February 2020


Saturday 1st

5 to 11 to 6°C. 2.3kWh. A mild day made to feel colder by the strong south westerly wind.


More shredding and shrub and hedge trimming.

The trays of Douce Provence peas and Valenciana broad beans are starting to show through the soil. So it will soon be time to germinate the next batch on wet kitchen towels


Sunday 2nd (or 02 02 2020. A palindromic date)

6 to 11 to 8°C. 1.71kWh. 5mm of rain overnight then sunny intervals and drizzly showers until the evening when it started to rain properly again.



Monday 3rd

 5 to 9 to 3°C. 2.41kWh

Another 1mm of rain overnight then sunny intervals for most of the day and no wind.


The wind is forecast to return overnight so this is a good day to use the lazy man's way to fell one of the holly trees in the back hedge which is nearly as tall as the house:

1. Cut 1/3rd of the way into the trunk on the side you want it to fall

2. Cut 2/3rd in from the back slightly above the front cut.

3. Place a wedge in the back cut to stop the tree falling the wrong way

4. Wait for the wind to do its stuff.

Works every time!


Tuesday 4th

5 to 8 to 5°C 979Wh. Windy overnight and for most of the day.


The tree had fallen exactly where I aimed it so spent most of the afternoon cutting it up. Plenty of firewood for next winter and lots of shreddings for the compost heaps.

Wednesday 5th

 0 to 7 to 0°C. 3.46kWh 900W max. Cold misty start but soon cleared away by the bright sunshine for most the day. A clear night means a frost by tomorrow.

Continued cutting up the tree and clearing the brash.


Thursday 6th

-5 to 7 to 0°C. 4.96kWh 900W max. Frosty misty start followed by clear skies and sunshine all day.

Finished clearing up the tree so back to cutting back smaller shrubs and hedges.

Friday 7th

 0 to 5 to 8°C. 2.59kWh 800W max. Sunny intervals. Came warmer as the wind moved back to the south


Started digging over the soil inside the fruit cage after removing the rest of the celery, kale and sprouts. The strawberries and starting to show signs of life and the raspberry canes need cutting back. The blueberries need the dead stalks taking out, the blackberries need pruning and training and the cherry trees need pruning too. Everything seems to be early with this mild weather.


Saturday 8th

6 to 8 to 7°C. 4.8kWh 900W max. Sunny morning. Became windy in the afternoon with some rain in the evening. Stormy weather is forecast for tomorrow.


Sunday 9th

8 to 11 to 7°C. 865Wh. Very windy starting around 2am and continuing to late in the afternoon when it became sunny for a short period. 13mm of rain but this was very little compared with the amount reported elsewhere. Very warm for February but storm Ciara did start its life in the tropics.

Monday 10th

 2 to 4 to 3°C. 1.15kWh. Bright start but soon clouded over and started to snow with large flakes. Not cold to settle though and even in the fields it had melted by the evening; it recorded as 4mm rain.


Tuesday 11th

3 to 5 to 3°C. 3.87kWh 900W max. Mainly sunny with a blustery wind and some brief showers.


Wednesday 12th

2 to 7 to 3°C. 4.92kWh 900W max. Another sunny day with a cold westerly wind. Another storm, Dennis, is on its way.


Pat had ordered another load of logs for the stove. They were supposed to come on Friday but he brought them today. So spent most of the afternoon and early evening moving and stacking them in the woodshed.

Thursday 13th

 4 to 8 to 6°C. 3.36kWh 800W max.

Mainly sunny with some showers (3mm) and a cold westerly wind.

Finished digging inside the fruit cage and pruned the raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherry trees.


Friday 14th

3 to 7 to 5°C. 873Wh. A windy day with some fine drizzle. Became even windier during the evening as storm Dennis approached.


Saturday 15th

3 to 12 to 11°C. 516Wh. Started raining steadily in the early morning and stayed wet all day with 12mm by 11pm. Feeling very mild in the strong south westerly wind. The rain is forecast to continue for most of tomorrow.

Sunday 16th

11 to 7 to 3°C. 563Wh. Continued raining till lunchtime though only light compared with other parts of the country, including Shrewsbury and South Shropshire.The temperature fell as the wind died down and moved more to the north.

I have always thought we are lucky with the weather, partly because it comes mainly from the West and Welsh mountains get in the way. So only another 8mm and the fields are very soggy and the lower part of the garden and ditches waterlogged but they will soon drain away once it stops raining. There is a risk that the septic tank might stop backing up so as a precaution we will be having showers rather than a bath.


Monday 17th

3 to 8 to 3°C. 2.36kWh 400W max. A much brighter day though colder but that is what you expect in February.

Potted on the early peas and broad beans in the polytunnel. I decided to move the middle blackberry plant to the other end of the fruit cage; it is getting really big and trying to layer down some its longer shoots so I have decided to let it do so. Hopefully we will get lots of fruit off them this year which won't go moldy like it did last autumn with all the darkness and dampness.

Tuesday 18th

 2 to 6 to 2°C. 3.18kWh 600W max. Cold sunny morning but a wet afternoon and evening


Wednesday 19th

2 to 6 to 8°C.  828Wh 150W max. Dull and damp. The garden is soggy but not flooded so we should be thankful for that.

Thursday 20th

 10 to 6 to 3°C 1.94kWh. Sunny intervals and showers. some with fine hail. Blustery wind.

Cut back some more shrubs and hedging


Friday 21st

4 to 10 to 8°C. 879Wh. Cloudy with a cold gusty wind making it feel a lot colder than the thermometer suggested.

This is the week of the CPRE Star Count when they try to measure light pollution by how many stars you can see with the naked eye in the constellation of Orion. Last year we never had a clear night in the 8 day window. Hopefully that won't happen this year.

Even though this is one of the least light polluted areas in England it is not as dark as it was when we came down here 40 years ago. Now you can see lights on the horizon almost all the way round and you can't see the Milky Way distinctly any more even at 3am on a clear winter night.

Saturday 22nd

 9 to 7 to 10°C. 2.42kWh 600W max. Variable cloud with some sunny intervals but also some rain (2mm) and wind is still cold and blustery.


Sunday 23rd

11 to 6 to 4°C. 3.62kWh 800W max. Some heavy rain (8mm) overnight followed by sunshine still very windy and becoming colder.

Moved the super early Abbot, first early Casablanca and second early Kestrel seed potatoes, which have strong shoots from the chitting, into 2L pots in the polytunnel. If necessary I can protect them from frost with bubble plastic but there is no forecast of very cold weather even in the long term.

Monday 24th

 4 to 12 to 4°C. 2.66kWh 800W max. Another 8mm of rain overnight and a few showers during the day but mainly sunshine with less wind so felt warmer.


Cleared some more stumps out of the old shrubbery.


Tuesday 25th

2 to 6 to 2°C. 5.26kWh 1.1kW max. Clear but hazy skies overnight so couldn't do the Star Count but saved the result in case this was the best we will get. Very sunny but cold and windy all morning, clouding over in the afternoon with some light showers of soft hail.

Further south the river Severn is likely to breach the flood defences in Shrewsbury and Ironbridge. In North Shropshire there are no large rivers and it is mainly flat so we don't have this risk.

Wednesday 26th

 0 to 6 to 2°C. 3.95kWh 900W max. Cold clear and frosty start and quieter day with sunny intervals.

The temperature in the polytunnel reached 18°C in the afternoon so it was quite pleasant weeding and tidying up the pots of chrysanthemums and dahlias. Pat weeded the pots of overwintered onions which are a bit behind because of the lack of sun over the late autumn and winter. Same applies to the pots of pansies, wallflowers and dianthus which should really be starting to flower by now.

Thursday 27th

 0 to 6 to 0°C. 6.78kWh 1.4kW max. Cold night with 3mm of wintery showers but then sunny all day but quite windy.

Continued weeding the pots of spring bedding in the polytunnel which was much warmer than outside. The skies were clear in the evening an I counted 13 stars inside the Orion polygon, a lot less than you could see 40 years ago when we first came here; the sky is never as black as it used to be.

I know this is nothing compared with the problems further south but we are becoming concerned about the septic tank. The soakaway it drains into has been overflowing into the ditch for several days and is now the same level as the liquid in the tank and there is a risk it might back up. I might try digging out the ditch to extend its length and depth but there is another storm forecast for the weekend. So all we can do is empty washing-up water and water from the washing machine onto the garden and try to not flush the toilet any more than absolutely necessary.

Friday 28th

 2 to 7 to 9°C. 866Wh 150W max. A very stormy day with strong winds and 10mm of blustery wintery showers and some heavier spells of rain.

Dug out the ditch though whether is will do any good I am not sure. The water from the field was flowing in as I  was doing it and I nearly stuck in the mud more than once. Pat thinks the level in the drain is lower but if we get any more rain there isn't much more we can do.


Saturday 29th

2 to 6 to 2°C. 4.41kWh 1.4kW max. Some heavy rain in the night but only for a short while. Cleared by the morning with some long sunny intervals and very strong winds from Storm Jorge. This was interrupted by several periods of dark clouds and wintery showers of soft hail, sleet and wet snow but it didn't settle. Overall only 5mm extra of rain so the total month was exactly 100mm. That makes more than 100mm for each of the last 5 which is a lot more than we usually get.

Planted the onion sets into 12 cell trays in a very noisy polytunnel.