Third Generation Blue Tits
There is a new generation of birds flitting around the garden, and it proves a point I once read in a magazine on birds. When winters are inclement, birds tend to produce more than one brood. Usually two but a friend in Sligo who has a keen eye for bird life tells me sometimes a third brood is not unusual. Well, we have had two generations of Robin this summer and three of blue tits; the last crew are still in moult and are tiny.
By comparison to the spring brood, the Early Autumn gang are just that, gangsterish. One little chap has earned the name Al Capbeak for the attacks he makes on any other visitor to his particular peanut feeder. Fat balls are a big issue with him. These days his stressed and worn out parents put beak under wing and you can almost hear an avian “Oh dear, why did I lay that third clutch of eggs?
Today the temperature is allegedly warmer than it is in France; balmy with a marvellous breeze fluttering the leaves of the sycamore tree. Wasps gather on the sycamore leaves to indulge in a sugar binge; they then fly tipsily across the garden and [gleeful smirk here] some become ensnared in the huge webs along the dry stone walls.
I hate wasps. Hate with a capital H. Their sting knocks me out cold. I carry the needful with me everywhere to cope with their viciousness. I read, recently, in Michael Viney’s column in the Saturday Irish Times that wasps are in short supply this year. Oh dear! Yipee! Hooray!, Yahoo! Yippee Kiyay! Aw gee shucks! I am soooooo worried, not! Not really. As John Wayne might have said, “The only good wasp is a dead wasp”. It’s the bees that worry me.
I have been busy putting out bee nests for them; Ladybirds are plentiful this year and they are being accommodated as well. I was a wonderful summer with the garden filled with lacewings, dragonflies, of every hue, demoiselles, and grass hoppers chirping of an evening. Warm summer evenings spent sitting out until dark watching the Pipistrelle bats fly and on one memorable Saturday night in early August, at Midnight, the lonely cry of the Curlew broke the night’s stillness.What my parents termed “Hunter’s Moon” is lighting up the garden these nights; its light makes a stroll in the garden before bed enchanting. Foxes dance in its light in the garden by the Spirea, and our hedgehog trundles out across the lawn, intent upon his own business.
OH and I spent Thursday dismantling an old shed which was leaning at an angle of 85 degrees. A former calving shed built by my Grandfather, it was my Uncles pigeon shed in his teen years, and my Father re-vamped it into a luxury dog house, complete with a mattress off an old divan bed, old blankets and insulated it with layers of cardboard. There were winter nights in my childhood when Jeff the collies bed was warmer than mine. Jeff passed away to the great bone pile in the sky in ’72 and the shed became a junk hold. Ivy covered it until everyone forgot there was a shed there, except me, and on Thursday it gave up its treasures.
One well rusted BSA bike circa 1960 which still had fully functioning brakes,
the owner passed away two years ago having forgotten about it.
8 boxes of jam jars
A box of brown and cream cups
Fourteen million spiders webs, two robins nests and four doors housing
an entire continent of woodworm.
Also, in the midst all of this, we found my old cot. Already twenty years old when I was born, it still retained its blue paint and a painted pig with Victorian jacket and hat and handkerchief tied to a stick over his shoulder. Sound as could be and not more than forty wood worm holes. OH treated them and my old play pen with something to deal with the wood worm and they now have a new home up on the walls of the old cow house.
Come the spring and a new glass house will stand there. Beside it, hopefully, will be a new flower bed with Foxgloves, Monkshood, Poppies, Lupins, Michaelmas daisies, Crocosmia and Dahlias. On the bank above it I hope to have masses of assorted daffodils, waving in the breeze that permanently enfolds our garden.