Monday, 19 October 2009

Fleeting Gimpse

After a damp and dull start to the week, suddenly this glimpse of sunlight showing up Fellbarrow and the heather, with Grasmoor brooding in the background.

The sun was gone within 5 minutes.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Monday visitors

Fortunately no more stories of nearby greys

The boys are growing up fast

But Mum keeps a watchful eye on them

Not Waving But Drowning

This is not a good look for a self-confessed obsessive compulsive neat freak:

nor is this:

especially when accompanied by a strained quadratus lumborum which hurt so much over the weekend it was a serious contender for being a cracked rib.

Then there are 400+ unsorted JPGs which must either be deleted or dealt with.
And the loft which is not yet cleared
And . . . and the other things which are too many to list!

The world will not end if I don't update my diary for a while, I must focus on what really needs to be accomplished . . .

Thursday, 8 October 2009


I've never had a problem with the majority of folk believing or suspecting that I am mad, it can make life simpler if most people think you are completely barking. Whilst I might not mind being considered strange, I've not always agreed with the majority view, however, I am now prepared to concede that you might all have a point. Why would any sane person willingly subject themselves to this?

Another 20 bags today plus a plastic tub filled with detritus from previous workmen. This was an electrician's rubbish dump found under a sheet of old rockwool. There are no photos of the rodent corpse or prolific droppings.

There will be no gardening for the foreseeable future. The skip arrives tomorrow morning, also expected are a large quantity of bags for the heavy duty vacuum, extra long poles for the vac so I can reach into the eaves, replacement filters for my face mask, and new protective glasses - Management insisted and as he was doing all the online ordering, I saw no reason to argue.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


The seasons turn and small events become annual markers.

It doesn't take long for a tractor with flail to turn this:

into this:

Later than last year (mid September) which pleases me - the hedge at the front of our garden is full of a busy family of wrens and I suspect they also fossick around in this hawthorn.

Am also pleased to have captured one little mouse in the garden who has been relocated and won't be coming back and no more in the house since our previous visitation.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

At war

The problem with all this organic wildlife lark is that everything thrives, bluddy everything - whether you want it to or not. After moving more than a dozen mice earlier this year we've had a nice long respite from furry little intruders but now it is getting colder outside the little sods have decided to come back in. I know this because a pesky little rodent was stupid enough to try and see if a quilted placemat was edible.

Sometime between Saturday night and Monday evening, a mouse climbed up the back of the rattan unit that's in the gap where the old fridge was removed. Our supper trays (with quilted placemats) live on the top of this unit.

This is WAR. No-one and nothing eats my quilts and gets away with it. If Ollie can live with my quilts for over 13 years and never even nibble a single corner I'm damned if I am accepting it from a smelly little rodent.

Management suggests we "bite the bullet" and bring forward plans to have work done in the kitchen which involves changing all the work surfaces. This would enable us to get behind the kitchen units and seal the huge gaps between the bottom of the wall plaster and the floor. Sigh. Got to be done though - now "all" I have to do is find a decent joiner, our last one has disappeared without trace and the best plasterer we know broke his leg on Saturday night!

Interesting aside (well, interesting to me!). Had a look at the blog for this time last year and see that I had exactly the same problem with a mouse wandering into the utility room in mid-October.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A typical Sunday, but I'm not complaining

First there was the horrid bit:

Moved 45 bags of filthy rubbish from the loft to the driveway. Skip due shortly. I estimate this is a tad under half of the muck that is to be removed.

Am not at all happy with this but have no idea what the alternative is - in a normal week we home compost everything we can and our local council recycle surplus paper, cardboard, cans, bottles (glass & plastic) and whatever green waste I cannot fit onto the compost heap, therefore Management and I produce less than the equivalent of a black bag of landfill rubbish. The old insulation will, therefore, equate to about two years worth of our rubbish.

Moving swiftly on - "Can you tell what it is yet?"

Management finished painting these structures whilst I split lots of logs and made kindling.

The nearest frame still has to have its legs set in concrete and a "skirt" welded on to bridge the gap between the frame and the soil.

Is it really October? This was our view at 4.00 when we sat with a much needed cuppa when the tools were packed away and we'd both had enough.

and now - a cold beer and a hot bath.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Autumnwatch, without turning on the TV

This feeder was full at 8.00am.

A small, red, gorgeous native has been busy emptying it all morning, despite high winds and occasional rain.

Our pheasant family are now daily visitors, it is wonderful to watch how quickly this young male's plumage is developing. Today we have been visited by all 5 - mum, 2 girls and 2 boys. I'm putting out mixed corn, sold as chicken food by the local feed merchant, very inexpensive and definitely acceptable to these pretty birds.

Another nut thief - this time going after the bird peanuts.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Very good news and very bad news

The very good news is that we have two new Red Squirrel regularly feeding in the garden. They are this years young (have not got ear tufts therefore are not old enough to have developed a winter coat) and they're busy taking hazelnuts and burying them everywhere except where I want them! Easy to tell them apart, one has a much darker tail than the other.

The very bad news is that we have an unconfirmed report of Grey Squirrel less than 1 mile from the house. A neighbour has told me that someone has told him (hence the UNCONFIRMED) a grey was recently seen in a disused quarry. This is dreadful - the quarry is only half a dozen fields from Bag End and there are enough trees to act as a corridor all the way to our land and the adjacent churchyard. I think some of "our" Reds have dreys in the quarry and if the Grey Squirrel has found its way to this location then Squirrel Pox and a potentially dreadful death for our beautiful native animal is only months away. I have a web link for live traps bookmarked and ready to order should the reports become confirmed. One of our neighbours is a gamekeeper and I know he will kill any Greys caught if I find I cannot do the deed myself.

Thursday, 1 October 2009


What a wonderful start to the month. The postie delivered a sturdy little box containing all this bounty (there were also home-made cookies but they got scoffed in double-quick time, and damn delicious they were too).

I have Hazel to thank for this bountiful gift, although she has more faith in my organisational abilities than I do if she thinks I'll get ALL of these seeds planted and grown next year, she even included planting notes - what a star. I'm thrilled to get a taste of Nic's Marrow Cream because I adore Lemon Curd. Some of Hazels' courgette seeds are already mentally earmarked to become marrows so that I can make my own Zucchini Zinger! Thank you so much Hazel, you are a very good friend.

As there is unlikely to be much gardening in my immediate future, I can spend the morning imagining fantastic veggies whilst I go back into the loft for another disgusting session of this:

a much more exciting job than building a garden {not} - donning paper suit, goggles, breathing mask and thick gloves. The old insulation is flattened, filthy and has remains of earlier mouse infestations . . . and you don't want to know about the pile of feathers which were probably a blue tit or similar. Absolutely nothing left (that I have found so far) except feathers . . . . I did not enjoy the two hours I managed yesterday (and our roof has a very low pitch and I cannot stand up properly in there) and I am putting off going back up there today.