….help, bees!

I have a rotatable composter, and I usually turn it over about once a month, but have been a bit lazy this summer, enjoying the warmth and dryness.

This morning I went to rotate it, and heard what sounded like wasps within. Turns out it seems like a bees nest, where they found the warmth, dampness and available access through the aeration holes, as very nice place to build a nest. I love bees, appreciate their value to the garden, and have no fear of them , but I might have disturbed a little heaven for them. Should I now leave it alone to let them re-group, or will they go elsewhere?

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Nature’s wonderful!

A lovely weekend here in the west of Scotland, and that allowed me to get outdoors a lot. When tidying-up in the garden (badly-needed!) and getting down and dirty removing weeds, I came upon my first ladybird of the year! A bit docile (the ladybird, not me!)but pottering round exploring the scenery.

Next on the scene was what I thought was the orange-tip butterfly, which Flighty/Mike mentioned in his Facebook entry. Never having seen one before in this area, I was keen to ensure I was correct. The distinctive wing colouring confirmed the identification.

Going over to our daughter’s for dinner yesterday, there was quite an activity with great skeins of geese overhead. They eventually landed in the field behind her house. making a racket! They also use a local Loch as a transit stop for winter and summer migration.

After tea we headed for the rural part of the Forth and Clyde Canal…very close to her, and only yards away we saw the white rump of a deer ambling across the country path in front of us!

Whilst walking along this lovely canal we noticed a heron keeping up with us on the other side. When we moved in line with it, it moved on about 20 yards, and waited for us to catch up. Then it moved on again. When it stood in the reeds, it was almost invisible!

Our final wonderful experience was the appearance of a skylark, in the blue sky,quite audible over traffic .

…….a lovely set of memories…and all within a few minutes’ walk!

UNCUT

grass with daisies

I usually like my lawn neatly cut, as it contrasts well with my ‘wilderness’ borders. However a couple of weeks ago I loaned my lawn-mower to Son, for his extremely-large grass area, and so my lawn went uncut! 

Good sun with the occasional light shower provided perfect growing conditions. I was intrigued by the number of daisies, buttercups and various grasses which appeared rapidly…..they were actually quite pretty. There was a total difference between the morning scene when the blooms were all shut, and it all looked a bit dull….but when the sun appeared, suddenly they all turned towards it and opened up to provide flashes of white and yellow….a glorious sight. It took us back to visits to Austria, where great swathes of countryside were left to produce wonderful areas of natural habitat.

So maybe, just occasionally, you should leave things to nature!

What trust!

I’ve been working this weekend on what I call my ‘wildlife’ area of our garden, where large shrubs and bulbs are allowed to grow relatively uncontrolled, besides the grass being cut. It allows good protection for birds so I was so pleased to see that a young blackbird had decided to remain with me all day.

What was astonishing, however, was how close it came, and even when I moved about the garden, it didn’t seem worried, nor did it make any attempt to move away.

I think if I were confronted by some moving animal, probably 100 times larger, in the wild, I would be inclined to move away if it approached!

Is this a knowledge that it can move much faster than me, is there an ignorance that I could harm it, is it a thought that the availablilty of food is worth more than the risk I pose, is there some ‘domestication’ involved, or is it some ‘child-like’ friendship or trust?

Whatever, It is sometimes very pleasant just to sit on a stone on a warm summer’s day and talk to another of God’s little creatures!

Home from home?

This weekend was another holiday here, so there was the opportunity to head north with Young Lady of the House, and Daughter, to the Inverness area and beyond. Our first stop was at Spean Bridge, north of Tyndrum, where there is a beautiful viewpoint and a memorial to Commandos who had trained here service during the war. No matter how many times we see it, it still has the power to produce an emotion about events, just before our lifetime.

Spean Bridge Commano Memorial

We have long-established friends who have the  good fortune to live in the Inverness section of the Highlands……and we shared a couple of good meals with them. The City of Inverness straddles the River Ness (obviously) which is picturesque, although just now it is low with the lack of rain!

 

 

Sunday was so hot that we went to the head of Loch Ness (no sign of Nessie!), and watched the tourist boats going through the canal between the Loch and the river going to the sea.

But most of all we wanted to call again at Foulis Castle, our ancestral home, in Evanton near Dingwall. The photo here shows how well-preserved and beautiful it is. (You can ‘Google’ it and get a large amount of information about life in the time of the Scottish clan system) We have been here many times before, including one of the Clan gatherings a few years back. I had written the ‘calling poem’ for the last Gathering in 2007, and it was published in the Clan magazine. We had to cancel our attendance, unfortunately, at the last minute, and so it was time to get the ‘Clan-Family fix’.

It is still a lived-in home, and we met-up again with the mother of the Clan Chief. She is a very gracious Lady and has an in-depth knowledge of the Clan, and the Castle. We were particularly keen to see how her garden, in the large courtyard of the castle, was getting-on, as she has tirelessly worked on it over the decades since we were there first in 1969!

We weren’t disappointed in any way. At 83, her brain is still sharp, and knowledge of the clan is now even more detailed. She has reconstructed the old kitchen in the basement, and two wonderful self-contained apartments have been built, with a respect for the existing building and incorporating many of the old artifacts.  The garden in the courtyard has developed immensely, again  with the eye for detail.

The weather was beautiful, in contrast to south of the country, and so we returned tired, (special thanks to Daughter who did the long periods of driving in her new car), and very pleased with the visit to our ‘Home from Home’.

Why is life so busy?

Keeping a diary provides the means of recording both day-to-day mundane, and important,  events on an on-going basis, and one has only to look at many blogs to see the ‘busyness’ which we all have. Yesterday was one of those days when the sun shines and a tremendous number of little jobs need to be, and are done….

  • prepare blogs and comments
  • send e-mails about choir
  • rehang spare room curtains
  • dismantle and clean double-glazed dormer window
  • touch up paintwork in one of spare rooms
  • weed the front garden
  • cut back lawn
  • re-pot lavatera plant
  • cleanup patio
  • trim wall rose
  • remove old lilac tree (or as much as was possible)
  • re-coat garden furniture with eco-friendly varnish
  • tidy-up some daffodil heads
  • re-adjust pots on patio to bring the more colourful ones closer
  • trim away some of Leylandii hedge
  • have well-deserved beer with Young Lady
  • out for meal in evening (had to return to restaurant to collect forgotten jacket!)

…………….and many others, too many to mention.

…………….and this does not include all the hundreds of little jobs which Young Lady of the House did!

We were sitting briefly out at the back watching little ants running hither and thither somewhat aimlesly, but perhaps with their own version of a busy day. Some were carrying small leaves, but most were not doing anything apparently notable. I wonder when they got back to their nests did they have a communal moan about the jobs they did and still have to do?

Our morning and afternoon were probably the warmest this year, and unfortunately the clouds built-up and thunder and lightening were followed by a brief torrent of rain. One of our neighbours had been hosing the garden in the morning but must have felt a bit silly when the downpour came!