Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Round-Up From The Garden

I don't know about you all but it's definitely starting to feel autumnal here. It was starting to get dark by 7.45 last night, and although Mrs Massey and I walked the dogs in bright and reasonably warm sunshine first thing, it has now clouded over and rain is threatening. This is Not Good, because Washing Is On The Line.

Insect life in the garden is on the wane, which means I shall soon be returning to photographing all our lovely bird people instead. There aren't all that many to be seen in and around the garden yet; the hedges and fields are still too full of yummy bits and bobs to eat, but give it another month or so and they'll be clamouring for fat balls and full seed feeders, and then my trips to Scats will increase four-fold.

I managed to get a couple of Interesting Insect People on camera this week. First, this Green Shield Bug who was enjoying crawling about on the roses by the pond and was Very Amenable To Photographs...





And second this beautiful Green Veined White Butterfly, who was sitting so still on the Sweet Peas I nearly missed her. She looks so perfect I suspect she's only recently hatched out.


M disturbed Froggy in the front veg patch whilst clearing out the Cabbage-White-Annihilated cabbages. He managed to stay put just long enough for me to get a pic before he leapt for cover in the Johnson's Blues in one gigantic bound that made us both jump...


Not far from Froggy was this banded snail (empty). Banded snails are used to study evolution in action because they react quickly to environmental changes such as food and temperature. There was a recent study into Banded Wood Snails that was used to hypothesise about Ancient Man's migration route from France to Ireland 8000 years ago. These particular snails (not the one below) are common only to the Pyrenees and Ireland, leading scientists to believe they were carried between the two countries by people migrating after the last Ice Age. There is some evidence that they were farmed for food in that period, so perhaps they were brought over as a food source.



M has been busy cutting the hedges back over the weekend, a sure sign of Autumn's imminent arrival. There are no birds nesting in them now so it is safe to do this. The light it lets back into the garden is amazing, although every time he does it I can't help but think of horrible tales of people slipping and cutting their own heads off! He didn't help this by sheepishly telling me the ladder had wobbled several times.





Teddy, meanwhile, has been Perfecting The Art Of Getting In The Way, by flopping down in the middle of doorways so everyone is continually tripping over him. It is almost inevitable that he gets trodden on, and then he yelps and throws Exceeding Hurt Looks at whoever has squashed him. We call it "doing a Grandma Vera" in honour of one of my Grandmothers who had the same habit. This makes no difference to him at all: he carries on regardless.

He had a bath over the weekend because he was going to see Dougal (who is usually spotless), so he is rather whiter than normal (although, as I discovered to my cost when he hopped up on my lap for a snuggle yesterday, he still smells like an over-ripe cheese. I have no idea where this comes from, unless he has been storing cheese among the treasures he keeps in his basket and going to sleep on it. I found half an apple, two small squares of steak and a potato in there the other day so who knows? It is a distinct possibility).






M and I have been reading "The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared" as our book-at-bedtime. It is a Swedish novel, (make of that what you will). I am enjoying it, so you could do worse than look it out if you're stuck for an interesting and something-a-bit-different read with the winter nights beginning to draw in.

 
Talking of which, I have a pile of wool upstairs (some of it, I am embarrassed to say, still in its original balls and wrappings from when it was purchased last winter) which is ear-marked for a crochet blanket I am making. This has been my Winter Project for the last two years. I only crochet over the winter months because it's too dark to be outside, so the length of time it is taking me to make the blanket is not because I am a)unable to stick to and complete a project or b) a rubbish crocheter. I was taught by a friend while manning a craft stall, and my squares are a bit lopsided to tell the truth, but I tell myself this makes for an interesting overall effect and indeed blanket shape. I shall soon be picking-up this long-term project again and will keep you informed of my progress, but only if you promise not to hoot with laughter at any pictures. M, who loves blankets on the bed (not) can't wait for it to be finished and is thrilled at the prospect of a lop-sided scratchy woollen covering that will add more warmth to his already overheated bedtime feet.

I'm planning a Moth Night tonight, not having put the box out for a while. Last time I found this beautiful Copper Underwing asleep under the table the moth box was on...


Our kitchen clock (one of those which is meant to sound a different bird call for every hour, but we had to take the batteries out for that bit because the raucous calls were waking us up through the night and at that time of day, whilst you are half asleep, you tend to find yourself wondering why there is a starling in the kitchen and what it's doing calling in the dead of night, which is both stupid and annoying, and also causes your sleep-walking husband to blunder off with the intention of rescuing said non-existent bird, which in turn necessitates you waking up fully in order to wake him up and bring him back to bed before he falls down the stairs and does himself an injury which would be embarrassing to explain to the doctor, thus leaving you wide awake until the next hour is called and the whole thing starts again), anyway, the clock part needed new batteries yesterday, so I took it off the wall, turned it over and discovered this furry person, asleep where the batteries that power the annoying bird calls would ordinarily go...


Can you spot him?

He's a Setaceous Hebrew Character, which sounds Very Impressive And Thrilling in a Cloak And Dagger Moth sort of way, but actually just means bristly. He must have been sleeping snugly there since the last Moth Box Night, which was last week. Very Inventive. Anyway, I returned him to the Great Outdoors.

I'll end with some pictures of Poppet, whom you may remember from earlier in the year is my One Legged Dunnock. She's had a moult after laying her eggs (though she never brought her children to show me) so now I can't tell her apart from all the other Dunnocks until she tries to move. Her poorly leg is useless but it doesn't stop her leading a full and active life. Sorry some of the shots are a tad blurry- it's v hard to get a dunnock sitting still!




I think that's about it for now, and in any event I need to go and collect L from school so I'll push off.

Until next time, here are some Sweet Peas from the garden for you all...


Have a good evening,

CT :-)

19 comments:

  1. Definitely feeling very autumnal up here today with a brisk northerly breeze, outbreaks of rain and temperatures below 12 C!

    I have one of those bird song clocks too (a present from my sister) but it has a light sensor which means it switches off at night, thankfully ;-)

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    1. No doubt all that chilly autumnal weather will be heading our way after it's finished visiting you...

      I loved the bird clock during the day. When we first got ours guests would leap up in alarm when an owl hooted unexpectedly from the kitchen. It always made me smile. Maybe there is an "off switch" for night time I haven't yet located? I'll go and have a look...

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  2. Sweet peas are gorgeous....they make me sneeze like hell so a picture is much appreciated in the absence of the real thing. Shield bug is nearly as gorgeous!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the peas. They have taken their time to blossom this year, but I'm not complaining because they're giving colour and scent at a time other things are dying back. I'm a sucker for shield bugs generally and this one was so friendly I spent ages with him x

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  3. I think Kent has by-passed Autumn ad gone straight into Winter. Blue toeses and noses by the time I had walked to work today...brrrrrrr!

    I read 'The Hundred Year Old Man...' Etc etc when it first came out and awarded it 7 out of 10 in my reading diary. I especially enjoyed the elephant. Currently reading 'I Capture the Castle' and 'Nightingale Wood', a little known Stella Gibbons work. Both are terribly middle class and romantic and just lovely because I am a secret snob.

    Teddy looks gorgeous as ever...can't smell the cheese here at MMM because I have just done a marathon denuding of lavender flowers from their stalks. But I suspect he is hiding cheese in his bed. Dogs are not very cunning when it comes to contraband concealment, unlike cats. Tybalt managed to keep a real-life Ewok in his cupboard under the stairs for years. I kept washing it because I thought it was a manky furry blanket. It didn't complain once. X

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    1. Yes, Brrrr- I'm back into socks and jumpers, which is a bit of a shock after flip flops all summer. It'll soon be hat time...

      I'm relieved the cheese smell hasn't permeated down to Kent, but there is always the chance it may, once the Lavender has worn off. I would look for hidden cheese in his bed but am a bit concerned about what it will mean if I don't find any.

      A real live Ewok eh? Did Tybalt have a name for him?

      ps- am a bit worried as my "Countryside Tales" header seems to have vanished. It all comes of trying to be clever and adding a snappy new quote and now the whole thing is buggered. Grrrr :-(

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    2. And there was me thinking it was an ethereal, meditative zone...

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    3. Ah now that's perfect, thank you :-) If it hasn't returned by tomorrow I shall claim it as such. Thanks lovely x

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  4. HI CT One of my favorite smelly flowers are Sweet Peas although mine did not so well this year so lovely to see yours.

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    1. I thought ours weren't going to do much but they've suddenly come to life and taken off :-)

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  5. The shortening days have had me thinking about winter projects too.
    Sharp intake of breath on seeing hedgecutting photo - they worry me too. And chainsaws!
    It took me almost a week to change my header. The night is yet young..

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    1. I have a chainsaw tale to make you blanch too- witness husband a couple of years ago stating his intention to do a bit of "small scale" chainsawing and therefore not bother with chainsaw trousers, to which I said you aren't chainsawing without them, so he put them on. Came back looking a wee bit shaken half an hour later saying the chainsaw had slipped and would have sliced into his thigh had said trousers not been on. Lesson well and truly learnt.

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  6. Very autumnal here too :) Love the sweet pea photo - am still picking a few but they're covered in green fly!

    Lovely to see the Copper Underwing - still haven't seen one although rain has been forecast every night so moth trap hasn't been out for a while.

    Look forward to seeing your crochet blanket in progress - I haven't crocheted for years and have forgotten how too but spend the winter nights (if watching tv) knitting scarves :) Not sure why as I have far too many of the things!!

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    1. I reckon our peas will last another week or so, and delphs sown this year are flowering now too. So pretty.

      My moth box was out last night. I'm just about to start going through them but the numbers look significantly down.

      I know just what you mean about knitting scarves in the evening as I do exactly the same thing! Only mine start out neat and then stretch wider and wider. I ventured into fingerless glove-making last year and the results were good enough to wear in the garden (if not out in public). Really hoping I can remember how to crochet too after the break ;-)

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  7. Teddy looks so smart and white! I'm glad Daisy hasn't picked up that habit of burying things in her bed! That you for telling me about King Harold.
    Sarah x

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    1. Unusual for him to be so clean. Perhaps the collecting things is a boy dog habit? Or he's just so chuffed to have found something other than dog biscuits he'd rather hide them in his bed than eat them! :-)

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  8. I adore shield bugs!! A very odd thing to have such an affection for but I do! That probably sums me up though ha! I also love teddy's ears!

    I like you, have some woolen projects that I didn't even start last winter, and it is most definitely a winter activity. The thought of knitting a nice thick woolly scarf or a nice cardigan is just ridiculous.

    We also have a bird sound clock, but when Bracken was young we had to take the sounds batteries out because it would wake him up at ungodly hours. Now the bird sounds don't match up with the right times so we just leave it without.

    x

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    1. Me too re the shield bugs. There is something rather adorable about them isn't there? Ted's ears make everyone smile. I clip him at home rather than take him to a poochy parlour so he gets a rather rough and ready hair do but I think it suits him. Good luck with your woolly projects once winter comes on- we'll have to compare results. And our bird clock also got out of synch with the calls and the hours, but after this post I'm inspired to put the batteries back in and see what happens! :-)

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  9. I have a bird song CD, in fact it's a May Dawn Chorus and I love it. Since we don't really have that here or many trees to make it feel like autumn I think I'm missing it arrive! Love the shield bug and the beautiful green veined white, you did well to spot both of them.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x