August 2013                                                                                                                                           Back to July


Thursday 1st

17 to 28 to 18°C. 9.75kWh 2.2kW max. A very warm humid day with variable cloud and a few light showers.

Gardening in August consists of weeding and watering and Pat picking and cooking or freezing fruit and vegetables, so if any day I don't mention anything that is what we have been doing!!


Friday 2nd

16 to 25 to 18°C. 11.85kWh 2.3kW max. A very sunny day but feeling much more pleasant with less humidity and a light breeze.

I  have finished making one of the gates for the barrier round the vegetable garden.


Saturday 3rd

13 to 22 to 15°C. 11.59kWh 2.2kW max. Another sunny day but slightly cooler than of late. Rain is forecast for tomorrow and the first part of next week.

My weather station has stopped working. It was quite old ;my family bought it for my 60th birthday. I will order a new one but until it comes the temperature and rainfall readings might not be as accurate.


Sunday 4th

15 to 18 to 16°C. 5.43kWh 1.3kW max. A dull day with a few short sunny intervals but mainly dark clouds and light rain from time to time. Even so managed to cut back more of the hedges round the kitchen garden so I can run the wire mesh along them.


Monday 5th

13 to 18 to 13°C. 4.00kWh 1.8kW max. Rained all night and most of the day with a short break in the morning then only light rain till lunchtime. More heavy rain in the afternoon, finally clearing around 4:30pm. Moved 400L rainwater while it was not raining in the morning into the polytunnel to water the tomatoes, squashes and peppers. This was easily replenished by the later downpour.


Tuesday 6th

9 to 18 to 13°C. 7.27kWh 1.8kW max. Variable cloud with a few sunny intervals.

I bought a T connector for the rainwater system so I could feed water from the bottom of the two bigs tanks into the tubs which I  can ladle the water out of; I find this easier and quicker than using the taps. This took a lot longer than I thought. The jubilee clips came with sponge strips to seal the connection between the pipes and the connector but they didn't work and water was dripping out of all three. Eventually solved the problem by winding PTFE tape round them instead. A good job I had some to do it with.

Pat has now finished picking the early peas and some of them have gone in the freezer. The later Onward peas are now ready to pick and the main crop Alderman are beginning to swell. We also have a few climbing French beans and the runner beans have reached the top of the frame and are flowering well.

We finally have some tomatoes starting to ripen, several weeks later than usual. The aubergines, peppers and courgettes have been ready since the middle of June. Finally Pat can make ratouille sauces without having to open tins of tomatoes!!


Wednesday 7th

10 to 24 to 13°C. 8.75kWh 2.1kW max.  Sunny intervals; feeling quite warm with a light breeze.

The new weather station arrived today so I spent most of the afternoon setting it up and learning how to use it. It records temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, rain and atmospheric pressure. It connects to a computer where you can download the data for storage and analysis. It was easy to put together and I decided to attach it to a tall pole in the onion bed between the house and the fruit cage. Not absolutely ideal but it probably is the most open space in our garden which is more like open woodland with all its trees and hedges. So I am not sure weather the wind data will be accurate.


Thursday 8th

8 to 27 to 16°C. 9.74kWh 1.8kW max. Mainly sunny with some thin high cloud. I am not convinced the maximum temperature is accurate. The previous sensor was on the North wall of the garage whereas this one is in full sun around lunchtime and, though it has a cover, I think it may still be showing it too high (the nearest Met office weather station at Shawbury had a maximum reading of 23°C.

Spent part of the afternoon moving the lillies, which have finished, away from the bed in front of the house and replacing them with short stemmed chrysanthemums. The rest of the time was for training the long stemmed chrysanthemums many of which had crown buds on the end of secondary stems, These I removed to encourage even more branching.


Friday 9th

14 to 23 to 13°C. 6.9kWh 2.1kW max. Some light rain overnight clearing overnight to a sunny start but clouded over by late morning to a breezy mainly overcast afternoon.

Pat went to collect Cowan and Euan from Sarah and Ian at Cannock Chase. They are going on holiday to the Italian alps and this was a halfway point between us and the airport. They went for a walk there before Pat brought the boys back around 5pm. Thomas is stopping with his other grandparents.

I didn't go with Pat to collect them but stopped at home completing the mesh barrier round the kitchen garden by tying it into the holly hedge running down the drive.

Hopefully the weather will be fine for the next week so we can take them out for the day.


Saturday 10th

13 to 25 to 13°C. 6.24kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few sunny periods in the afternoon.

Took the boys for a walk round Lee Brockhurst woods in the afternoon. This is an interesting walk partly through the remains of an abandoned sandstone quarry and up onto the top of hill with some good views of the North Shropshire countryside with the Welsh mountains on the horizon. Found lots of interesting things for them to look at including many different kinds of fungi. Sorry, forgot to take my camera.


Sunday 11th

10 to 22 to 14°C. 8.41kWh 2.1kW max. Heavy broken cloud with sunny intervals, especially in the afternoon.

Took the boys to my favourite place, Whixall Moss. They have been doing quite a lot of work there recently, improving the car park, building a short walk of around 2km suitable for wheel chairs and installing quite a few seats. Even so, once you get off the main path there were very few people to be seen even on such a good day. The boys were very interested in the damsel and dragon flies and particularly the large number of water boatmen in the canal.


Monday 12th

11 to 22 to 10°C. 8.63kWh 1.9kE max. Sunny intervals with variable clouds and a few short periods of light rain in the afternoon.

Pat took the boys to Erddig, a National Trust property near Wrexham, for the day. I didn't go with them as there would be too many people likely to affect my asthma. Instead I did some work in the garden, listening to the Test Match.


Tuesday 13th

8 to 19 to 13°C. 4.33kWh 1.5kW max. A dull day with thick black clouds, a few glimpses of the sun and some drizzly rain periods.

Took the boys to Colemere in the afternoon. Despite the damp weather, which didn't penetrate the woodland too much, we had a pleasant walk. itv wasn't very busy but unfortunately two of the other people there, a woman and her teenage daughter were highly fragrant; I have had very bad asthma since.


Wednesday 14th

9 to 19 to 17°C. 7.79kWh 1.9kW max. Bright start with some hazy sunshine in the morning but after a midday shower the weather became increasingly wamer and humid, raining again in the evening, Heavy rain is forecast for tonight and most of tomorrow.

Pat took the boys to Nesscliffe and Kynaston Cave west of Shrewsbury. I wasn't well enough to go with them.


Thursday 15th

16 to 24 to 17°C. 8.69kWh 2kW max. Rained a little overnight, around 1.5mm, but nothing like what was forecast. Had cleared by mid morning to a warm breezy summers day with plenty of hazy sunshine. Some more light rain in the evening and heavy rain is now forecast for the middle of the night. We shall see...

Still not feeling too good with continuing shortness of breath and aching but managed, with Pat's help, to lay out the next batch of wildflower mats in the wild garden. We didn't have anything planned for the boys since we had expected it to rain but they seemed to be quite content to play with Cowan's iPad and our Android tablet for much of the day.


Friday 16th

16 to 25 to 12°C. 6.91kWh 1.8kW max. Steady rain all night, around 22mm, but cleared by mid-morning to a sunny afternoon and a colder clear evening. All the water storage was full so I gave the polytunnel a good watering, moving around 500L.

Pat took the boys for their last walk round Colemere, the opposite way round so it would seem different. I didn't go with them; I have only just recovered from what happened last time we went. Apparently it was much busier so it was probably the right decision.

That's it for another year; they go back home tomorrow.



Saturday 17th

12 to 18 to 16°C. 2.73kWh 600W max. A damp overcast dreary day with spells of fine drizzle though it only amounted to 3.3mm in total. The worst day for electricity generation this summer.

Early in the evening Pat took the boys to meet Sarah and Ian halfway between us and Birmingham airport and hand them back. Both parents and children seem to have had a good holiday in their own different ways and we can get back to normal. Hopefully the weather will start to improve again.


Sunday 18th

13 to 25 to 13°C. 11,72kWh 2,3kW max.  Mainly clear skies with a few fluffy clouds. Not feeling as warm as the temperature might suggest because of the strong southerly breeze. but certainly a change from yesterday!

Attempted yet again to kill off the more persistent perennial weeds in the wild garden, mainly woody plants such as brambles and wild rose, using double strength glyphosate. Hopefully this will work since I don't want to resort to more persistent brushwood killers.

Continued to build the fox-proof barrier for the chicken run, this time an extension to the chicken house made out of welded mesh partly buried and extended horizontally beneath the soil; this is how the fox got in last time by digging under a flimsier barrier which was only on the surface.


Monday 19th

9 to 23 to 13°C. 8.61kWh 1.9kW max. Clear sunny start but with increasing broken cloud by late morning.

One of the Patty Pan squashes was ripe so Pat used it to make a vegetable lasagne with squash slices rather than pasta. Everything else, onion, aubergine, peppers and tomato, all came from the the garden, except the cheese of course.


Tuesday 20th

11 to 27 to 13°C. 9.49kWh 1.9kW max. Clear sunny start with some broken cloud around midday but cleared again by evening. Feeling warm and very humid.

Pulled up the early onions, which have mainly died back, while they are fairly dry and before it rains again. these will be stored on racks in the polytunnel. Looks like we shall have enough to last well into next Spring.

Picked some of the Laxton's Fortune apples which are beginning to ripen; there will be plenty more in another week or so. They, like all the apples, are very good this year; unlike last year when there were none, except for a few from the later varieties. We also have some greengage plums ready.

The black cat turned up again; obviously it has a home, probably one of the local farms. It was sat on the lawn next to one of the half grown rabbits; they looked quite friendly. So much for thinking it would scare off, or even kill the rabbits!!


Wednesday 21st

12 to 22 to 16°C. 4.13kWh 1.3kW max. Overcast with a few brighter spells but also a few spots of drizzle. Feeling warm and humid.

Continued to build the fox-proof chicken run.


Thursday 22nd

12 to 26 to 16°C. 6.9kWh 1.9kW max. Variable cloud with a few sunny intervals. Feeling very warm and humid with a thundery shower in the late afternoon.

There may be some heavy rain in the next few days so decided to start digging the maincrop potatoes before the ground gets really muddy. They have died back so won't grow much bigger. A fairly good 15kg yield from the Vales Sovereign and King Edward. The Golden Wonder seem also to be quite good but it started raining before we finished them; quite a relief as I was getting rather too warm in the humid air.


Friday 23rd

14 to 22 to 15°C. 3.17kWh 700W max. Overcast with a few spots of drizzle turning into light rain by late afternoon which continued into the evening.

Finally, at least 6 weeks late, we have a flower on one of the Tigridias and some buds are appearing on the dahlias.


Saturday 24th

14 to 19 to 10°C. 4.25kWh 900W max. Light rain or dirzzle all night and part of the morning totalling 8.4mm. Northerly breeze apart from bringing the smell of the enormous battery chicken farm wafting over also making it feel much cooler.


Sunday 25th

8 to 20 to 15°C. 5.71kWh 1.6kW max. Mostly overcast with a brighter interval for a short time in the afternoon. Still with a strong northerly breeze making it feel cooler than the thermometer suggested.



Monday 26th

10 to 24 to 15°C. 10.61kWh 2.1kW max. Misty start but soon cleared to blue sky and hot sun but this was fortunately soon tempered by thin cloud. Just for once a really pleasant Bank Holiday Monday.

I have finally finished building the chicken run; all it needs is some secure strong netting to cover it which I have ordered to come later this week. Now I  can get back to some gardening which today meant giving the the new hedge another trim and then tidying up the chrysanthemums.


Tuesday 27th

8 to 25 to 13°C. 8.39kWh 2kW max. Misty start clearing to variable cloud.

Decided to pick some of the Laxton's Fortune apples since the wasps and fruit flies were starting to bit into them. Some are already ripe enough to eat straight away and rest soon will be. And those left on the tree will hopefully grow bigger now there are less of them. All the apples look like they will give a bumper crop this year after the disappointment of last year when even the Bramley failed.


Wednesday 28th

10 to 18 to 10°C. 4.76kWh 1.5kW max. Clear skies overnight leading to a chilly misty start and mainly overcast during the day with a few short glimpses of the sun. Cold breeze and clearing skies in the evening; Autumn seems to be on its way.

The net came for the chicken run which we fitted in the afternoon. Now all we need is some new hens which hopefully we can keep safe.


Thursday 29th

8 to 23 to 15°C. 9.07kWh 1.8kW max.Cold clear start with thin cloud and sunny intervals most of the day.


We have now generated more than 3000kW with the solar panels since April 2012 earning us a feed in tariff of around £700. We also have continuous hot water in the summer months and, on average, are using slightly less than half the electricity we consumed before they were installed saving over £550 in electricity bills. Not a bad 18month return for an investment of around £8000!!


Friday 30th

11 to 22 to 16°C. 7.82kWh 2.1kW max. Variable cloud with light breeze and a few sunny intervals.


Harvested the rest of the early potatoes from their bags. The advice is to leave them in the bags till you need them but this year this advice is wrong. A few of the Arran Pilot had tubers which were rotting at the far end, probably because of the rain we had in the middle of the month after they had died back. Despite this the yeild was quite good and the rest of them are sound.


Saturday 31st

7 to 18 to 9°C. 9.73kWh 2.2kW max. Mainly sunny with some thin high cloud. The weather forecast said it would be 'fresher' and there certainly was a chilly breeze most of the time. The last day of August and therefore then last day of Summer. It won't be long before the Ash an Poplar trees start turning yellow; the damsons already are. Trouble is most plants are so late this year; the summer bedding especially is likely to be knocked back by the frost before it is in full flower