July Update… Wildlife & Garden
First of all I must apologise for my lack of site activity and tell you that I have missed you all… July has been such a busy and fantastic month that finding time to just sit and think has been difficult.
We have been lucky enough to have had, the most fantastic weather and we have spent as much time as we can in our own little heaven, I hope like myself that you have all been able to make the most of it and you have all had a fab time.
So what have we been up to over the last month… well its been a bit of an odd time for creatures and the like, rescuing and drying out the bat in the sink is one that you may already be familiar with, but besides this we have had a close shave with a flock of sheep in the middle of the road at midnight whilst driving down to the house.
We were fortunate enough not to collide with them as they were in the bend of a very dark and very winding lane. With approx 40 sheep in the middle of the road we were scratching our heads and wondering what to do to prevent any danger when luckily the farmer who owned the sheep arrived from the opposite direction and they were quickly herded through a gap in the fence into a field.
The following evening I went for a walk down the lane at dusk, and just caught a glimpse of a badger disappearing under the hedgerow. We have suspected that we have badgers in the area as there are several large deep holes at the edge of the garden, but this was my first encounter with these beautiful creatures and despite me only seeing its rather fuzzy looking bum disappearing into the undergrowth I was chuffed to bits to see it.
The following morning I woke to the sound of loud shouting outside. The OH was not there so I got out of bed and got dressed as quickly as I could and went outside to see what all the commotion was about and found the OH in the middle of the lane with a branch in his hand trying to herd 15 rather large cows… apparently the dairy herd from one of the other local farms had escaped and decided to go for a nice long morning walk, my OH had got up early and was in the garden when he was asked by the farmer to help stop them from taking detours into the other side lanes on route whilst they tried to herd them back to the farm.
We have had the most beautiful display of butterflies and moths in the garden, they have been giving the most wonderful airborne displays and it has been lovely watching them dance and flit around from plant to plant, many are familiar beauties but there have also been quite a few I have not seen before, unfortunately I am not quick enough to get a good shot of them, but I will keep trying and will try and look up what they are on-line.
We have a resident hedgehog in the Midlands garden who we have nicknamed Terri, he or she has become a little over curious and quite likes my OH’s feet, on more than one occasion it has stuck its snout up his trouser leg, I find this quite hilarious… it must be his socks!!
I have invested in four more good quality peanut feeders but the various tits seem to be fighting for ownership of each feeder despite them being in different places and each of them being large enough for multiple birds to feed from. We now have over 20 various seed, nut and fat ball feeders dotted around the garden as well as 2 tables and I’m just not sure how many more feeders I can supply as filling them all up takes ages and costs a small fortune, so they may have to continue their territorial squabbles for now.
We now have 2 rather fat squirrels that sit on the grass below the bird feeding trays waiting for the sparrows that come down in hoards and start throwing out the seed they are not so keen on in their search for the best bounty. The squirrels just wait patiently for their free lunch… they don’t so much as flinch when we get near them, and they only move a few feet away if we get really close, but as they say waste not want not… I think our birds are just getting far too fussy… Peckish complete, crushed nuts, mealworms, and the odd bit of crumbled cheese and they still throw it all over the place!! Where are their table manners?
It has been a great time for the garden, the plants we have transferred are all doing really well and the blooms and scent have been fantastic, my sweet peas smell divine and the lilies and my precious daylilies have been a glorious sight for the last few weeks, and more importantly we don’t have any dreaded lily beetle!!
The Hydrangea plants are covered in blooms, and they look fantastic, we inherited a large potted specimen from the father in laws garden when he passed away, and it is a truly stunning blue, if I didn’t know better I would say it was false but it is a lovely reminder of a loved one.
We also inherited a small dwarf tree in a pot from the previous house owner which was rather sickly looking, but with some careful watering, feeding, shelter and general tlc it has recovered and we now have 8 juicy looking desert apples on it, the odd thing is that it is still putting on blossom, I’m not sure what’s going on there, but it looks pretty.
The large cooking apple tree is also showing signs of improvement, we removed some of the diseased wood last year and plan to remove some more bit by bit so it isn’t to much of a shock, but it now has lots of apples on its boughs, and whilst the canker is not fully removed it is looking a lot happier.
We didn’t realise that we had a 3rd apple tree in the garden situated next to it, we knew there was a tree there but last year it showed no blossom so we assumed it was a rogue self seeded tree however this year it has flowered and is covered in small apples. At the moment I cannot get close enough to inspect for canker as it is surrounded by nettles, but I can see that we do seem to have a problem with something half eating apples on the branches which I suspect is the squirrels, but at the moment it looks like we might have a reasonable crop from our collection of trees.
We have a rather sickly looking handkerchief tree in the garden, which I will have to ask you all for some advice about, its leaves are covered in rust brown spots, and many of the branches are becoming bare, I rather get the feeling that this may be beyond help, but I will post some pictures later to see what you all make of it.
Whilst we have managed to spend a lot of time in the garden it has mostly been spent trying to finish of the rendering and painting of the front of the house. The OH has worked like a Trojan in blazing sun being half blind by trying to paint white on white and he has done a fantastic job, but we still have lots of sanding and black painting to do on the eves and sofit boards which takes time so we may have a few more weeks of work to do before we have finished the front and then at some point we will have to tackle the last remaining side.
We have had to concede and order a new boiler. The old one broke down again, at over 15 years old it was not exactly reliable and was becoming a bit of a safety concern with a nasty burning smell each time it cut out. The new one should be installed at the end of August along with some new radiators, we really didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a new boiler and radiators, but a new one should be more efficient and reliable, and the rusting radiators would have to have been replaced sooner or later and it seemed more logical to do the replacements before we start decorating, either way I cannot wait for it to be replaced as I am getting quite fed up of being back in the dark ages and having to have a wash at the sink from a boiled kettle especially in this recent heat wave!!
Inside the OH has started the built in wardrobes, which are starting to take shape, and the new ceiling is complete with new lights, which are far more suitable for the house.
Electrical wiring is still proving a bit of an issue, we are not able to use any of the 16 sockets in the living room and have disconnected the fuse for this area just in case, I suspect we are going to have get a quote for a full rewire in the coming months, but that will have to wait until the piggy bank has a little more cash.
So what else has been going on? Hmmm lets see…
Had I mentioned that the council repaired the lane outside the house? This amazed me, I didn’t think they would bother with small country lanes… it looks fab, and it makes driving a lot more comfortable on the old posterior… there’s nothing like country lanes for giving your suspension a battering… However on the bad side 2 weeks later the council came along and slaughtered the hedgerow… I can tell you I was absolutely fuming about that… we have been carefully maintaining it ensuring it was not encroaching onto the lane and it was looking lovely with loads of various wildflowers and blossoms, and then they come along and hack it back to a stubble… what I was more furious about was the wildlife… what about the poor nesting birds? (I feel a letter of complaint coming on)
Anyway enough of my grump… I will wrap up with my last update, which is that I have now been smoke free for over a month… Yippee… I still have to get nicotine free, but boy do I feel so much better for loosing the smoke… I can now run… something I could just about do before, but it left me bright red and spluttering… I can now smell my flowers so much better, and my taste buds are positively singing!!
I am sure that I have missed loads and loads of things from the update but I don’t want to bore you all, I hope you have all been happy and well, and you are all having a Fabuloso time
Lotsa Luv AliCat xx
PS… I will pop some July pictures on when I get a chance. Take care all, I hope to catch you all clicking soon