November began with a gorgeous brief sunny morning, before clouds, rain, and named storm Claudio battered us on November 2nd.
This theme continued for the next 10 days, with much rain every day, often strong winds, but staying really mild. No hints still of any frosts on the forecast. All the wet weather of the last several leaves made the inevitable task of clearing away soggy perennial foliage less enjoyable than usual( ?)
And as mid-November approached the challenge to photograph much of interest, other than occasionally more moody grey skies in fleeting dry intervals, increased.
However, all this autumnal rain is working wonders with helping spring bulbs to send out their new season’s roots, and the annual snowdrop lift and potting session has begun.
A tup (ram lamb) for our ewes arrived on the 7th, and this was beaten by the first large starling flocks, this year heading due North up the valley at dusk, on November 5th.
The same evening, but an hour later, around 5.15 p.m., I stood, waited, and thrilled as this year’s first woodcock was spotted (just a few days before the “woodcock” full moon of November) flying up over the gateway to the South of our upper hay meadow.
Not so seasonal a marker was disturbing a honey bee from my pee can. I’ve never had them using it so late in the season before, a reflection of just how consistently mild it’s been.
The weather stayed largely grey, wet and extremely mild until a glorious sunny morning on the 13th, which allowed the remaining Acers and other leaf colour to shine.
We finally had a light air frost on November 19th, but the theme for much of the month remained one of rain on most days, saturated ground, generally mild and with sufficient fleeting breaks in the clouds for light to often be lovel y. By the last week, much leaf colour had been blown off the trees, and interest remained on the ground only, as the hint of the first colour from a very few Cyclamen coum flowers, which finally appeared.
Given the unprecedented current rise in energy costs, consequent to the ongoing war in Ukraine and inflationary pressures from the global pandemic’s profligacy by most governments, the milder temperatures were most welcome. As is having one’s own store of seasoned firewood – we recently learned that even sustainably produced wood pellets for our biomass boiler have now increased by around 40%, since our last delivery..
The earthtongue mushrooms appeared as usual in many areas of the mossy croquet lawn, and after the recent wet weather a very necessary top dressing of the steep section of our access track was needed. It’s surprising how quickly 2 scoops of scalpings were soon used up on around 30 metres.
The month ended with a few more lovely sunrises and cloudscapes, and at last another dry day, but the rainfall total of 294.5 and PV inverter reading of just 84.12 kWh confirm what a wet, mild and gloomy month it was.
The Met Office summary confirms that mean Welsh temperatures for November at a whopping 1.5 degrees C above the 30-year average, at 8.5 degrees C. The upside of this was we still had gorgeous leaf colour on a few Acers, and indeed the ground, moving into December, which hardly ever happens here.