Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A little of everything - well almost

Tuesday gave us a bit of everything, a little bit of sunshine although it was cloudy for most of the day, a few rain showers and in the evening the wind really strengthened. We didn't get any snow though which did arrive on this day last year.

Many of our garden birds have disappeared, apparently they have decided that there are more appetising treats in the countryside than our garden. These fat balls have been out for a couple of weeks and remain almost untouched. 
Our flock of sparrows have remained faithful and still manage to enjoy our half a fat filled coconut along with a good quantity of seed. This one will soon need replacing.
In the last couple of days though a couple of goldfinches have returned to help the sparrows eat the sunflower hearts. Perhaps this is a sign that the autumn hedgerows are beginning to run short of food.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

What a difference a year makes

Monday was a cloudy cool day, but even so it became milder late in the evening as more windy weather came in from the west. This rather bizarrely meant our mildest part of the day was as we approached midnight.  

It’s a far cry from last year as November 28th went down in the record books as the coldest November night in Yorkshire as the temperature plummeted to minus 7.6°C at home but falling to minus 14°C at Topcliffe. This year thankfully we look like having one of the warmest Novembers on record. Like I said at the beginning what a difference a year makes.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Continuing windy and mild

Sunday was almost a replica of Saturday but with lots more sunshine. Gazing out of the window it looked a beautiful day with clear blue sky but the gale force wind took the edge of the temperature making it feel cold outside.
However this day last year marked the start of our very cold winter weather. The daytime temperature on the 27th last year managed just 0.7°C with a night time low of -4.4°C. Compared with today’s high of 13.4°C and corresponding low of 5.6°C we’re doing well. I’m hoping the reasonable mild weather will continue a while yet.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Windy and mild

Saturday produced another mild day. It’s the third day in a row that the temperature has managed to make it just above 13°C, well above what we might expect at the end of November. It was windy for most of the day with the strength of the wind picking up even more during the evening.  

The wind didn’t stop it becoming milder as the day went on, starting at around 7.0°C and steadily rising to just over 13°C over a 24 hour period.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Squally showers

A little bit of a surprise on Friday, we had some rain, well at least some showers. They were pretty well scattered throughout the day amounting to 3.6mm our wettest day since the first of the month. Despite these showers we are well short of our average November rainfall which is 63.7mm as we've now had just 21.2mm. 

Our annual rainfall for the year remains well below average too as by the end of November we would expect to average 578.1mm against our actual rainfall of 347.4mm.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Banana to sort out

Thursday turned out to be our second mildest day of the month with a daily average temperature of 12.4°C. This has only been higher on the third of the month with 13.6°C. 

The mild weather has lulled me into a false sense of security and I've yet to provide any protection to our banana plant growing in our garden border. It suffered badly in last year’s severe winter and only after a long wait in spring did it manage to produce some new shoots from around the base of the plant. 
So although this border is in the process of a makeover I’ll give the banana some protection for winter with some straw around its root to protect it from the worst of the cold weather. 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Unfrosted parsnips

Wednesday continued in much the same vein as the rest of the month, mild and cloudy.

We dug our first parsnips on the plot last weekend. I was a little dubious about digging a few roots to test for a couple of reasons. Firstly they hadn’t made their usual amount of top growth, a bit like this year’s potato crop, and secondly they haven’t had a frost to sweeten the roots.
I needn’t have worried as the roots were a decent size. I’m not going to suggest they were the largest specimens I've ever grown but they were plenty big enough. These Gladiator roots were completely free of canker which sometimes damages our crop. They tasted nice and sweet when cooked too. These roots have reminded me to place some straw around the remaining parsnips so that I can harvest the roots once the weather turns cold and snowy.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Mixed messages

Tuesday was the umpteenth dull day of the month. It might have been a mild month but it’s certainly lacked sunshine. Once again it was mild keeping up our high average daily temperature for the month.

In the pond our water hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyos) has decided to flower. It normally starts to flower in late spring but has obviously decided a few late flower will do no harm, maybe due to the mild weather.
Down on the plot at the weekend it was a different matter. It might have been mild but it’s been damp and horrible even though we haven’t had a great deal of rain. This has finished off our crop of lettuce (Red Iceburg) which have turned into a soggy mush in the damp conditions.
It’s much the same story with our Flamenco strawberries. They're still doing their best to produce fruits but in the damp weather these are going mouldy before they ripen. Never mind I don’t really expect to be picking strawberries at the end of November. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Another cloudy miserable day

Monday was like many of the days this month, cloudy and dull all day. As I made space for another week’s weather to be added to my charts I couldn't help but notice the dramatic drop in temperatures at the end of November last year. The snow arrived as well. We were heading into winter without any hint of how the weather was going to turn. Temperatures fell and the snow arrived and stayed. This article in the local Yorkshire Post looks back at that spell of weather from last year. 

Along with the rest of the country we didn’t expect the weather to turn as it did. I’ve just looked back at my blog postings for this time last year. My entry on the 21st November hinted there might be some cold weather on the way. How accurate that American forecast turned out to be. 

That same American forecast doesn't have any snow predicted for next weekend just wet and windy weather.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Misty day

The mist never cleared all day so it was a miserable cold day.

The temperature only managed a maximum of 7.7°C so in the Central England Temperature Record it means 2011 moves down into 4th place. Some milder days are forecast later on in the week so it is still possible that the average temperature for the month might improve. It’s probably going to be dependant on over night temperatures remaining mild and frost free.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Plum tree sorted

Saturday started off misty and murky but by late morning the mist disappeared and the sun came out leaving us with a lovely afternoon.
On the plot I decided it was about time I got round to sorting out our Marjorie’s Seedling plum tree. Back in the summer under the sheer weight of plums one of its branches broke. The break wasn't all the way through and the plums on the broken branch did go on to ripen. Although its not the right time to be cutting back a plum tree I decided I wanted to tidy the tree up for winter.
This was our tree in the height of summer laden with plums. It looked a little different yesterday before I set to with my saw.
This is how it looked with our old steps still in place trying to support the broken bough.
It looked much better once all the broken branches and twigs had been removed. I'm a little bit concerned about the actual  point where the branch broke. I can’t really see how it can be cut back to give a smooth cut without destroying the whole tree. I might try gunging up the whole area with one of those compounds for protecting cut surfaces of trees. As you can see the actual break point still looks very messy.
As for the cut back branches they’re just a small pile of twigs and branches ready to be burnt to produce some potash which is good to spread back on the plot. Not that these few twigs will produce very much.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mostly cloudy but mild

Friday started off with a little sunshine which soon gave way to clouds for the rest of the day. It was another very mild day for November with a high of 13.9°C.

The newspapers are already discussing the possibility of November being the warmest ever recorded in the Central England Temperature Record which dates back 350 years. 

We’re located just outside this area, but not many miles north of it. Today our average temperature for the month is 9.6°C lower than the figure needed for us to break this record. 

So whilst we wouldn’t break the record we’re still in with a chance of it being the second warmest November based on this old record.

Surprisingly the records from 3rd to 7th warmest have all been in place for many years with 3rd place dating back to 1818 over 190 years ago. So mild Novembers aren’t really a recent phenomenon.

Friday, 18 November 2011


Thursday was glorious, sunny and mild and hard to believe it was the middle of November. There was just a gentle breeze and it was still possible to feel a little warmth in the afternoon sunshine. A real bonus day for the time of year.

So far this month we’ve had just 16.2mm of rain and with a long term average of 64 mm we could be in for yet another dry month. At this time of year the rainfall we are having seems enough to keep the soil in our garden and on the plot on the wet side even though the amount of rain we’ve had is relatively small.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Cold and dull

Wednesday was cool and cloudy all day. With the temperature not even making double figures, 8.3°C was our maximum it certainly had a November feel to the day.
We harvested our medlars this week, much later in this autumn than over the last few previous years. The tree had just about lost all its leaves but all the medlars were still hanging on.
I’m still looking for a good way to use medlars. I’ve not come to terms with this idea of bletting or almost allowing the fruit to start rotting before its ready to eat. It looks like some of our fruits have bletted on the tree. It’s a bit like trying to decide whether or not to eat “shaggy parasols” - well maybe not at least we may decide to eat the medlars!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Afternoon sunshine

It was another gloomy morning but to give us a pleasant surprise the sun made a most welcome appearance in the afternoon. Temperatures were about average for mid November at 10.5°C. When it chooses to make an appearance, the sun is now low in the sky throughout the day leaving much of the garden in shade for the whole day.

The weather was good enough for me to make a little more progress on refurbishing the area around our pond filter. This is an area that had been neglected for a number of years. It’s a pretty large job so it’s being given a few web pages all to itself so click here to read more

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pumpkin pie lifts the gloom

The gloomy weather continued on Monday without the slightest hint of any sunshine. It was dry and a little cooler than the last few days. It’s rather odd that such lousy weather is producing such a mild November. It’s not due to any especially good daytime weather more the fact that overnight temperatures are almost the same as daytime temperatures due to the thick blanket of never ending cloud.

I decided to use one of our Crown Prince squashes to make a pumpkin pie, something we had never made before. There are plenty of recipes on the Internet but many use tinned pumpkin and shop bought pastry. A combination of a BBC Good Food and Jamie Oliver recipes gave me enough of an idea what to do.
The Crown Prince had been stored in the greenhouse and was in excellent conditions. The squash was cut up and roasted in the oven. There was plenty of uncooked squash left over which I've frozen to use later. I've no idea if it’s possible to freeze squash but I’ll find out now.
Cutting up the squash is certainly the difficult bit. It was just a matter of blind baking the pastry case, making the filling and cooking for 45 minutes. The end result was certainly different but very tasty. It still seems a little odd using a vegetable - although botanically it is a fruit -even though I know it’s a very sweet one to make a dessert.

Monday, 14 November 2011

For one day only

Saturday’s sunshine was for one day only as we returned to dull, damp weather again today. Not much rain fell but it seemed wet all day. 
Last year at this stage in November the weather got much colder for a week or so before we fell into a bitterly cold spell for the remainder of November and the whole of December. This year the forecast at the moment is for milder conditions to continue for the next couple of weeks at least.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunshine returns

Saturday was the day the sunshine returned. After a gloomy week with not a hint of sunshine, Saturday was a pleasant change with almost unbroken sunshine from dawn to dusk. The temperature managed just over 14°C in the afternoon, pretty mild for November. Although we are not quite to the middle of the month the average temperature for the month is certainly above average. 
At the moment we are below the average for the warmest November ever recorded in the Central England Temperature Record, but well above the expected average, and also above last year’s November which started off mild and finished off with a very cold spell.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The gloom continues

Friday produced no let up in the dull, overcast and damp conditions of the last few days.

From the chart Friday probably turned out the dullest day of the whole week with the solar radiation hardly managing the 50 mark. However as you can see from the chart Saturday has dawned with clear blue skies and sunshine.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Still gloomy

Thursday continued the spell of extremely dull and gloomy weather. It was another day without a hint of sunshine. It did attempt to rain a couple of times but it didn't amount to anything and we had a daily total of just 0.4mm. The average daily temperature remains high, not because of any pleasant mild daytime temperatures but because this thick blanket of cloud maintains the temperature overnight.

No sunshine recorded after last Sunday and once the temperature recovered from a cold start to Monday morning it’s hardly varied day or night since. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A ray of sunshine

Wednesday produced another dull and gloomy day without any sunshine. This rose was the nearest thing to sunshine in the garden. It did remain dry all  day but everything outside still seemed wet and soggy. The temperatures during the day are around normal for the time of year but with all the cloud the temperature doesn't fall much over night which is making November a mild month so far.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

In the dark

I suspect along with lots of the rest of the country we were in the dark all day Tuesday. The gloomy conditions didn't lift all day. The temperature didn't change much day or night varying from 9.2°C at its coolest to 10.2°C at its mildest. How different the last two days have been since such a beautiful day on Sunday.

The graph above shows temperature and solar radiation starting Sunday and ending midnight on Tuesday.  Plenty of sunshine on Sunday then it disappeared. It's generally accepted that a solar radiation reading of 120 or more is needed to be judged as sunshine. We've been a long way short of that for a couple of days now.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Chalk & Cheese

Monday saw a complete turn around in the weather again as we had a really dull and miserable day after yesterday’s almost unbroken sunshine. It must have remained cloud free well into the early hours of Monday morning allowing the temperature to fall to minus 0.1°C just before dawn at 05:45.

This is our first below zero temperature of the autumn, it still counts even though it’s just fractionally below. As the cloud and drabness arrived the temperature did recover a little through the day but didn’t manage to get into double figures. It’s forecast to stay like this all week, perhaps improving a little towards the weekend.

Monday, 7 November 2011

What a change

Sunday saw a complete change in the weather. The drabness disappeared to be replaced by sunshine almost all day long. Although the temperature only managed 11°C it felt mild in the afternoon sunshine.
Down on the plot it’s amazing how the recent rain has transformed our soil. It’s not that we've had any great amount of rain but after being too dry to dig the soil is now such that it sticks to boots whilst digging.
At least having grass paths around our beds means that digging can be done without standing on the soil too much which is a great help now that the soil is a bit claggy. Much more rain and it will be too wet to turn over and digging will have to wait for the soil to dry out a little.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

New Rhubarb

Saturday saw and end to the milder weather but not the dull and dreary bit. The temperature struggled to reach double figures managing only 10.5°C in the afternoon which is just below average for early November. The clouds didn't lift all day with some light rain in the morning.

As I've been concerned about loosing some of our rhubarb plants on the plot through this dry summer I decided to order a couple of new crowns from Thompson & Morgan. These have already arrived and I’ve potted both crowns of Stockbridge Arrow into a large pot and will keep these in the greenhouse to protect them from the worst of the winter weather.

Both pieces of rhubarb root had some tiny shoots so although they don’t look much now I’m hoping they will produce strong healthy plants for next summer. It will be a couple of years however, before they have any rhubarb ready for pulling.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

In a rut

Friday was another mild and mostly overcast day. A little more rain on and off throughout the day gave the day a miserable feel despite the temperature.
It was just the sort of day I needed for my change over computer day. I've now managed to change over most of my software and data files to a new PC before my old one gave up the ghost completely. Tracking down all the software serial numbers, downloading latest software versions and drivers was quite a task. I've still got more software to install but I think all the vital bits are working.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Continuing dull and mild

Thursday continued along the lines of the last few days, mostly dull but remaining mild for November.
We still haven't picked our medlars this year. The autumn foliage looks especially good at this time of year. Perhaps the medlars will be better left on for a few more days as there are no frosts forecast.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Dull, mild and good for digging

Wednesday was another mild day for November with just a little sunshine now and again.

In the afternoon on the plot it was a dull and gloomy day but good for digging over some of the beds which have been cleared over the last few weeks.
During the summer we dug up our old strawberry plants and this left us with three small beds that hadn't been dug for several years. The ground was dry and hard after a very dry spring and summer and it was nigh on impossible to dig over these beds to produce any sort of reasonable tilth for sowing or planting.
This was the first strawberry patch to be cleared at the beginning of August. It's difficult to spot the other two beds as the old strawberry plants finished up over run with weeds. The grass paths had also taken the opportunity to spread a little and take over some of the old beds.
Although we haven't had a great amount of rain it's been enough to soften up the ground and allow us to get on and do some winter digging. The cleared strawberry beds now look in much better shape after being dug over and the grass paths trimmed back. It might be good to plant our early potatoes in these beds next year.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Starts like last year

November has started off on a mild pleasant note, in fact very similar to last year. Last year November started off mild but after a week temperatures plummeted to give us a very cold month. I’m hoping that’s not going to be the case this year.
October was certainly a mild month here, with an average temperature of 11.88°C ranking 16th warmest, going back to the 1700’s, based on the Central England Temperature Record. Mild Octobers don’t seem to be a completely recent phenomenon with milder Octobers having occurred in 1811, 1818 and 1838.

It’s been yet another dry month with below average rainfall of 44.4mm against an expected 68.7mm becoming the eighth month in a row with below average rainfall.   

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Goes out like it came in

The last day of October was mild, the month going out on a good note. We had a light southerly breeze, a few sunny spells and with the temperature reaching 16.7°C in the afternoon it was very pleasant.
This is the last of our October harvests. Our pickings will become more meagre as we head into the winter months. 
  • A full list of our October harvests can be found here
  • A list of sowing and planting for October is here
  • Octobers weather details can be found here and figures for 2011 to date are located here