Just checked the wildlife cam again after a few weeks: as well as many crows, jackdaws, pied wagtails, the local semi-feral grey cat, a speedy fox, streaking badger, many cheeky rabbits and a pigeon showing off to camera, there are also pictures of a very rude deer prowling the field not only at night, but also in the middle of the day. Seriously dude; 2.30pm?!
Ah the bleak days of January and February ahoy: at this time of year it’s all about finishing off the crops from the year before, where your hard work of the summer and autumn will come to fruition (or not). Fortunately the pak choi and mixed salad leaves in the polytunnels are still going strong, despite the many nights of -5C recently; and the longer days are encouraging more leaf growth and regrowth too which is great for the plants that have already been picked. All four larger tunnels have had salads in them over winter, and there’s just a of strips that haven’t been picked at all yet; the rest are the faster growing brassica leaves that should be able to stand another month or so before bolting, so we can get at least another pick off them.
There are still a few last leeks out in the field, and a couple of rows of parsnips that still need to be dug up; but other than that, there’s not much going on at the moment. The kale has pretty much been picked out for the time being, so will have a couple of weeks off. However, looking on the bright side, we have already started our sowings for 2017, woohoo! We’ve sown lettuces, spring onions, rocket, beetroot and spinach in modules, and in the next week or so will be filling our hot bed (hot box really) with fresh horse manure, and using the heat to get some tomato seeds off to a good start.
So Santa bought me a very exciting present this year: a wildlife camera! I’ve been wanting one for years, and not just to see which little blighters have been eating certain crops (the deer prints, badger burrows and rabbit droppings kinda give the game away); but there is something very exciting even to a hardened grower or farmer about seeing your fields appearing unfamiliar snapped in the dark and the local wild nightlife out to party.
The camera has infrared LEDs to work at night and a motion detector which can be adjusted for sensitivity, and can take photos or video. I set up the small box in the leek patch between Christmas and New Year just to see what was around. Although the nights were cold (several pictures of freezing fog with the glint of an eye just visible through the mists), it caught quite a bit: a flying fox, rather large and bold rabbits, lots of blackbirds and thrushes (hurrah! Eat those slugs guys!), and redwings. I’ll set it up somewhere else today I think and see who else comes to visit…