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Chim Chim Cher-ee

We had two visits to the allotment this cold weekend and yesterday (Sunday) everything was looking beautiful encrusted in frost.  

Frost on dandelion

The likelihood of pretty frost was mainly what dragged me outside. It’s so easy to just remain indoors but of course, once out and surrounded by birdsong on the allotment I was glad I shifted myself.

Macro shot of frosted dandelion

The frost on this dandelion was just starting to thaw as the temperature edged above freezing when the Wintry sun emerged. The macro shots bring out the lovely ice features which I certainly couldn’t see with the naked eye.

Early dandelion with frost

The temperature has been sub-zero for a few nights with day temperatures staying low. Some parts of the site haven’t had a chance to defrost at all as the low Sun doesn’t reach all areas.

Frosted January allotment

The ground and all the water collection points are frozen solid. I took the thick round slabs out of our buckets because I am rather fascinated by ice even though I hate, hate, HATE the cold.

Ice block in Winter Sun

You can see how thickly it’s formed in this photo – I stood them up in the raised bed. I hope the pond ice isn’t as thick as that smallest bucket. Male frogs apparently tend to stay in ponds, at the bottom, over Winter (females hibernate underground usually) but the ice can deprive them of oxygen if it stays for too long. I wonder why we found a dead frog last week – it was by the pond, but shouldn’t have been out and about…

Ice circles

The houseleeks couldn’t avoid getting a frosting but they won’t mind. They’re hardy little plants.

Frost tipped houseleek

And I’m sure this moss won’t be adversely affected either. Look how sparkly it is, just starting to thaw.

Thawing frost on moss

The birds seemed to be enjoying the sunshine on Saturday. I think this was a flock (a charm) of goldfinches but it’s difficult to see from this angle. The robin was happy to see us with his mealworms and we saw (probably) a buzzard land in a nearby tree. So huge compared to the tiny blue tits, wrens and long-tailed tits that were flitting about.

The main reason we visited the plot on Saturday was because I need to saw some dehydrated coir compost block for making up a seed compost. Believe it or not, I had to remove my coat as I got so hot exerting myself – first time since about September 🤭

The coir block is rehydrated with warm water and then we add some vermiculite. It worked ok as a peat alternative last year, but I’m rather concerned about the sustainability of using coir. We’re not actually going to start most of our seeds yet, but it’s exciting as they’ve been arriving in the post all week. A few different flowers this year.

January has certainly provided some beautiful skies in the mornings and evenings – this was a morning photo. You can just about see the sprinkling of snow on the dormer windows from a thick, but quick, snow shower we had in the early hours.

Pink and blue sunrise over chimney and weathervane in Hungerford

The jackdaws have secured their spot for another year. They pair up and stick together with a lifespan of about 5 years. We look forward to watching these two rear their young on the chimneys opposite.

Jackdaws on chimney pots

And these two photos are my excuse for sharing this song by Turin Brakes. I liked the original in Mary Poppins (well, Dick van Dyke was always a favourite, even with that accent) but this version is so beautiful and the video makes me think I should stop whinging about the cold as I sit in relative comfort.


Published by Belinda Robinson

Photos of planting, growing, harvesting, (occasional) vegetarian cooking and wildlife - this is why the Marsh Lane Allotment site in Hungerford is such a fabulous place to spend time. A record of successes, failures and it's a handy reminder for me too. From 2017 each post title brings a song to add a little extra music to the world - enjoy!

One thought on “Chim Chim Cher-ee

  1. An enjoyable post and lovely pictures. The frost and ice certainly makes for some good pictures as you show here.
    That’s a good selection of seeds, and like you I haven’t started sowing anything yet.
    Lucky you having a pair of jackdaws, sadly they’re a bird I rarely ever see here.
    Take care. xx


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