Friday, 2 December 2016

Fog on the water

      Out with the two Jack Russell Terriers for their morning walk, a little later than normal, and the remnants of fog that was there at dawn is still swirling through the orchards, over the fields and across the fen.
      I love the atmosphere this weather creates and it changes the entire appearance of the fenland landscape into something infinitely more mysterious intriguing. When a patch of fog does envelop you as you as you walk along with the terriers a strange calm and quietness descends then just as suddenly you walk out of it into glaring bright sunlight and there are the two terriers fifty or sixty yards ahead. Or heading back for a treat.

      By the time I took these pictures the wind had picked up to a steady breeze and was beginning to disperse the fog into more of a mist but the moist cold air that was still lying above the dykes and pools that had a reasonable amount of water in them was forming new fog patches. I'm glad I was walking and not driving
      It makes me want to go pike fishing and get away from it all.
      No surprise there says the boss.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Beginning and end

      The last day of November and there isn't much to choose between the two views at the beginning and end of the day. At the top we have the view to the east at around 07.20 on Wednesday morning complete with my muse, the transformer box.
      Below? Well that's the view from the front garden at around 16.15 and if you are into florid skies and also some subtle colours you can enjoy these two skyscapes to your hearts content. There are no dramatic cloud formations just those two lovely ladies dawn and dusk slugging it out to be top of the dramatic red sky competition.
      You simply can't beat a little bit of early morning and late evening meteorological exhibitionism.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bletting on the branch

      This year the boss has decided to pull medlar jelly from the production line so this winter the birds have another treat to feed on in the front garden.
      At present the medlars are still quite hard but as the frost get into them they will gradually soften until the flesh becomes a golden pulp, or bletted, but at what point our feathered friends will decimate the crop I do not know. One thing that I do know is that there are pounds and pounds of fruit on both of our trees so if some really cold weather does turn up during the first months of winter the birds will be able consume a lot of calories to keep them warm.
      Then when the trees have been cleared it'll be time to get the secateurs out and give the trees a pruners haircut.
      I always think that the top of the fruit looks like a dog's arse but the boss says typical sense of humour. I'm sure I read that the French still call them something like that.
     Say no more.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Lava red jelly

      Here you have it one of the seven jars of the boss' home-made crab apple and chilli jelly. In the sunshine it glows like molten lava and after all the grey days that we've 'enjoyed' that's more than just a novelty, sunshine cheers you up and so does that beautiful colour.
      The crab apples that the boss used were wild crab apples and the chillies that have been used are Serrano, their heat level is just up at the top of the medium band for heat and when we tested the jelly it left a very pleasant glow for about ten minutes.
      We'll have to hide the jars from the children when they visit.


Monday, 28 November 2016

More tea pike?

      A mild and sunny afternoon, little or no wind and not a ripple on the drain's surface which is almost mirror like, it all looks idyllic almost perfect. The drain is teeming with small roach, rudd, skimmer bream and perch, everything looks perfect and in ten minutes I've caught enough fresh bait for the afternoon and the kingfisher continues to splash into the water catching a small fish with every dive.
      Everything appears to be perfect and its a pleasure to be out on the fen when conditions are like this.
      Look a little harder, get past the idyllic setting and you notice that that the countless fry aren't being harried and there isn't a splash to be seen. Never mind, confidence is high so get that fresh bait out. An hour passes and not a touch. The bait is twitched back, drifted, fished hard against the rush and reed on the far side, under my feet, fished deep and fished shallow. Nothing seems to interested.

      A perch of about twelve ounces takes the dead roach and adds fifty per cent to its weight instantly, I suppose it is one way of packing some weight on quickly. The perch is a lovely coloured fish and the markings and colours positively glow, yet again I promise myself that I'll dig some worms and have a perch day during the week leaving the pike tackle at home. That will take some will-power.
      Another forty five minutes drifts by and the kingfisher continues to catch, he's like a match fisherman so great is his catch rate. Time for a cup of tea, float adjusted to over depth, cast out and settled into position, then just as the tea is being poured the float is away and the tea spilt.

      The fish is a single figure pike but a beautifully coloured and marked fish, the barbless hook is quickly removed and back he goes into the drain. A new fresh bait is cast out again in the same area right in the middle of the drain and as the tea is being poured away goes the float, the tea is spilt yet again but at least it warmed my hand.

      This time a better fish is on, landed and unhooked, the pike is into double figures and that is more than good enough. having returned the fish I decide to make things difficult for myself and sit on the mooring with my feet in the water, then I start to pour the dregs of the tea in the small flask but the spell has been broken. I get to drink it.
      I fish on and watch the kingfisher going for a personal record weight but the pike are not playing ball, the sun was setting so I decide that it was beer o'clock.
      As I drove away the kingfisher was still going at it like a metronome, I hope he doesn't get so full he can't fly.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Swans feasting

      This field has had the entire crop of the sugar beet harvested and taken away to the sugar beet factory at Whissington and now those opportunist winter visitors from colder climes, the swans, have homed in on a magnificent free feast of chopped up sugar beet tops. What a salad.
      This view shows only one small section of the field and over the whole area there must have been four or five times as many swans as there are in this photograph.
      They are going to have to set about the feast in a methodical way to take advantage of the food on offer because by the end of the week it will be ploughed and harrowed and probably drilled with winter wheat.
      Agriculture never stops, just like the swans and at least the swans are putting some fertiliser down for the farmer.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Autumn jelly

      I had a morning out in the pouring rain the other day gathering crab apples for the crab apple and chilli jelly the boss is making. Gathering the fresh chillies was easy by comparison because I had kept one plant going in the greenhouse especially for this occasion and at least it was dry in there.
      The apples themselves varied between being soft and very ripe and very hard like a bullet and there are six pounds in the bowl above waiting to be quartered, that'll be my job I suspect.
      The boss says the hard apples provide the pectin to make the jelly set so who am I to argue. The rest of the crop of crab apples have been left on the tree for the birds and in fact the blackbirds and fieldfares are already filling their boots.
      I'll report back on the finished product when it is safely in its jars, but after testing it of course.