Monthly Archives: June 2014

War cries from the woods: June 19th

The summer heat continues. While I may be struggling the plants are loving it! Veg is steaming a long and very excitingly the olives are in blossom and it looks like it will be a good crop this year. Sadly insect life doesn’t seem at all deterred by the heat and my daily ritual of removing them from everything seems to be a loosing battle.

Other wildlife are definitely around. The deer patrol the perimeter of the fence around the vines, ever hopeful that there might be a new gap that they can slip though. Occasionally they look like they might attempt to jump it but gladly not so far, that would be a nasty discovery- a deer stuck on the fence- because surely they couldn’t clear it. The boar are making themselves known too, we have heard them in the woods two nights in a row now. We are very much hoping it’s not a war cry or that an attack is imminent!

Hot: June 13th

As a Brit, I have learnt to take pleasure when the weather is good. And when I say good I mean not raining. But these past few days I have been challenged by the heat. 35 degrees is not something an Englishman is used to (even after having lived here for some years!) I can’t say I don’t enjoy it sometimes, but the joys of eating outside and not needing a jumper wear thin when you are sweating your guts up trying to mow the grass. It’s not just me who is suffering, the chickens are not happy. I have never really thought about how warm feathers might be, light and sometimes waterproof but warm?! Poor hens are doing there best at staying in the shade at all times. The same can’t be said for the chicks and ducklings who are far too excited about EVERYTHING to let a little sun get in the way of their explorations!

British weather: 5th June

An Italian friend of mine once said that the problem with British weather was not the rain or the dampness it was the unpredictability of it. You wake up and its grey drizzle and by the time you have made it out of the door it has gone through at least three different states (to include sun, hail, wind, hot, cold and perhaps snow). She claimed that in Italy, the weather you get up with is the weather you go to bed with. Well, if she is to be believed then this week has been decidedly Engish! I head out to the garden, the rain joins me, I head to the office, the sun teases me. Quite annoying! Not only because it means a lot of copper spraying has to be done – in the brief sunny moments before it all washes off again in the rain!

On the upside, the intruders have decided to stay at home too and as yet the deer have failed to bring a ladder or hurdle the fence around the vines. The boar, foxes and fiena also continue to be no shows since the British weather arrived. Let’s hope they keep their distance as the ducklings and chicks become ever more bold in their exploring. And perhaps learning escape tactics from their older counterparts…



Ants, ants, everywhere: May 30th

Ants are taking up residence in the bee feeder on my hive. Whilst researching I found out that 400 years ago, Charles Butler listed the Enemies of bees as :

  • the mouse
  • the woodpecker
  • the Titmouse
  • the Swallow
  • the Hornet
  • the Wasp
  • the Moth
  • the snail
  • the Emet
  • the Spider
  • the Toad
  • the Frog
  • the Bee
  • the weather

Not so resilient eh?! Well I would add to that list the usual collection of Italian pests (fiena, boar, deer…), cack-handed Englishmen and ANTS. They are all over the place! As yet, I’m still to really find out what damage they are doing and therefore what threat they pose to the bees, but I’m sure they shouldn’t be helping themselves to the food!

Ants are causing havoc elsewhere in the garden too. Daily de-bugging ( ants, black/ green fly) the roses, blackberries and white beans. It’s not like they do anything useful like pollinate or something….stupid ants… *returns to googling “getting rid of ants” with grumpy face*


Chicks and ransacking: May 23rd

The chicks hatched! The eggs arrived safely, very carefully wrapped and yesterday the chicks make themselves known. Just as sweet as the tacky Easter cards would have you think, plus a bit sibling negotiation which I enjoy watching unfold. The brood are now happily ensconced in the run with an older hen who seems to be taking very well to parenthood.

In other chicken news, there was a small breakout last week. As you can imagine it was hens who are now proving to be less interested in parenthood that ransacked the vegetable garden! I’m just glad that the escape route wasn’t used as an entrance for predators. The veg are now recovering, thankfully no fatalities. The potatoes, white beans, garlic and onions seem to be rather resilient to the occasional hen ransackment.

Speaking of ransacking, we had our first wild boar spotting for a long time this morning. No damage as yet. I wait with baited breath…