About Me

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Typical Piscean, dreamer, story teller in the tradition of my country, I love to write. I'm not sure that I'm any good at it, but getting the words down has its reward.

23 September 2013

Third generation Blue Tits

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.

19 September 2013

Have to say, it’s nice to be back!

It has been, to my amazement, nearly two years since I last blogged; well, in truth I did blog earlier this year, but my old computer, being of a fractious nature, refused to load the blogs.

For the first time in a very long time, this has been a summer of content.  All building work is finished, the garden looks like a garden. We even have a couple of ponds around the place.  To my husband’s delight the wan looking pond lily he received as a present two years ago has flourished.  We produced a family of frogs.  Not actually in the ponds, but in an old trough that had been cast aside and had filled with rain water and algae all on its own.  There is no accounting for frog tastes!

The heat wave brought mixed blessings, needless to remark.  On the one hand, flower seeds that had lain dormant because of the cold summers and bitter winters, suddenly discovered life.  It was interesting to discover plants that had shrivelled into themselves suddenly bursting with vibrant life.  The latest find is the Michaelmas daisy I planted that first summer of ’08.  A friend recently told me that I sound like something from the early part of the 20th century with my “…back in ’08, and then again in ‘11”. Apparently, all I have to do is start with “I remember” and I have gained my free pass to Downton days.  Well, with 60 on next year’s horizon, I’ll allow myself that trip. The downside was the fear of gorse fires.  One raged on a nearby hill for nearly a month.  Reigniting itself because the grass underneath was tinder dry and winds whipped up a flame.

In five years we have lost our Greenfinches to that virus; gained a semi-tame fox who sits waiting patiently on the rocks above the ponds, secure in the knowledge that, despite his cataract, he will smell his way down to the food YD leaves out for him.  My neighbour, who keeps six hens, has lost four of them recently.  I was subjected to an angry tirade on the malpractice [sic] of feeding “…those dam vermin…” until he realised that the culprit was a very sleek and crafty eyed chap living under a thicket of gorse on his own land!

While out in the garden I have learned to tell the time by the arrival of the Long Tailed Tits at one of YD’s numerous feeding stations.  Seven a.m., eleven a.m., four p.m., and seven p.m., each day.  As the summer progresses the times change and by October four o’clock in the afternoon heralds the last arrival.

Mme. Pounce is now nine; geriatric? Don’t believe it.  She hobbles around the house mewing piteously to be let in.  Upon spotting a potential bird kill she sprints across the lawn with a speed that would allow her membership of the cheetah family. This year’s collection of baby rats down behind the cow house were exterminated with calm, lethal efficiency.  Mrs Rat did her best to replenish the stock, but fell victim to our Pounce.  She’s working on field mice and voles at the moment.  I hear a certain well-known brand of cat food is suffering from financial loss due to Madam’s self-harvested diet.

The battle for Fort Squirrel, The Pines, has been lost by our reds.  The grey has taken over.  A cute little chap has discovered a peanut holder on the cherry tree that he can raid with ease.  I miss the dainty red who used to call each September to November on a daily basis.  Mr Flashtail, although a handsome member of the grey breed, has the manners of a slob when grabbing peanuts from the holder.  Dainty is not a word in his vocabulary.

The autumn colours are early this year.  The garden is looking splendid, and as I look out the window in the room I earmarked as a study five years ago, there is a mellow harmony among the colours.  The study is almost there, a new floor will be laid in spring, and a log burning stove will be installed to keep the perma frost out of this room.  Beyond that, it is cosy, inviting with a healthy fire crackling in the fireplace and that’s in a July heat wave.

Gee! But it’s great to be back blogging!