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cycling Plymouth

river Plym

We’ve been exploring cycle routes in the area, and explored some in Plymouth. We have in the past cycled up onto the moors from Plymouth, but for the first time cycled the route the other way, towards the coast.
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As well as the busy road side of the river, there are calmer tracks through the Saltram estate

Following the same route (27) towards the coast, the path takes some minor roads, before becoming vehicle free again
St Christopher Plaque Breakwater Road Plymouth
We got some lovely views of the coast, Mount Batten point, Drakes Island and the Hoe, as well as various dockyards and large boats moored alongside.
Mount Batten point
We cycled to the Barbican and we picked up some fish and chips, bunged them in the paniers and cycled back to a great view point for lunch in view of the Mayflower steps
Plymouth sound
We could have carried on much further along the Hoe, and ferries take bikes to other points across the sound. So now we have lots of good cycling to explore.

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crown prince

crown prince

We do like squash in this family, and my favourite is crown prince, because it is sweet, creamy and tasty, easy to grow, but also because it stores so well.

We harvested our squashes at the beginning of October and stored them carefully in a cool dry out-building, on pallets for good ventilation. They all stored well, and we checked them regularly as it is just too disappointing to have your hard earned crop go ‘blop’ and make a mess of the shed! They do become tastier and sweeter if stored, and we have been slowly working our way through the crop.

The crown prince have kept well until now nearly six months later, which is pretty good going. Now the weather is getting warmer they are beginning to deteriorate, and so it is time to chop up the last half dozen. And this is the final good thing about this squash, is it freezes well. Handy that is hung on until there was space in the freezers!
We blanch and freeze it in chunks, and from there can be made into soup. added to curries and tagines or roasted.

I’m always trying new varieties, we like the pumpkins for their halloween qualities, and the sweet lightening are delicious roasted whole, but I shall always grow crown prince.

Bath day

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Our son’s enthusiasm for all things Roman is undiminished.
minerva,  Bath
We had a lovely day looking at the Roman baths yet again,
Bath
and walking around in the sunshine,
Pultney bridge Bath

first chicks of 2015

16chicks
Well that confirms it, with the arrival of chicks, spring is here. Sixteen hatched easily and quickly – which is the way we like it.  And this is good news for Eddie our Rhodie cockerel, as it confirms his position within the flock.  We set 24 eggs, 6 were blank – a fairly high ratio but he is outnumbered by a fairly large number of hens.

I realise we could improve fertility rates by putting him with just 2 or 3 girls, but I’m not keen – a hen can be fairly battered and sometimes injured by being the centre of a cockerel’s attention, and by running him with his usual harem; birds I have put with him on purpose to breed from, the flock is settled, and there is no time wasted waiting for everyone to re-establish the pecking order.  It’s easier and we accept the loss of some blank eggs in the hatch.

Interestingly, fertility rates are also affected by other factors, such as diet, stress, age of the parent birds, and time of year.  You can spend a lot of time worrying about it, or you can be like me and go ‘oh a broody hen! let’s hatch some eggs!’
chicks

I like to get a hatch on fairly early, just to ensure we get the birds I want to breed this year.  We gambled that we would have a broody to raise them before the twenty one days were up – but no broody – so I shall have to hand rear them.  The plus side of this is I get chick-cuddles.

frogspawn 2015

frogspawn
Spring has sprung.  Well according to at least one frog anyway.  I’ve been watching and listening to all the frog croaking in the pond and they (rashly in my opinion) now deem it warm enough to start the next generation.

So I can now add to my frogspawn sighting records for this pond:
2007 14/2
2008 8/2
2009 13/3
2010 21/3
2011 26/2
2012 25/2
2013 9/3
2014 18/2
2015 20/2

Which I guess shows there is a lot of variance, but they seem to be about on time this year. I’m not sure this first lot of frogspawn will make it – there are cold nights ahead.. but from the sounds coming from the pond, there will be more

venford

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An easy walk today round Venford reservoir,
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I’m working back to fitness after the lurg knocked all plans aside. Nothing inspires so much as a clear sunny day,
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and mild weather after so much cold, though there were still caches of snow here and there
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it was beautiful up on the moors today.

jennycliff

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Beautiful day, with the long shadows of January, so we headed out to walk a little of the coast path.

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The views from Jennycliff are lovely, across Plymouth Sound, taking in Drakes Island, the Hoe, the Breakwater and in the far distance the Eddystone lighthouse
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We walked round to Mount Batten point, and watched the boats making their way out for the day
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