Sunday, 22 July 2012


Blue sky and hot sun! Working as I do inside a rather dark and cool building, I hate being inside on my days off, but the dismal weather has made this impossible. Not so today! I have a tiny garden, just a strip of unruly plants that runs along the side of the house. Beyond this is grass and my landlady's old apple orchard. It's lovely and wild.

The nettles have done amazingly well this year. Most of them are taller than me! The flowers have been hammered by the rain, but I'm quite pleased with how my patch has coped with the downpours.


Rolly loves the sun. 

Kitty gets a bit too hot, being black, and prefers to sit by the open door.

Whiskers looking out.

I'm having great difficulty moving these photos to where I want them.

Cygnets are really growing fast now! Like their parents, they are very tame and trusting of people. I took these when they were dabbling right next to the path. I worried about dogs, as there's always loose dogs jumping into the estuary and swimming after the birds, while being ignored by their ignorant owners.

I went in my shed this afternoon to do some pyrography. I'm experimenting with papier mache, but the photos were out of focus.
In the style of Blue Peter, here's some I did earlier!

The reed warblers is work in progress.

Back to work tomorrow, but at least all the children will have a great start to their break! So often we have good weather right up until the schools break up, so this has been a welcome change at least!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Toads and Woodpeckers

There's a lovely, big toad in my garden. He lives on top of a wall. This may sound strange, but the wall tilts alarmingly and is propped up by a tree. The top is covered with moss, and overhung by ivy and brambles. At one end of the wall I used to have a flower pot, stuck in place with concrete. That broke away many years ago, and all that's left is the concrete base, shaped like a raised plinth. This is where the toad sits in the evening, and where I often give him a worm.
Sometime during the night he makes his way along the wall to the other end, where I constructed a home for him by attaching a plant pot sideways to the tree branches, so that the opening is level with the top of the wall. It's lined with moss and hidden behind a curtain of ivy.

I went to this trouble because he was ending up at the bottom of the wall, trying to bury himself in the compost of another pot that gets the full sun. He can still do that, and I really expected him to carry on and ignore my meddlings, but he has obliged and happily spends the day in his moss-lined den. If I look closely I can just see the shine of his golden eyes peering out.

Last year we had lots of toads. As it's pitch black here at night, we don't go anywhere without a torch. There were toads in all the usual places, every evening. They like to own a patch of hunting ground. This year there don't seem to be so many, but the old wall toad is still here, and very big he is too. (Although he looks small here compared to the leaves, he's actually as big as my hand)

Unlike my two fire-bellied toads, that are not much bigger than a walnut. I have had them for nearly fifteen years now, which is quite remarkable according to the breeder I got one of them from. The other, whose photo I have added here, was found squashed beneath a heap of salamanders in a now-closed pet shop. When I asked how much it was, the owner didn't even know it was there.
"I expect he's been eating the crickets" he told me. Seeing as the crickets were larger than the toad, I very much doubted that. He soon put on weight with fresh worms and meal worms.
Apparently fire-bellied toads are easy to breed, but mine are both male. I occassionally hear indignant chiruppings when one has jumped on top of the other!

Not something everyone would love in their garden, I expect! The woodpeckers, on the other hand, always seem to create excitment from visitors. Yes, they are lovely, very bright and cheerful. If I want one to visit I just put a suet block out. No other birds get a look in, and the block only lasts a day. Not something I can do on a daily basis, but now and again for a treat.

My Folksy shop has been sadly abandoned since a local shop started selling my pyrography, but things didn't work out (multiple visits to get monies owed) and so when they finally coughed up I gathered the bits left and wished them goodbye.

I put this box on Folksy, and sold it within a week! More will follow, but it's not easy with a full time job to get the time. (excuses, excuses).

Finally, Whiskers settling in to a long stint in front of the window, waiting for the rain to stop!

I think he will be there for some time!