Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Titbits

Pretty things

When I realised just how close my first 2 marathons were I had massive panic attack, not because of the running but because I need to get some crochet on the go pdq! I daren't say what it is in case the recipient pops onto my blog. Although I know she doesn't read it on a regular basis, she does sometimes pop in here if I post a link on Facebook. So, all I can say for now is that I shall be making lots of these African flower motifs using a combination of sock yarn and crewel wools. I certainly won't leave the weaving-in of tails until the end and will make sure I do it after about 6 motifs.

She will love it and I can't wait to give it to her.

I've also got a bit of counted cross stitch on the go. Aren't these  bunnies adorable? It's a tiny project but makes a nice break from knitting and crochet now the hours of daylight are lengthening. I made one a few weeks ago as a christening gift for my friend's grand-daughter but this one's for us.

Whilst I was tidying around some pots in the front garden something scuttled along the front wall. I went to investigate and spotted this sweet little wood mouse.

Pesky things

Top of the list are wild rabbits. Their indiscriminate nibbling and digging is driving me mad at the moment.
Rabbits digging holes for no apparent reason!
They are closely followed by vine weevils; the hidden killers. The adult vine weevil, a black beetle sort of creature that roams around at night, causes minor damage to plants and just nibbles the edges of leaves. However, it lays its eggs on the surface of the soil and the grubs then burrow down and eat the roots of plants and you have no idea how much damage they've done until the plant collapses.

Vine weevils in the rock garden - they've decimated my Sedum Xenox
My beautiful Sedum Xenox in autumn last year before the vine weevils destroyed it
Now you don't often see this pest but they are never far away from us. I came across this half-skull when I was weeding. It's the skull of a rat. Look at that massive tooth at the end of its jaw. The whole skull bone is about the size of my thumb. 

We didn't have a problem with rats in the barn this year (they wee on the hay rendering it inedible) but I saw a huge one the other day as it scuttled along the hedge so I'm hoping it wasn't heading for the barn to make a nest.

Earth-moving things

Our train line has suffered severe disruption for weeks now with shuttle buses between the damaged sections of line. I was worried about it as I needed to go into London last week and up until the day before our station was out of action. Thankfully it was running, albeit on a reduced service, so I was very lucky.

There were 10 landslips on our line and I took some photos of this bit that was still being repaired with a couple of links showing Stonegate & here.

What a massive operation. I felt very sorry for the lady in the ticket office at our station because she was being verbally abused by a very snooty man in front of me who seemed to be holding her responsible for the problems!

Beautiful creatures

I am always taken aback by the beauty of pheasants close-up. Their markings are breathtaking and the colours make me gasp with delight, especially when the sunlight catches their feathers. Stunning birds.

The shooting season is over so the farmers don't feed them any more so they are all left to fend for themselves. Many will meet their end on the lanes and some will be caught by foxes. Others, like this fellow, find sanctuary here - this one even takes grain from my hand if there's no-one else around. 

Our beautiful boy is still hanging in there. He is very wobbly on his feet now and has erratic eating habits but he doesn't seem ready to leave us just yet. On our short walk this morning I showed him the new growth on his favourite catmint and he purred and rubbed against it in delight.

I've had a ginger cat, amongst others, in my life now for 35 years. My first one, Tiggy and her sister Smudge, lived with me before I met Mike and when she died we got Tinker as a tiny kitten, just 6 weeks old and he's nearly 18 now.

What started me thinking about that is the news that a new 'Jock', ('Jock vi' to be precise, as they always share that name) has taken up residence at Sir Winston Churchill's home, Chartwell. When I saw the photos of the latest Jock I kept looking at his mouth and thinking that it has a look of the grand old statesman himself!

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