


Also time to sow some of the vegetables for early harvesting next year; Cabbage Pixie and Onion Senshyu. Again this is bit of a gamble with the weather as will be the Aquadulce broad beans and Excellenz peas I sow in September.


Sunday 7th

12 to 19 to 12°C. Sunny intervals and cold  westerly wind. Light rain early evening but soon cleared.


Decided to saw up some of the wood we cut down last year to make room for the new from this year. I don't usually saw wood in summer because it is warm work but today wasn't a warm day! I feel sorry for people who decided to stay in this country for their holidays this year.


Monday 8th

9 to 17 to 11°C. Overcast with a cold westerly wind and a few short spells of light drizzle.


Cold and damp - not what you expect in August. Closed the polytunnel door in the evening as the sky started to clear. At least I can keep warm splitting and sawing wood for winter.


Tuesday 9th

11 to 18 to 12°C. Sunny intervals with less breeze.


More splitting and sawing wood. Went for a bicycle ride in the evening and came back with cold hands!


Wednesday 10th

9 to 19 to 15°C. Overcast with a few short showers during the day. Heavier rain showers in the evening.


Thursday 11th

14 to 21 to 17°C. Some rain overnight. Not a lot but enough to save me watering outside for a few days. Sunny intervals. Feeling warm and humid.


The Mirabelle plums are beginning to ripen and the crop is enormous. Plenty to eat straight off the tree, plenty to stew and plenty to freeze for later, Tried the first of the Worcester Pearmain apples too.


Friday 12th

15 to 22 to 16°C. Overcast, warm and humid. Some rain during the evening.



Saturday 13th

14 to 23 to 14°C. Overcast with a few sunny intervals.


Still building the wood pile while listening to the cricket. That has finished now (England beat India for the third time) so tomorrow I might do something else.


Sunday 14th

13 to 20 to 13°C. Thin cloud with a few sunny intervals and a few spots of rain.


Trimmed the drive side of the cypress hedge. Then back to sawing and chopping wood. I need to make room to store the wood cut from the back of this hedge before I can do any more of it.


Monday 15th

9 to 24 to 14°C. Clear overnight, becoming cloudy by lunchtime. Some light rain in the evening.


Tuesday 16th

12 to 23 to 12°C. Sunny intervals.


Wednesday 17th

8 to 18 to 10°C. Mostly cloudy.


Sarah's three boys, Thomas Cowan and Euan have come to stay for the next 8 days while she and Ian go off to a walking holiday in the French alps.


Thursday 18th

7 to 20 to 12°C. Mostly cloudy with some light rain in the evening though nothing much compared with that reported further south.


Friday 19th

6 to 22 to 14°C. Clear overnight with mist by early morning and soon clouded over. More like autumn than the middle of August.


Went for a walk with the boys round Whixall Moss. It was very dry. This is supposed to be a wetland and yet most of the pools had almost dried up and the peat is so dry that it is blowing around like dust. Two years ago when we came here with the boys it was so wet and boggy that Cowan got stuck in the peat in the middle of the path and we had to pull him out.


There are usually quite a lot of wading birds even in late summer but we didn't see one. We only saw one dragon fly and two damsel flies and very few butterflies either. There are usually plenty of these. Even midges and mosquitos seemed to be absent and I only spotted a couple of crane flies. However we did spot a grass snake swiftly disappearing from the path into the brush as we approached.


There might have been a lot of rain in other parts of the country but round here it has been very dry most of the time since early spring.


Saturday 20th

12 to 23 to 17°C. Overcast and humid. Tried to rain in the evening but hardly wet the ground.


Sunday 21st

13 to 24 to 14°C. Thin cloud with sunny intervals.


Finished picking the Mirabelle plums. An enormous crop, like all the top fruit this year. I am not sure whether the one's we don't eat in the next few days will fit in the freezer since we also need room for vegetables for winter use like french beans. Which are more important?


Monday 22nd

12 to 23 to 15°C. Thin cloud with a few sunny intervals


Tuesday 23rd

14 to 21 to 15°C. Thin cloud and sunny intervals.


Despite all the promises we have had no significant rain in the last few weeks. So picked some more apples and then spent the rest of the afternoon watering the vegetable garden and those beds in the flower garden which haven't already succumbed to drought.


Wednesday 24th

10 to 21 to 10°C. Sunny in the morning. Clouded over by mid-afternoon with a few short light showers.


Spent most of the afternoon watering in the polytunnel. There are plenty of tomatoes, aubergines and peppers and the squashes have started to flower again and not abort already set fruit now it has become a little warmer and sunnier.


Thursday 25th

8 to 21 to 12°C. Sunny in the morning. Clouded over by late afternoon. Caught the edge of a thunderstorm but not very much rain.


Sarah and Ian returned from their holiday in the French Alps and took the boys back home so back to normal and quietness.


Before it rained decided to lift the King Edward potatoes. A little early, they usually stay in the ground till late September, but they have died back and the soil is dry so they can be lifted without the need to clean them before storing. A pretty good yield with 28kg from 1.5kg seed and many large sound roasting potatoes.


Friday 26th

9 to 18 to 11°C. Overcast and very humid. Finally rained quite heavily for an hour around 6pm.


At last some proper rain.


Saturday 27th

9 to 18 to 11°C. Overcast with a few short but heavy showers. Cleared by evening.


Sunday 28th

10 to 17 to 11°C. Sunny intervals with a few short light showers. Cold NW breeze making it feel more like 14°C.


There is a definite autumnal feel about the weather. The leaves on some trees are beginning to colour and it isn't yet September. I would say 'Typical Bank Holiday weather' except it is actually worse!


Monday 29th

9 to 16 to 11°C. Overcast with a few sunny intervals and periods of light drizzle.


What a miserable day for what should still be summer.


Tuesday 30th

11 to 17 to 12°C. A slightly brighter day; at least it didn't drizzle.

It is not just me that thinks this has been a poor summer. The Met Office says it is the worst since 1993.


The one thing better than usual is top fruit. We have had exceptional crops of cherries, plums, apples and pears, thanks mainly to the early warm spring. The latest to be ready, picked and in the freezer are the green plums. Next will be the Russet apples, followed by the Conference pears, Bramley apples and Queen Cox apples. These are all earlier and larger, in size and quantity, than usual. Whether they will store for as long remains to be seen.


I have nearly finished cutting up the wood left maturing from last years hedge and tree reductions. Most of it is now in the woodshed so there will soon be room for the wood from the back of the cupressus hedge to be cut out.


Wednesday 31st

8 to 18 to 12°C. Similar weather to yesterday.