Saturday, 13 June 2020

Garden Crops

 When we cleared the bed against the front fence, I recovered a straggly carnation, which I am now growing into several pots.  When the runners have rooted they will be planted out as separate plants.
 The netting cage is doing well.  It has kept most pests and bigger animals away from the plants and has stood high winds and torrential rain without detrement.
 The rows of root vegetables look crisp and clean so far.
 Fruits and leaf vegetables are also doing exceptionally well in this caged bed.
 The greenhouse is still a bit of a shambles, with a large anount of plants packed in.
Potatoes are in full leaf and tomatoes are growing, but they are not as tall as I would have expected after a spell of cool weather.
I have tried to grow courgettes from seed as I do every year, bit this year, 3 different packets of seed have failed to germinate, so no courgettes - unless I can get some at a garden nursery next week.

Friday, 5 June 2020

How many badgers are there?

We have had Urban foxes for years and there has been the odd night when a badger has visited.  With lockdown for CoViD 19, it seems that wildlife is on an upturn.
Our wildlife camera picked up lots of Badgers two nights ago, this is mum and dad keeping an eye on the three offspring.

Last night, the youngsters were out in the dusk, which is unusual for badgers.  The temperature had dropped overnight and the cooler conditions had probably left them hungry.

As long suspected, we are now able to confirm that the Foxes have 3 cubs.  Not a great camera angle, but all three are in the frame at once.

Rosie has treated me to a bat detector (as an early birthday present) which is going to give a better idea of the types of bats we have been seeing around the garden at night. Last night the cool weather conditions and rain were not conducive to bat sightings.
I picked up one lone bat passing overhead, but did not see it.  I also noticed that at specific frequencies, the detector would pick up a background buzz, which is probably from high flying insects.  Tomorrow night may be better!

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Tiger on FSX

 Just occasionally I stray back from X-Plane flight simulator to other platforms to see how they compare.  Flying a Tiger moth on FSX was fun.  Take of from Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire and fly a simple circuit.
 The aircraft is very stable in this simulator and in a slight breeze it is like flying in still air as we climb out.
Making the turn into the circuit.
 Flying over the aerodrome.
 Crosswind to final approach.
Landing on the grass field.  I still feel that FSX is missing a lot of the refinements of X-Plane.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Continuing Lockdown

 This week, our creaky old washing machine failed in a big way.  The outer drum was split near to the failing main bearing.  Off with the concrete block and out for the rag and bone, it was gone the next day.
 An on line order has delivered a brand new machine with all of the modern efficiencies (A++).  The service drains have been cleaned out and the new machine installed.  The wash cycles are generally longer than the old one, but at least the kitchen floor is dry.
 A supermarket home delivery or two has left us with ample plastic bags.  This is something we are no longer used to.  These ones have become planters for potatoes and this should increase our food yield this year. They will be recycled when they are finished with.
 The garden path has been sprouting weeds for quite some time.  The wet weather in the winter and early spring meant that we were unable to do anything with the path.  Now I am going through the gravel, weeding it and re-washing it to clean up the mess.
Most of the path has new been cleaned and there are just a few meters left to do.

Having so much time at home is is some ways a bonus.  These jobs do get sorted much quicker.
Stay Safe.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

New kids on the block

 We now have fox cubs on the garden.  These are the first cubs we have seen this year.
 The dog fox is keeping an eye on them to make sure they are safe.  We have only seen two cubs, but the vixen may well be elseware with others.
 Life is new and interesting when you encounted a food bowl for the first time.
 Shortly afterwards, the foxes quickly depart and the camera records the large grey female badger with two youngsters.
 The not so little badgers are also seen for the first time and they are scrapping over food just like the adults do.
There are 3 badger cubs here with the male.  The badgers seem to stay in a tight family group, unlike the foxes who split up and take some of the effort out of caring for their cubs in a large group.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Avatar Forest

Some time ago, I was asked to to generate a scenery for the Zhengjaijie National Forest Park near Wulingyuan.  The local airport was a Gateway airport - with US standard buildings, so I have updated the airport to a representation of its Chinese form.  This is my first flight on the simulator (X-Plane 11) from this new scenery model.

Using the Diamond Twin DA62 from my hangar, I started up and taxied out from Zhengjiajie Hehua Airport to fly North to the National Forest Park.
The Avatar Forest (as it is casually known) is to the right of the big cliff on the horizon, about centre screen.
First sighting shows the tops of the rock columns.
This is a massive scenery - spot the tiny aircraft over the rock columns.  This Karst limestone scenery has some columns which are vast.  The Beilong Elevator lifts tourists 1070 feet to the top of one structure, making it the largest outdoor lift in the world.
Passing over Wulingyuan in a north easterly direction I headed out to the Glass Bridge.
The bridge is off to the right along the river plain.
This structure is the Skywalk Bridge measuring a span of 1410 feet and having a ground elevation of 980 feet at its centre-span.  Tourists are walking on 2 inch thick, tripple layered glass panels with a clear view of the gorge below (the gorge is a no-fly zone).
Picking up the signal from the airport locator beacon, it is time to head back over the mountain ridges to land.
 This is the view on the simulator screen, which is a three screen wrap around showing the scenery across the forward and side views as I approach the airfield location. Confirm landing permission and switch on landing lights.
 Turning into the runway approach.
 Aligning with the runway and adjusting speed and angle of descent on the flight path.  Flaps and wheels down at this point.
 Final approach to touchdown.
Parked up and ready to put the kettle on for a cuppa.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Veg and Flour

Being under lockdown, there has been ample opportunity to tidy up the garden and develop good practive to protect our Summer Veg.
 The seedlings for a variety of crops are growing well in the guttering sections in the greenhouse at present.  Improving weather will mean that they will be planted in the cage soon.
 Over the two largest raised beds is the cage, to protect plants from pests and badgers.  I have also put a net box around my potatoes to stop the badgers and cats disturbing the shoots as they grow on.
 The strawberries of which I have 3 good rows, are flowering well.  There should be lots of fruit if all goes well.
Just by chance, we obtained a slot for a Tesco Delivery (First chance in two months) and I ordered some Strong White Flour for bread making.   No surprise when the order came minus the flour, which was unavailable.  However, Rosie managed to get some Strong Wholemeal Flour, so I thought a double sifting would give me the Strong White that I wanted.
 A 2mm seive was used to remove the course bran in the first sift.  Then I used a 0.75mm seive to remove the fine bran.

What I ended up with is a good amount of flour with some course bran on the left and some fine bran.  Oh Joy, now I can bake the bread I have a desire to eat.  The fine bran could be used to texture home made vegiburgers or sausages and the course bran will probably end up in the compost bin.
We are coping well with this lockdown in many respects.

The wildlife camera captured the grey badger lifting a large earthworm from the lawn overnight.  -Yum!