Bees, butterflies, toast and jam

The Speckled Wood was still in the polytunnel this morning so we were able to show it to the group. Although I’ve seen a few about earlier in the year they were down at the other end of the farm and the count, strictly speaking, is only butterflies we’ve seen in the butterfly garden area.

There were no butterflies outside, though there were some pollinators working the ice plants.

It’s not a bad butterfly list this year – seventeen species of butterfly and eight of moths though it could also include “Greyish-brownish moth” as a ninth entry (my ID skills are totally inadequate when it comes to moths).

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Speckled Wood

Last year was fourteen butterfly and three moth.

I think the rise in species is down to spending more time looking and improved ID skills rather than an actual increase, but it’s nice to see it go up.

We’re hoping to start moth trapping before Christmas so we will certainly see a few more species added to the list.

The jam is looking good, and doesn’t taste too bad either. I’m being less ambitious this year – no big batches of chutney and no jellies.

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Toast with Damson Jam

We’re all set for the show, or near enough, though I’m a little nervous about the apple supply; I don’t think we have enough if a lot of schools want a go. However, after the Centigrade./Fahrenheit debacle of a couple of years ago where I turned up to find the mobile oven was raked out and “ready” for me well before reaching temperature, I can pretty much blag anything.

Apple pressing may turn into apple juice tasting and, if I can persuade them to use the spittoons like a proper tasting, I can recycle the contents for the next group…

…OK, perhaps not, but it’s an idea with a certain economic charm about it.

The problem was that the thermometer on the “new” mobile oven we had bought was in Fahrenheit, where we all work to Centigrade these days. Nobody thought to double check, they just raked it out at 350ish.

At 350 degrees C a wood-fired oven will take the hair off your arm when you stick it through the door and will cook pizzas in minutes. At 350 degrees Fahrenheit it gently caresses the hairs on your arm like a tropical breeze and pizzas take twenty minutes or more.

That day we ended up baking bread rolls and, as the heat died completely in the afternoon we merely practised our dough plaiting techniques. It wasn’t my finest hour, but I kept the schools busy, which is what we’re there for.

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