Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


Potato planting and a frogspawn update

I planted my birthday potatoes today.  The potato bag is a natty design with flaps (it reminds me of old-fashioned flap-bottomed pyjamas) so you can extract a few potatoes without digging up the whole plant.  Not sure it’s really all that useful (I’ve always dug several plants up at once anyway, as they keep) but fun anyway.

Potato bag

Flapped potato bag (flap at bottom left, velcroed shut)

The potatoes had already chitted (sprouted) themselves in the packaging. Nice strong shoots.


Chitting potatoes variety ‘Apache’ which are red and white in patches.

The frogs have been very busy all week, and the pond has masses of spawn. Last week’s spawn is already showing signs of developing heads and bodies – the newer batch is still small and spherical.


Week old spawn on the left, fresh spawn on the right

And these are just because they’re cute and pretty.

Goldfinch and Greenfinch

Goldfinch and male Greenfinch eating sunflower seeds

Long-tailed Tits

Long-tailed Tits



A frog he would a wooing go…

Well, the frogs were all at it this morning. They rather made me think of hippos.  I love the echoes of the reflected eyes and the frogspawn.


I couldn’t remember any more of the frog wooing song than the first line, but found a version here:

“With a roly poly gammon and spinach, hey ho says Anthony Rowley…”  Very strange words indeed. The wikipedia article about the ‘Frog Went A-Courting’ version of this song was intriguing, suggesting various possible origins, such as that it could be (or could have been altered to be) about an unpopular royal marriage. And/or that the roly-poly bit could be a list of “four families of Suffolk notables, Rowley, Poley, Bacon and Green”. I rather like the idea of gammon and spinach being derived from Bacon and Green.

A one-minute film of them is here. You can hear them croaking, and various birds (House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, Starling) and the church clock ringing ‘quarter past the hour’ in the background. Plus quite a few cars and an aeroplane.

I took this picture of a crocus, while looking for something to fit the them of ‘inside’ for this weekly photo challenge. What a strange stigma the flower has – saffron trumpets. Culinary saffron comes from another species of crocus. What a job to collect them it must be.

Purple crocus

Saffron stigma glowing in the spring sunshine



I went out and checked the pond for frogspawn this morning, as it was another sunny day.  I could see frogs moving about, but there was no spawn yet.

A couple of hours later, this had appeared – it’s still very dense, with the jelly not yet swollen up. I wonder whether the Pond Snail is having a jelly feast?  I put a little bit of spawn in a tank, so I can watch the tadpoles develop, and then return them to the pond later on.


Fresh-laid frogspawn