One of my hobbies I don’t normally talk about is brewing my own beer and lager. Normally I place the beer in my barrels but as the barrels are all full of wine I bottled the last batches, I had some fun designing my own labels in Photoshop.
The lager kit I bought from Bigger Jugs proved to be the best lager I have made for some years. The bottle capper proved to be a great investment, making the job much easier. The new no rinse sterilizer is also a boon.
My wine brews are going well, this year has seen a huge crop of Gooseberries, Damsons and Grapes. Some 50 + odd gallons so far.
Here are a few of the active group advert posts placed on your Facebook page, Chard & Ilminster in the past months.
We had received a good response, with many seeing our adverts, and I am sure attracting potential new members. These have been seen by hundreds of people in the past few months. I welcome new ideas on portraying to potential members just what we do. For an example, the Natural History post was seen by 121 in just a few days. This is free advertising, and we should do more to utilise it to get our message out.
A tree died in public land adjoining our church, so our local artist John who also attends to the land has carved the dead tree into a remarkable work of art for all to enjoy giving life to death. I think this is super! and would love to see it decorated by local children with fairy lights at Christmas time! A great gift to the community indeed.
Here are some pictures of it, I think you will agree it is very good. The lines and curves remind me of early Christian Celtic art when the tree is lit by the sunlight it glows with a warm golden colour and is certainly enhances the approach to the church.
Sadly one or two locals consider it pagan and demand it be removed and have even removed images of it from the Social Media Facebook page so denying others to make a judgement….so if you want to see it get down to Chaffcombe soon. What do you think?
I went to the Wetlands at Seaton with the express intention of getting some macro shots of the insects there.
I was suprised at the lack of bees but easily found subjects to populate the Facebook Page.
The Shellduck ducklings were on show, see them in another post here.
Cycled today. The field scene at Cricket Malerbie looked good at the time with the bright sunlight and menacing clouds, but not sure now. Used a Nikon P530 went faulty just out of guarantee will not zoom properly. Will not buy Nikon again, its a cheap camera (£230) but I do expect stuff to last more that 24 months.
One of my images taken in my garden of a blackbird in flight was chosen by stamp designers to adorn the centenary issue stamp commemorating Francis Ledwidge death in the first world war. The issuing date is 21 July 2017.
My Friend Richard Fisher an American who lives in Pennsylvania has a love of English Railways and plans to create a model layout based on Crewkerne Station. To assist him I traveled to Bishops Lydeard the main station to Minehead for West Somerset Railway, to photograph the Steam engines at West Somerset Railway for his project. Here are some of my first attempts at this really interesting photographic subject. I plan to go again.
Sunday was a superb day with sunshine and blue skies. The evening sunset provided a soft light which any photographer would enjoy. The wetlands as always had subjects galore and the Robin kindly posed for me. Click to enlarge.
Did you know that female bees can chose the sex of their offspring? Female eggs are fertilised, males are not. Usually, female eggs are placed at the far end of the nest cavity and males eggs in the cells nearer the entrance. Males of a lot of species of solitary bee species emerge before the females, mainly so they can be waiting for virgin females to exit the nest and mate with them immediately. It therefore makes sense for male bees to be in the outer most cells.
Weather conditions play a big part in emergence timing.
Leafcutter bees pass the winter as pre-pupa, finally developing into adult bees in the spring. Bees like the red mason bee Osmia bicornis pass the winter as adults, if you open a cocoon of this species in February the bee will be sitting there and fly off fairly fast.
Winter is the best time to prepare for the next years solitary bee boxes.Clean any boxes from last year removing carefully and take out tubes and canes which contain next years larvae and place them aside in a safe sheltered outdoor place.
If you have used wood with holes drilled these may also contain larvea from leafcutter and mason bees. Although you may not be able to see them, they may be at the back of the tube.
Any canes which appear unused may still be used at the rear of the cane so do not discard them.
Cut new canes, use rolled wrapping paper, drill good clean holes in timber blocks, do not use treated timber.
In the past I made many boxes for sale in charity shops, but the problem with this is people who buy them have little idea of management and use them as garden decoration.
Bug boxes for Ferne Shop Chard
A miner bee sitting happily on my
Solitary bees will pollinate more flowers than a honey bee.
Take care of your bee tubes and remember that a woodpeckers tongue can reach well into a tube or cane removing all bee larvea so its a good idea to protect the box with a 1/2″ wire mesh. at least 2 inches from front of canes/tubes,
Mason bees will leave a gap at the end of the tunnell/tube blocking the entrance with mud with its brood a good inch or so behind.
A dull day and high tide with few waders about in the morning. Spent a couple of hours here.
Some Teal brightened the morning feeding near the visitor centre. The Pheasants were evident released and ready to be shot anytime soon by someone who can afford to do this offensive “sport” Over 50,000,000 are released into the environment bringing disease and upsetting the wild bird food chain.