february flowering

The gentleness of the early winter has ebbed away, leaving these brave flowers in its wake,  as weather with sharper teeth accompanies the first week of February.

There was a dusting of snow here over the weekend, although it is the ice that seems to be lingering longer. I examined the pond this morning and although there is some thawing happening, a thick cap of ice remains in place. It is too thick to melt with pans of hot water and  seems to have claimed the lives of a couple of hibernating frogs. This is something that happens in this pond every year we have a prolonged period of freezing and the deaths  are known as winterkill.  In a small pond like mine it is nigh on impossible to keep it clear of ice, especially with temperatures of  minus 9 expected tonight. The ice cap prevents the escape of noxious gases from decomposing vegetation etc and these effectively suffocate the frogs.

I just have to hope for the best and accept that frogs have been coping with freezing winter temperatures for millennia and some casualties are bound to happen. When the weather warms up as Spring advances, hopefully there will be enough survivors to spawn again. I cross my fingers and toes.

it’s a bee-autiful day

Blue sky, sunshine, a flush of spring flowers, and a Queen bee. A poor shot on the scruffiest primula she could find, (a blue one, naturally. How they love blue flowers) but the first sighting of a Bombus terrestris -Buff tailed bee-this year. Crazily, there were 2 other species on the wing although moving too swiftly for identification, and a butterfly-ditto, but almost certainly an overwintering adult out of hibernation for the day. They might all go back into shelter again if next week’s weather forecast of overnight frost and rain turns out to be accurate. But today- a little glimpse of what is to come. And I have cut back the raspberries and cleared out the pond, spotting 5 frogs as I re-potted the lilies and iris.  All is good. Happy weekend.