Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Making Bird and Dormouse Boxes At College and It's Official Spring Is Here: The Girls Are Laying Again!

We would have been doing some River work at college today, had it not been for the fact that the rivers are all still raging here and ecology students being swept off to their deaths while in the water probably wouldn't have looked good for the college. So, on a gorgeous sunny day, we were all inside the barn making bird and dormouse boxes instead.

Using untreated timber is the most important thing to know, that and trying to make all the edges and corners meet (no chance). As Harvey said, we looked quite a lot like prisoners let out for a working day course, although probably with less success....


Sash and Em won the prize for the Best Box of all the ones I saw. Well done ladies. Incidentally, they are both 20 on the same day next week so: HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRLS!!!!


The Boys came a very close last with their efforts..... (only joking lads).....They take a nice picture don't they? I suppose that's some consolation for their carpentry skills....


And here are mine, Harvey and Caroline's, which just about ended up passable (as long as you don't look too closely). This was Quite An Achievement when you consider the amount of laughter and general larking about (not to mention nails hammered in wonky and bits of wood sawn at rakish angles) that went into their production...

Tit box on left, Dormouse on right
 And here they are from a different angle, showcasing mine and Harvey's excellent artwork...



If there's ever a market for shoddily built, ill-fitting, gappy nesting boxes with wonky nails and ragged edges decorated with artistic flair and panache, we'll make a fortune.

We were so impressed we took photographic evidence from every conceivable angle.



Back home and we have had a MOMENTOUS EVENT. So much so that I can definitely say, hand on heart honest, that Spring has well and truly Sprung....

Was it the emergence of daffs....?


No.

Was it discovering Mr & Mrs Mallard in our wildlife pond (constructed using child labour, if you remember, last summer) shoveling and generally mushing everything about.....?


No.

Was it finding lots of small flocks of primroses blossoming in the veg patch....?


No.

It was this: finding TWO eggies in the hen house! 

The girls are laying once more, and that means: Spring Is Here!!!!!!!!!! 


I very nearly caught Ruby In Flagrante egg, so to speak, alerted as I was by Mavis making strange noises from inside the hen house (which turned out to be her idea of encouragement). Mrs Peckham was in there too, staring curiously at Ruby, who was standing up with a slightly shocked look on her face and a fresh warm egg on the straw beneath her. Either the girls were offering moral support, or else they've forgotten after their long winter break what egg laying is and were wondering what the hell was going on.

At any rate, as long as these aren't the only two eggs for the entire summer (which isn't as ridiculous as it sounds, given that Ruby drops into broodiness at the first hint of her returning egg-laying-powers, and Mavis follows suit (out of a sense of competition, rather than sisterly solidarity I feel, judging by the way she leaps greedily onto Ruby's nest the split second it's vacated while its owner nips out for a pee- huge and very definitely un-sisterly squawking ensues when Rubes returns, discovers Mavis on her nest and physically drags her off) and this leave Mrs Peckham to carry the can of egg-laying responsibility for the whole hen house all summer) I shan't be spending a fortune on blue Waitrose eggs anymore.

After that momentous announcement, backed up with suitable eggy evidence (which I think you'll agree is indisputable as per the pics, which I hope you notice had real straw and the odd bit of poo on them and were not, therefore, a Waitrose mock-up staged to deceive you all), I'll end with a long stream of Willow Tit photos (and one of Bumble), because I am more than a bit in love with him at the moment and can't resist the pics....

Bumble, holding her poorly foot tucked into her feathers. I think it must have been sore, poor lass

Tit Willow...







Hope you're all having a Jolly Nice Week?

CT :-)

14 comments:

  1. Those boxes look fab and those first eggs must have tasted so good. It has felt very spring like today! Sarah x

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    1. It was great fun making them and, joking aside, everyone's finished article looked good. We'll be checking them as summer progresses to see who's moved in x

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  2. The boxes look good, hope they're occupied this spring. That's good news about the eggs - my old Sussex (the last of the sisters) has started to lay this week, too (and I thought she'd given up for good). So I agree - it is a sign of spring! Bumble is lovely, and great photos of the Willow Tit again.

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    1. They were really very simple to make and I do hope they get used- we'll know more later this summer so I'll update then. Ruby is a Light Sussex- the girls know whether the weather's on the up don't they? Or perhaps it's just the stretching day light.

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  3. Love the mallards in the wildlife pond! Those blue eggs are rather nice, obviously only if you can't grow your own.

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    1. The ducks were very funny, bobbing about and upending to shovel in the mud at the bottom. Good job there are no frogs or newts in it yet! Mavis is a blue-egg layer, but rather scatty, so Lord knows whether she'll produce any this year!

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  4. jWow, just found your blog and its going on my list of fav's,
    Briony
    x

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    1. Thank you Briony- glad you enjoyed it. CT :-)

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  5. We made a box for my mum a few years ago and no one has been near it! It's too exposed I think. Yours look great, as do the eggs. I do wish we had room for chickens. Wonderful Willow Tit again. xx

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    1. That's my worry here too Em- it would be awful if ours was the only box NOT nested in! xx

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  6. My nest building efforts would be no better, yet all the books make it look so easy! They are brilliant and the birds will love them anyway.

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    1. I'm just not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination! Hopefully the birds and dormice won't notice and will use them anyway! x

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  7. The nestboxes look good - much more fun to make your own :) Glad your hens are laying again - more Spring-like here this week too :)

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    1. It was great fun and we had a good old giggle comparing how terrible they all well :-) x

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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