Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Anticyclonic Gloom

It seems our weather is going to be governed by high pressure this week but it doesn't mean we are going to have sunny days and frosty nights. We're going to have to put up with some dull days with drizzle or light rain on and off throughout the day.
Even the coming and goings of our feathered friends didn't remove the water droplets from the bird feeder on Monday.

Here's something different for a dull day.
I'm not sure how this will appear in your particular browser but by clicking on the image you should get a live animation of the predicted precipitation for 12:00 on 17 January 2017. Clicking here will also take you to the live image. It's possible to change the image to view the weather for anywhere in the world and it can also be changed to view temperatures, wind or other weather variables.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Winter Washing

It turned out to be a weekend of two halves. Saturday was sunny but cold and Sunday was milder and wet.
We decided to head down to the allotment on Saturday afternoon to winter wash the fruit trees.


I'm planning to give the trees another winter wash early next month before there are any signs of fresh new shoots.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Wow Did Some Potting Up

Friday was a cold day although it perhaps finished up slightly milder than the forecasters had suggested.
Temperature and Wind Chill for 13 January 2017
Although it wasn't blowing a gale there was a strong, cold, north westerly, breeze blowing all day making it feel much more like the wind chill temperature on the graph shown above. It wasn't a day I was planning to do anything outside. Then the delivery man knocked on the door.
Our new black raspberry plant "Jewel" had arrived. The big red label suggested it needed opening straight away so that the plant could be inspected and given a bit of immediate attention should it need any. It was a case of wrapping up warmly and heading for the greenhouse.
I needn't have worried too much as the plant had been well packed for its journey by Sutton's Seeds. Once unwrapped it was potted up in a decent sized pot where it can grow on until it's ready to be planted out in the allotment. It's funny how things seem to go missing when nothing's been done in the greenhouse for a few months. Finding a trowel, a decent sized pot not to mention some compost wasn't that easy. (You can read about why we chose a black raspberry on Sue's Blog here.)

The last time I looked in the greenhouse our banana tree had green leaves but the cold frosty weather has finished them off.
Our greenhouse doesn't have any protection against the winter cold at all. I gave up trying to keep it at a "cold" greenhouse or frost free temperature many years ago. Most things survive a normal winter but in a really cold winter I accept that we will have a few loses.
Against all the odds this overwintering Osteospermum was doing its best to flower despite all around it were buds turning mouldy. Our potted patio rose is also overwintering in the greenhouse and has a flower bud.
I'm not holding out a lot of hope of it bursting into flower over the next couple of days.

Friday, 13 January 2017

By The Canal

Thursday was a much calmer day with yesterday's gales having abated. However, as the wind died down the temperature fell but that was to be expected as the last few days have been mild for January. Light snow had been a possibility but it didn't materialise and we had some very light drizzle instead.
Temperature and High Wind Speed Records 10-12 January 2017
I've spent some time trying to learn better focussing techniques with my camera. I've watched a few videos on YouTube which explain the various options. My main problem is switching between these various options when I'm using my camera in different situations. I tested a few settings out by the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
 Aire & Calder Navigation - Woodlesford Lock
 Aire & Calder Navigation - Woodlesford Lock
It was a dull and dismal afternoon, probably not the best for taking photographs, and it took a while for the camera to focus and allow me to take a picture. It was a little bit too cold for messing about with camera menus and settings. I might have to have another little test trip out to try out a few different settings.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Nameless Storm January 2017

Considering the Met Office decided not to name Wednesday's storm it caused lots of disruption with road bridges closed, fallen trees blocking roads, power outages and rail services delayed to mention just a few of the problems.
Temperature, High Wind Speeds and Wind Chill Records for 11 January 2017
I've added the wind chill records to the graph above as 11 January became our mildest day of the year although in the gale force wind it definitely didn't feel that way. Strangely it was also the sunniest day of the year. However, it will only go down in the record books as a particularly windy day and I've included the top twenty windiest days of the last seven years below.
In the garden we have escaped with only minor damage. The bird feeders have been restored to their upright positions so the birds should be much happier today. However, one fence panel has been battered into submission and will need some repair work or even replacement.
This panel takes the full force of any westerly wind and obviously yesterday's gale was too much for it to take. I'm hoping to be able to replace the inner willow filling and reuse the existing main frame of the panel.

We're hoping that the shed and greenhouse at the allotment will have survived the storm intact.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Storm With No Name

The weather overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday morning has been awful. Strong winds that started developing on Tuesday night turned into gale force ones overnight.
Temperature & Wind Speed Records 09-11 January 2017
Looking at the graphs above there’s a wind speed in there just after 06:00 at 41mph which takes third place on the highest wind speeds I've recorded in seven years.
Highest Wind Speeds Recorded since January 2010

Amazingly in the middle of the night the temperature reached 11.6°C (52.9°F) the highest of the year so far.

In the garden the birds are having to wait a while before they get breakfast. The wind has blown over the bird table and seed feeders and the way it is continuing to blow there seems little point picking them up until the wind abates a little.
It's the worst storm we've had for some considerable time now but it seems that the Met Office didn't think it severe enough to warrant a name or more likely it didn't meet some criteria that they have for naming storms. I'm not sure what use it is in naming some storms and not others.



Monday, 9 January 2017

First Arrivals

The first of our seed orders arrived over the weekend. It wasn't our main order from Kings Seeds but a small order from Suttons Seeds.
A couple of varieties we wanted from Kings weren't available and so we decided to order them from Suttons. That accounts for the lettuce Tom Thumb and the Pea Oregon Sugar Pod. The others we just couldn't resist as we thumbed through the catalogue at the varieties on offer.

I've noticed on Facebook and Twitter that seeds are already being sown for the new season. I've no intention of falling into the trap and being tempted to sow any seeds now. On the seeds delivered this weekend Ageratum and lettuce Tom Thumb have suggested early sowing dates of February. I'll sow a few lettuce and radish seeds in the middle of March to try to bring along a few early crops in the coldframe and greenhouse. I'll leave off sowing any more seeds until the beginning of April. Then the serious sowing starts.

As I expected no sooner had I posted about our mildest day being the very second that the New Year began than it was overtaken by the 07 January 2017 when the temperature managed 10.7°C or 51.3°F.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 06-08 January 2017
Hopefully it won't be too long before that high temperature increases a little bit more. It does seem that some colder weather is on the way for next weekend but there seems to be some doubt about how long it will last.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Doesn't Feel Any Warmer

It was a little bit milder on Friday but the downside was, it was cloudy with a little bit of light rain on and off throughout the day. At the beginning of the year, it's tricky to know when to start blogging about either the mildest or coldest days of the year.
Temperature & Rainfall 2017
As we are now a week into the new year I've decided the time is right. Our mildest temperature of the year occurred as the midnight hour struck and the new year began when the temperature was 9.2°C or 48.6°F and the coldest was 05 January when it fell to -1.7°C or 28.9°F. There's a fair chance that the lowest temperature of the year will be set in the next two months whereas we'll have to wait for June, July and August for the highest of the year.

Thanks to our plot neighbour I've been able to repair a section of our compost bins.
One of the old interwoven timber fence panels used to construct the compost bins was falling apart and no longer able to hold any material back. I was given a sturdy piece of timber fencing panel and thought I'd get it in place before anyone else decided to make use of it.
I've erected it in what I'll term a temporary fashion although knowing me it may well finish up a permanent job. At least I might try to knock in the posts a little bit more which won't be so straightforward as the posts are starting to split at the top. The climbing rose in front of the fencing panel needed some further serious pruning but I expect it to recover.

I've finished editing a short video made on our first visit to the plot in 2017 on a very frosty afternoon.
The next job  is to winter wash the apple, pear, cherry, quince, plum and greengage trees.