January 2012                                                                                                                            Back to December 2011


Sunday 1st

9 to 10 to 1°C. Another damp overcast day clearing after dusk to a starlit night.


Monday 2nd

0 to 4 to 2°C. Frosty start with sunny afternoon but the strong wind made it feel more like -2°.


Tuesday 3rd

2 to 11 to 4°C. The highest temperature was at 8 am!! Heavy rain all night with high winds and light rain during the day slowly abating.


We had drained the water butts yesterday and they were all full again by the morning - at least another 1000L of rain water to soak into the polytunnel.


Wednesday 4th

5 to 7 to 8°C. A miserable drizzly day but with less wind so felt a little warmer.


Thursday 5th

3 to 8 to 4°C. Sunny intervals. Strong NW wind.


The wind broke the main stem of a sycamore at the back of the garden and this fell onto the back of the polytunnel. Fortunately most of the strain was taken by the poluytunnel hoop frame and the polythene was punctured in several places but not torn, so it should be fairly easy to repair once the wind has died down. We already have a large roll of 10cm wide clear sticky tape for this purpose.


Being sycamore it was a fairly easy to cut away the branches leaning against the back wall with a bow saw before they could do any more damage. I will clear away the rest tomorrow. Looking on the bright side, as usual, there is at least another months worth of wood for the log stove. Even more if I cut down the rest of the tree later in the year.


Friday 6th

1 to 7 to 9°C.


Fixed all the holes in the polythene and then made a start on clearing away the fallen tree. It took me the rest of the afternoon just to clear away the ivy on it. A lot of the wood was dead and it may be that it was only the ivy which was keeping it standing.


Saturday 7th

6 to 9 to 8°C. Sunny morning with a cold breeze, clouding over by the afternoon with broken black clouds but no rain.


Set to with the chainsaw cuttng up the fallen tree into rings. Managed all but the main trunk which has a girth more than twice the 45cm length of the saw. There is a way to do this by cutting it halfway and then splitting it from the shorter end back to the cut. Managed two 40cm rings doing this with another 3 to go on Monday (we are going to Kirstin's tomorrow for the mid-winter meeting of the family)


Sunday 8th

6 to 9 to 8°C. Sunny intervals with thin cloud.


Got a metal sawhorse for my Christmas present from my children. I will put it together and try it out tomorrow.


Monday 9th

4 to 11 to 5°C. Started off with sunny intervals and felt very mild, even Springlike, in the morning. Birds were singing in the trees and hedges, robin, chaffinch, greenfinch, and great tits calling with their more boring two notes. Started clouding over by lunchtime, breezy with some drizzle.


Some crocuses are starting to flower which is rather unusual. The first to flower most years are the aconites, followed by the snowdrops and then the crocus.


A dry spell later in the afternoon gave me time to assemble the saw-horse. I will try it out tomorrow.


Tuesday 10th

4 to 10 to 7°C. Sunny intervals and less breeze. Another Spring day in January!!


Used the new saw-horse to cut up the branches from the fallen sycamore into short lengths. It is very sturdy and the asymmetric space between the three uprights make it easy to cut logs and poles of any length into pieces the right size for the log stove. I haven't tried it with the chainsaw yet - you only need a bowsaw for sycamore.


Wednesday 11th

7 to 12 to 9°C. Another sunny springlike day.


An aconite and a snowdrop have opened to join the crocus.


Pat spent most of the day chipping and shredding the smaller debris from the hedges and trees we have cleared in the last few weeks. We can't clear any more until there is room to stack it so to clear a space some must be shredded. I turned the compost heaps to make room for the new shreddings but I doubt there will be enough room. Some will need to be taken elsewhere. Maybe the chickens will like some more mulch to scratch in?


Thursday 12th

10 to 7 to 1°C. Sunny intervals. Less wind.


More shredding and sawing.


Friday 13th

0 to 5 to -3°C. Sunny intervals and very little breeze. A really nice winter's day. More is forecast.


Saturday 14th

-5 to 5 to -3°C.  Another sunny winter's day.


Sunday 15th

-3 to 2 to -3°C. Yet another sunny winter's day with hardly a cloud in the sky.


The cold weather has finally persuaded the purple sprouting broccoli to start producing its flower heads. It is probably also the end of the celery. The overwintering broad beans and peas have also collapsed but this is what is supposed to happen. They will grow side-shoots from the base even stronger than before.


Monday 16th

- 4 to 1 to -4°C. Frosty clear night with more blue sky, weak sunshine and very light breeze.


Tuesday 17th

-6 to -1 to -2°C. Not a good day. Dull with a cold breeze so decided to stay inside. Forecast is warmer but wet for the next few days.


A large flock of fieldfares has descended on the garden gorging themselves on the fallen Bramley apples. The resident blackbirds and thrushes are not very happy about this but the fieldfares are big and aggressive. What they don't know is that once the flock has moved on we have plenty of half-rotten apples in store to put out for the rest of the winter.


Wednesday 18th

2 to 12 to 5°C. Mild and overcast clearing to thin cloud by afternoon. Very humid but no rain.


Continued to cut up and shred the debris from the hedge we cut down in the autumn. We shall have to stop soon; the compost bins are nearly full and so it the woodshed.


The seed potatoes and onion sets arrived today. Both need to be placed in a cool place with northern light to start sprouting. Near the window in Sarah's old bedroom is ideal for this purpose.


Thursday 19th

4 to 8 to 3°C. Cloudy with a few sunny spells and a light NW breeze.


Finally cleared one pile of debris from the hedge. The other one is bigger :-(. Still, all this exercise keeps us warm.


Friday 20th

5 to 9 to 8°C. Cloudy with light rain all daylight hours, clearing in the evening.



Saturday 21st

3 to 10 to 4°C. Sunny intervals and blustery showers, one producing a double rainbow (which disappeared before I could get my camera)


Sunday 22nd

2 to 10 to 2°C. Sunny intervals still with a blustery wind.


Monday 23rd

2 to 8 to 0°C. Sunny intervals. Less wind. Clear by late evening.


Heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow so emptied the water butts into the polytunnel in anticipation.


Tuesday 24th

-1 to 10 to 9°C. Rained overnight but not as much as forecast. Just drizzly during the day feeling mild and very humid.


Wednesday 25th

7 to 12 to 9°C. Overcast and windy with heavy rain moving in during the evening.


Pat started to clear the fruit cage of old brassicas and last years strawberry plants while I continued to saw up wood.


Thursday 26th

0 to 7 to 1°C. Rained overnight clearing by morning to a cold start. Sunny intervals with a cold northerly wind.


Finally got round to splitting up the wood from the sycamore which fell earlier in the month. The wood is very dry, some of it dead and rotten but should still make good firewood.


Friday 27th

0 to 8 to 2°C. Cold and windy followed by rain in the afternoon and evening.


Saturday 28th

0 to 5 to -2°C. Sunny intervals with a cold easterly wind.


Started to fork over the soil in the chicken run to the delight of the hens. There were so many worms that they eventually couldn't eat any more!! They still continued to catch smaller creatures such as millipedes and wireworms which was much more useful, to me anyway. Turned over about half of area. I will finish it tomorrow.


Sunday 29th

- 2 to 3 to 1°C. Sunny intervals but a chilling easterly wind made it difficult to work outside.


Monday 30th

-3 to 3 to -4°C. Sunny and clear with very light easterly breeze so feelling warmer that the thermometer suggested during the day but clear frosty evening.


Finished forking over the chicken run and moved another 5 barrowloads of mulch into it for the hens to mix into the soil.


Tuesday 31st

- 4 to 1 to -2°C. Early fog with a few sunny intervals later but with a bitter east wind making it feel well below freezing


February 2012