BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘seasons’

#365daysofbiking A good crop

August 17th – With my fascination with galls, it’s easy to overlook the fruiting of the oaks as it should be, and I’m happy to report this year that the crop of acorns – even though it’s been hit very heavily by knopper gall wasps – is plump and profuse.

The heathy acorns I’ll later gather to spread in hedgerows and on edge lands as is my tradition look better this year than they have for years. I guess a warm but wet season was good for them, if not so much for me.

I always have a dilemma here though: I can collect acorns solely from trees unaffected by knoppers, and assume they have so resistance, but in spreading solely those am I harming the wasp ecology? I suppose I should just spread any acorns I find, but it’s an interesting conundrum…

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#365daysofbiking Fancy an Indian?

August 14th – The awful summer continues, with heavy rain for most of the day. Returning from work soaking and miserable, I rode up a deserted Brownhills High Street.

I have no idea what we did to deserve this summer – it’s been grim. Yes, we’ve had good days, but I’ve not been able to get out for a long ride for weeks.

Let’s hope we get an Indian summer to at least compensate a little.

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#365daysofbiking The golden hour

August 2nd – This week has been all about seasonal markers, and this evening as I left Shenstone for Stonnall and home, the harvest was well underway.

The fashion for huge, cylindrical baling seems to have ceased and we seem to be back to the more space efficient (and stable!) rectangular ones.

As ever, the machinery, synchronicity between drivers and sheer power of the operation is breathtakingly impressive, and a reminder that the countryside is still a huge, open air factory floor dedicated to our sustenance.

Always impressive to watch.

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#365daysofbiking From tiny acorns grow

 

August 1st – The various varieties of wasp gall that form on oak trees are necessarily seasonal. Rosy, marble and apple galls form from wasp eggs injected into leaf notes, so grown from them in spring and early summer, and by now are largely vacated and spent.

Knopper and artichoke galls form from eggs laid in acorn buds, corrupting the fruit into a gall from the crop, so don’t start appearing until late summer. Right now they’re developing well, forming a protective, curiously shaped home for the wasp larva to hatch in and develop.

Galls are fascinating things for sure, and are markers of the passing year.

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#365daysofbiking The secret of pie

 


July 31st – A drier day, at least. After the deluge of the previous day, it was good to feel the landscape slowly drying in the morning sun.

The lousy summer has at least been good for the fruits: All along the waysides from Brownhills to Darlaston, fruit ids swelling and ripening, from apples to blackberries.

Autumn will soon be upon us – how quickly this season and year have passed.

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#365daysofbiking Going for gold

July 20th – A day of maintenance, work interruptions and grim weather. I spun out mid afternoon into the wind for a run over to Burntwood on an errand.

As summer advances, the greens of the hedgerows and woodlands are darker and more weary, and the fields are now turning gold for harvest.

How quickly this year is passing. But the summer is still beautiful.

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#365daysofbiking Flown

July 8th – The galls that formed on the oak trees in spring that looked like rosy apples have now served their purpose and are dead, their bodies spongy and containing many holes where the wasps that grew from larvae within ate their way out to freedom and maturity.

Galls fascinate me: Corruptions of the tree’s buds by a parasitic, tiny wasp, they grow as host to the wasp’s offspring and take many forms.

These expired galls signal the passing of the season and soon we’ll start seeing knapper and artichoke galls which form on acorn buts, but have the same genesis.

Parasites are fascinating.

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#365daysofbiking Into the blue

June 30th –  A rest day, a day for bike maintenance and feeling a little bit down after the exertions of the previous days. The weather was less warm and it felt a bit like that had been summer.

I slipped out in the afternoon for a gentle spin and cruised a loop of Brownhills on a test ride. I felt OK, fluid, and not stiff, but I was already yearning to be out again – but the wind was quite strong and I really wasn’t into it. I ran some errands and caught up with things.

The landscape at Home farm was beautiful in its high summer jacket, and on the positive side, it does look now like summer has started.

As my ride reminded me, perhaps this was the start, not the end.

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