Summer rain

august view
Late Summer View

As is typical at this time of year, we are getting rather more rain and less sunshine.  Whenever we get a still day the midges make life a misery outside, so you either need a good midge repellent, keep all skin covered, or keep running!  I’m using ‘midge magic‘ at the moment which seems as good as any anti midge I’ve tried.  Last week was a bit windy, gusting to about 45mph or so.  The alder tree branches are very brittle, and quite a few have top branches partially or completely broken off.  I have also pruned a few more of the branches lower down to make the back pathways more passable in the wet.

broken branches
Broken branches

The coming of heavier rain last week also filled the pond back up with water.  It has been much emptier this year than last, although I didn’t think it had been very dry.  Douglas still likes to paddle in the puddle left when it is low, but to be frank he gets a bit stinky in the mud!  The river in spate has a lovely golden colour as it goes over the stones at the rapids, and is inky black with peat in the still deeps.  When the river is low it has almost no colour and is crystal clear.

peaty water
Amber river waters (and Dyson)

We’ve had more ‘free ranging’ sheep along the river banks this year, so there has not been so many wild flowers the other side of the fence.  The trees we cut back when they were felled by the floods have been browsed back as well, so there is still a good clearing letting in light.  There are some hazelnuts showing – usually in large clusters, but not so many as last year by far.

hazel nuts
Hazelnuts over inky water

The late summer flowers are making a show now, with meadowsweet, various vetches and knapweed the stars of the show.  Scabious and ling heather (calluna vulgaris) are also opening their flowers.  I have two of the three common forms of heather growing here: ling and bell heather (erica cincerea).  The bell heather is slightly earlier and the blooms are now fading, whilst the ling heather has paler flowers and is yet to reach its peak.  The third common heather, cross leaf heath, does grow up on the hills, but I’ve not see it on the holding.  It has fewer, larger and paler flowers.

bee on scabious
Bee on Scabious

There are more little hazel seedlings that I have noticed near the river in the tree field.  Some I can leave to grow where they are – they will probably be happiest not being disturbed.  Others, which are too close to the fence, other trees, or on the paths, I will try and remember to move this winter.  The trouble is they are much more difficult to find when they lose their leaves.  I should take down some sturdy long sticks and mark their places!  In the meantime, I try and clear the grass around them and mulch them with it, which makes them easier to find at the moment.

hazel seedling
Hazel seedling

I have pretty much cleared the bracken growing in the tree field.  There really wasn’t very much at all this year.  I should get out and pull the stems growing on the river bank as well, before it starts dying back too much.  The big builders bag of bracken that I pulled last year is still there down by the pond.  Unfortunately it is too heavy for me to move it.  I did think that as the bracken died down it would get lighter, but if it has it hasn’t made enough difference for me.  It is still not well rotted enough for compost, although would do as a surface mulch if I wanted.  I may wheel it up to the new blueberry patch when I get on with that.  Some nice light organic material will be just what the blueberries will like.

editing bracken
Editing Bracken


11 thoughts on “Summer rain

  1. Beautiful stream you’ve got – the dogs must love it! I don’t know if it’s the same for the alder, but an arborist here told me that the eucalyptus trees suck up so much water during the rain that their top branches with the many leaves become too heavy, and that’s why they break in the hard winds (which often come with the rain.) Not much you can do with that info though, it just happens 🙂

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  2. J > What a wonderful photo of a bee on the scabious! Your weather seems to be about the same as ours has been : some lovely sunny days, but a bit wetter than usual for July-August (warmest, but not the driest months, in the Hebrides). It’s been a remarkable year for growth : perfect combination of warmth, moisture and sunshine. That said, though it’s been relatively (and unusually) still this summer, with all that soft green growth, when the wind has blown it has done a lot of damage, especially if the foliage is laden with rain.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. The bees have been delighted with the flowers! In close ups like that I often focus on something easy, then move the camera to capture the subject (often in ‘sport mode’ if it’s something that is likely to move!).
      In our experience so far we are more likely to get a heat wave in May than August! I would agree with you with the good growing weather though, everything has been very lush!


  3. Thanks for identifying the Scabious 🙂 Our bank was full of it this year. I think I must of taken down the area too hard and too early last year and we never saw it but this year it’s everywhere. Best of all the Gold Finches are picking their way through the heads. Strong flower stem? or Really light bird? – who knows, who cares, their both beautiful.

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