Apple Harvest, Wildlife & Raspberry Pi

A mix of news in this post, some interesting and some not so interesting.

Starting with the interesting. We’ve had (what seems like) an increase in the number of Red Admiral butterflies this year and, looking around the web, it seems this is a by-product of global warming (see its not all bad). Red Admiral butterflies migrate south in the autumn and winter to their overwintering grounds in Europe and North Africa and then breed up the country reaching the most northerly part of their range in August. However, with the UK’s warmer weather, it seems they don’t need to migrate as far south as historically and they are overwintering in the UK, particularly in the south.

Here’s a photo of one I rescued from our water collection bucket.

Red Admiral

Now for the not so interesting news. This photograph shows our total apple harvest for 2023. A total of three kilograms of cookers. Our eaters had some pollination difficulty with the blossom coming out during a cold snap when there weren’t many insects about. Despite that, at the start of the year we probably had around two thirds of what I would normally expect. The cookers, which blossom a week or so later, were better and I had to thin them out after the June Drop. Then we substantially lost the battle against the grey squirrels and the magpies. I blame one grey squirrel in particular (although I can’t claim to be able to tell the difference between grey squirrels) who has regularly jumped into the apple tree and taken an apple up the oak tree, peeled it carefully (I assume eating the peel) and then dropped the juicy bit onto the ground for the birds and other animals to eat. He’s done this with around four apples every day (and those are only what we’ve seen) taking the final apple off the eater yesterday. He’s left the cooking apple tree largely alone but the magpies have been doing the equivalent, pecking their way into the apples which then go brown and rot off, even though they aren’t ripe. Yesterday I decided enough was enough and picked them.

3kg cooking apples

On a slightly more positive note, I have resurrected my Raspberry Pi temperature sensors and at least one set (of three) seem to be working, collecting temperatures every five minutes. The other set I still haven’t got to work yet although (I think) I’ve got to the point where I know what’s wrong (soldering the pull-up resistor). Everything works fine and I can see all of my aspberry Pis through the network and can upload/download files from my Apple Mac.

Finally, the harvest is still going with Courgettes, Tomatoes, Peppers, carrots, french beans, runner beans, raspberries and the last of the strawberries adding to our diet. We’ve had enough runner beans this year (many more than 2022) for me to have made a second batch of Runner Bean Relish, a Tomato & Courgette Risotto and some Tomato & Courgette Soup as well as putting chopped tomatoes into the freezer. Most of the tomatoes are harvesting although I’m still waiting for the Black Icicle which seem to be the latest to ripen this year.

Runner Bean Relish – excellent with cheese