Friday, 28 August 2009

Farewell, summer!

Was just on my way to the post office (as always), when I noticed a great number of birds wheeling in a cloud in the sky. More joined them from all directions, then, with a whirl, they were off, coiling like smoke through the sky. Swallows heading for Africa, taking summer with them.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

RSPCA Fox Treatment

I sent away for some more homoeopathic fox drops, to the tune of a tenner. However, in the meantime my neighbour who had seen the fox out of his window, had rung the RSPCA who promised to deliver a drug called Ivermectin.

It was lucky I was working upstairs and spotted the RSPCA van parking, as my neighbour had gone out. I flew down the stairs in my flipflops (and other clothes too, I assure you!) and the upshot was that he gave me three syringes full of the drug, to be injected into fox food once weekly.

I asked if it could harm any other creatures and he said it could, if the food was eaten by a very emaciated cat weighing less than 2 kilos. As Flad weighed over 8 kilos at his last weigh-in, I don't think he's in danger.

So at around 11.30 last night, I syringed the drug into a jam sandwich, put it on top of some leftover pasta and ventured across the lawn - and was halted in my tracks by the sound of a rhythmic, barking cough. Oh dear, I thought; that poor fox isn't at all well. In fact, it could even be throwing up. But as my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I found the source of the sound - two bonking hedgehogs grunting in blissful harmony! I was reminded of the old quip. Q: How to hedgehogs make love? A: very, very carefully.

By the way, the drug can't harm hedgehogs. I asked the very, very nice man from the RSPCA. And another plus: the drug comes free, unlike my fox drops. I'll keep them though, just in case...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Frog on the Twine

Okay, I know, you have to be a certain age to remember the hit by Lindisfarne, but I AM of that age, so excuse the awful pun. It's wonderful when a wild creature sits still for long enough to allow you to rattle off loads of photos. The frog posed on the pond netting for so long that I was able to do comparative shots from four different cameras, and it was the Fuki digital SLR that was the sharpest, but I still haven't learned how to use it properly so I actually got better shots from the little Pentax 7 mega pixels camera as I had the anti-blur feature switched on.

After we'd finished playing David Bailey, I suggested to my partner that he should catch the frog as it might be stuck on the netting unable to get off, like a human wallowing on a hammock. But as soon as he tried to grab it, it squeezed through the twine and plopped into the water. I think it was just enjoying its 15 minutes of stardom.

More caterpillar poo

I moved the tub of rocket and caterpillars away from my tomato plants. Big mistake. The little so-and-sos have migrated to my roses which my parter bought me as a romantic gesture. I am now having to ferret around amongst the thorns, removing little green wigglers.

Sick Fox

From 5 am yesterday this fox was hanging around the garden, acting semi crazy. It seemed desperate for food and drink but couldn't manage the whole brioche we threw out, even though it was so soft. In the end I had to break it into pieces and then it sank down in the middle of it and ate little bits at a time, then collapsed behind the pond. Sarcoptic mange can kill a fox in a matter of months but I have sent for some more of the homoeopathic 'fox drops' that I used with great success on another fox two years ago. I hope they don't arrive too late. Today there is no sign of the sick little vixen at all.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Caterpillar poo !

I have given up on eating my home-grown rocket for reasons that are obvious from a glimpse of this leaf: caterpillar poo! They are the larvae of the Large White butterfly. I watched their mums laying the eggs so I don't mind doing my best to raise them from egg, to pupa, to butterfly. So long as they stay off my tomatoes!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Suicide Slug

Poised on the netting, he gazes down at the fish and prepares to take the plunge... until my kind partner rescued him with the fishing net then invented a new game called Hurl The Slug. (Note to RSPCS: he had a gentle landing and has since slithered off towards the bread I put out for the birds.)

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Large white and peacock

Trying to photograph a large white is almost impossible unless you have a camera fitted with a motordrive. They flutter so much and flit about here, there and everywhere, and rarely seem to settle. This was the best photo I managed to get.

The peacocks, however, are most obliging. One sat for ages on the decking, allowing me to take lots of photos...

and when I turned back towards the house after my frustrating time trying to photograph a large white, what should I see awaiting me on the patio table, but this beauty!