Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Early Light

...in the front garden, this morning.  (Although the sun had been up some hours!)  
So beautiful!  










 

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sunday Afternoon

The largest Fig tree I have ever seen is 300 years old, but in all the years I have been visiting Dunwich I was never  aware of it...

...until this afternoon.  

It's quite a sight.











No trip to Dunwich is complete, however, without going to the beach.   
(Beware the risks!)






Alexanders


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Escape to the Sea





A micro break, after work on a Wednesday evening, is a great way to relax and recharge the batteries!





Friday, 22 April 2011

A Natural Break

There is always so much to catch up with, in the holidays.  Never enough hours in the day!  Too much to do!  And near disbelief that time can vanish with such speed!

Trying to spread myself round the garden, I had begun quite a few gardening tasks over the last weeks, most of them requiring me to return and continue, or finish off.  Two such jobs were pruning and tidying climbing plants on the arch in the front garden and on the pergola in the back.  I didn't get very far with the arch but I had done a lot with the pergola plants, needing next to sort out the 'Queen of Denmark' (Rosa 'Königin von Dänemark') and do some bending and tying in of stems.  Each time I looked, I was struck by the urgency of the task!

Things have now changed, without my intervention.  First, I noticed that we had a Collared Dove sitting on a small collection of twigs atop the arch, fairly well hidden by the Honeysuckle stems that await my attention (a straggly Jasmine also waits):  



Next, and after making a lot of noise in the vicinity (it's just outside the back door), I became aware that Goldfinches were nesting in amongst the still tangled, overgrown stems on the pergola:




So, no more work in these places for a while.  It's enough that we have to walk past the nests each day and go about our daily business close by.  I know of another, abandoned, nest further down the back garden so I'm more than a little anxious about causing disturbance.

Meanwhile, apart from being prevented from tending my welcome plants, my unwelcome, invasive thugs are getting the upper hand: Ground Elder and Soapwort have respite from the scourge and the pulling.  At least, in one spot they have.  I've plenty more to deal with, elsewhere! 

So, what do I learn from missing the boat, as I so often do with deadlines in the garden?  Like last year, when we had to stop putting the logs away, because a pair of Blackbirds were nesting on the half-built stack in the woodshed.  I always have good intentions, even plans of what to do when, before this or that event is bound to occur.  But I frequently fail to achieve even moderate success!

I could conclude that the garden is too big, or that I am too fussy - and more besides - but I think that I should properly accept that things often do not go according to plan, that life is likely to surprise, and that living in the moment is not only wise but sometimes all I should aim for.

I can, at least, currently claim an excuse for my inefficiency, stop fretting quite so much, relax a bit, enjoy what's left of my holiday and take delight in the wildlife that chooses to visit and stay in my garden!
 

Friday, 18 March 2011

First Blossom

I came out of work, this afternoon, and there was blossom draped over the postbox.  It was a surprise!  I didn't realise there was any blossom actually in flower, in my neck of the woods.  Yes, I've seen yellow Forsythia and various Viburnums but I don't count that as Blossom!  I've also noticed the tight, white-ish buds on the Wild Plum in my garden, (which will be blossom) but I hadn't seen anything fully out.   And I don't go around with my eyes closed.  But there it was, so I stopped and took pictures.  I can never resist taking photographs of blossom, always in macro mode!  I think this is Blackthorn - I did find a couple of thorns on one of the branches.  






Sunday, 13 March 2011

I Love Mr P.

There have been Peafowl in our village for some years but they weren't always here.  I presume that, originally, someone brought them in as pets; I don't know if the present ones belong to anybody.  There have been requests for the owners to declare themselves!  The birds were not welcome; their shrieking kept people awake, or woke them up too early, and they were committing one or two other misdeeds.  

I suspect that some of the offending creatures were dispatched elsewhere.  I don't know for sure but I think that was the plan.  Apparently, Peafowl are not easy creatures to catch, hence the village is not entirely free of them.  This pleases me!  I have always been fond of them!  Their eerie caterwauling makes me smile and does not disturb my rest.  'Our' Mr P., who I have mentioned before in another post, is currently visiting regularly to share the bird food and display his sumptuous plumage in the front garden, in full view of the windows.  He has taken to perching on the old rabbit run, as in previous years, preening and calling between whiles.  His rabbit audience is no longer there, if he was ever truly aware of it, but he has fans in the house!





William Sitwell, who clearly does not share my viewpoint, has written at some length about the traits of these birds, here.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Gotcha!

We have two Goldfinch visitors that come quite regularly to the nyger seed feeder and stay a good while each time.  Thus it was not difficult to get some photos and video today.  My ambition now is to capture them both on the feeder at the same time.  I didn't use a tripod, or edit the video; neither did I enhance the stills.  Keeping the camera steady can be tricky - the image stabilisation feature helps!






You may note the breezy weather.  You may also note the amount of nyger seed that gets wasted, although I have watched other birds clearing it up.  I should like to get a more expensive nyger seed feeder, complete with tray to catch the bits that would otherwise fall to the ground, but I think such a one would not work in this situation: a thorny, clipped hawthorn conveniently positioned outside the window.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Here's one I made earlier...

...almost 2 years ago, in fact.

I had been in the garden - out the back - and came indoors to be told that I had just missed a mighty kerfuffle in the front garden, when a Sparrowhawk turned up.  It had caught a Blackbird and was currently devouring it in the hedge bottom, just outside the window.  I grabbed a camera and took some stills but then, as I realised the bird would be there for some time, it dawned on me to try and get some video, albeit through the glass.  It turned out reasonably well and I'm pleased that I have a lasting record of the event.  I don't often see Sparrowhawks in the garden and the only other casualty I can remember is a bird (I seem to recall it was a Starling) that was attacked and then left behind by the predator.

I did not know if the Sparrowhawk in my film was male or female; I was initially advised that it was male and later (in the You Tube comment) informed that it is female.



Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Monday, 21 February 2011

Burning the Brambles

It’s good to keep in tune with what’s going on – or not – in the garden so, despite the bitter cold this afternoon, I ventured out and started pottering.

Then, having topped up the bird food and put out fresh water, I made for...

The Kitchen Garden   
(it's grand name).


 Mr Ragbag was attacking the brambles, here, yesterday - that is, 
"...just defeating their bid for world domination..."

    
So I thought a bonfire was in order.

    I went to the shed (my shed) to fetch fire-lighting materials.

    
My shed is a bit too small.  Fortunately, they were just inside the door.

    I laid the fire,


    cut the brambles to size, suitably clad,


    and lit the fire – with about 8 matches, I guess (I didn’t count).

 
It was a successful fire, I’m pleased to report

   
but it needed some dry stuff to boost the flames; 
so I fetched some of last year’s brittle, nettle stems from  the untamed bit – easily snapped off


    - and discovered some fungus growing on a hazel stump.  



    
Fungus is great – so long as it’s not Honey Fungus.  Panic!  Is it Honey Fungus?   
I wouldn’t be surprised, but I really hope not!

I also found a suspicious-looking hole – only medium-sized.   
(Well, I already knew it was there, really!  But I didn't know about the fungus.)   
Might need to make the usual, annual appointment with Pest Control…


Then, inspired by the good, hot bonfire, 


I remembered the strawberry bed, and the leaves still to pick and burn 
(from the summer tidy that didn’t happen).
 

I didn’t have time to remove all the manky ones but I made a start and it was satisfying work.   

I also didn't have time to put this lot 


 on the habitat pile


but I found two ladybirds - finding ladybirds always pleases me, unless they are Harlequins 
- and this skeleton.





Here is  
The Kitchen Garden in Better Times
(the almost finished bit)





 





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