Friday, February 05, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

Finding joy in small things, here are five random moments that have made me smile this week.

1.  Siskins - we had some different visitors to our feeders this week.  We were visited by a male and two female siskins. The second female was sitting in the hedge nearby.  They aren't seen around here very often.  Now why couldn't they have visited during the Big Garden Bird Watch?  (see my last post for details of what we saw)

2.  Squirrels - there are always three running around the garden looking very plump and very sleek.  One on a stone, one on the back of a bench and the third at the top of the juniper tree.  They all have cream markings behind their ears and I believe that they are males but I'm not sure.  I must try to find out more about whether just the males or both male and female squirrels have cream behind their ears at this time of year.

3.  Spring Flowers - Snowdrops and daffodils at the Wolseley Centre, Headquarters of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and  the hyacinths at home now fully in flower and smelling wonderful.

4.  Seeds - we bought the first seeds for the greenhouse and garden at the Wolseley Garden Centre, which is next door to the Wildlife Trust headquarters,  during the week.  They were on offer 'buy a packet get a packet free', the foxglove seeds were free with a magazine.

5.  Dipping - we had some Spanish Rosemary and Olive crackers left from a selection of goodies given us for Christmas (doesn't it seem so long ago now?) and we decided to buy a creamy stilton cheese dip to dip them into, with a few sweet grapes this was a lovely lunch.

Thank you all for your comments on my last post. 
Have a great weekend everyone.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Big Garden Bird Watch

It was the weekend of the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch so, of course, it wasn't the best weather for counting birds.  Saturday was very windy and most our usual visitors stayed away or lurked in the hedges.  We could hear the sparrows chirruping and rustling whilst they kept out of the wind protected by the holly hedges and laurel bush.  Sunday was very wet and again a lot of birds were discouraged.  We saw far fewer than we do on any other day.

We did the count between 9.40am and 10.40am on Sunday morning because that is the time Mr Thrush comes for his breakfast of buggy nibbles but did he come to visit on Sunday? Of course not; so unfortunately he missed out on being counted in.  As did the lone long tailed tit that I spotted on one of the fat balls at lunchtime.  It is unusual to see just one long tailed tit as they usually arrive in little groups as do the goldfinches.  All this week we have had up to eight goldfinches on the feeders at any one time but today there were just two.  Ah, well!

Here is the final count which I have submitted to the RSPB.

Sparrows  17
Blackbirds 2
Robin 1
Wood Pigeon 2
Blue Tit 1
Chaffinch 1
Starling 3
Goldfinch 2

Did you do the Big Garden Bird Watch and if so what did you see and record?

It is February 1st today.  January has rushed by and as I said in a comment left on a blog post yesterday, January has been both cruel and kind in equal measure. I wonder what February will bring? I hope it brings you some good times.

Thank you for your comments on my last 'muddy walk' post I will get around to answering them later today.
Have a lovely week.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Muddy, Wellie Walk

Yesterday morning we went for a long walk around Greenway Bank Country Park.
I love the two stone arches left over from the gardens that were part of the estate.  There are several other features around from the formal gardens and an orchard too.

There was lots of new growth to see encouraged by the mild weather, although I have to say it was quite nippy out yesterday and hats and gloves were needed.

I spotted a clump or two of snowdrops, bobbing their delicate, snow white heads in the breeze

The pathways were in some places very muddy

Thank goodness we had our wellies on

The folly looked rather mysterious through the bare branches of the trees, it is called the folly but it is infact the Warder's Lodge built as a gamekeeper's cottage in the shape of a castle around 1828.  More info here

Knypersley reservoir looked calm in the low winter sunshine, which did come out for a while whilst we were walking around.

We could hear the sound of the cormorants before we spotted them, sunning themselves in the old, dead tree by the side of the reservoir.

There was lots of unusual fungi along the pathways.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

My five are a quick selection of random things that have been happening around the house and quite locally this week as we haven't been very far because of the weather, some decorating and the car going in for its annual service and MOT.  Just little snapshots of the week really.

1.  The Hyacinths I showed you a couple of weeks ago have grown and they are going to be blue,  I was hoping that they would be in flower for this Friday but they aren't quite there yet.  It won't be long now.

2Big Garden Birdwatch - I usually take part in this every year at the end of January and this year will be no exception.  I have registered with the RSPB who organise this event and as we feed the birds all year we haven't had to make any special provision for them, we just give them extra in very cold weather but it has been quite mild over the last few days so they will just get the usual, buggy sprinkles, sunflower hearts and niger seed, plus the fat balls.  I wonder what we will see in our chosen hour this year?

3.  New Wallpaper - the small bedroom which we use as a dressing room needed a bit of sprucing up so we spotted some pretty wallpaper in the sale at BandQ - it is now on the walls and looks very fresh and clean.  It has been a project to do indoors whilst the weather has been so wet.  It is ages since we did any wallpapering as we usually just paint the walls a fairly neutral colour and put the colour and patterns into the soft furnishings and ornaments.

4. A Ramshorn Snail - there were loads of them in the pools at Consall Nature Park when we walked there on Sunday.  I commented that it looked like an ammonite because of its flat spiral shell.

5.  Chloe - just because she is so photogenic and is nearly twenty years old and still trots across the grass like a little pony.  Her brother, is struggling with arthritis in his back legs, high blood pressure and a liver problem, we must cherish him whilst he is still with us.  He eats well, sleeps well and ventures out around his ever decreasing territory occasionally and the cats that visit our garden still respect him as the elder statesman of the cat corner we have here.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Miscellany

I thought I'd start writing the Monday Miscellany posts again as it seems a long time since the last one.

I also thought I'd share some photos of this morning's sunrise with you as it was rather wonderful.

Photos taken in the back garden over half an hour.  It is amazing how quickly it all happened before the grey and dismal day set in again

When we were children we used to say 

 'Red sky at night, shepherd's delight, red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning'

I think we have some stormy weather to come overnight and tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

Firstly I want to thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post, I am really grateful for them all in what has been a worrying week but no more of that so off we go for my Five on Friday.

We ventured out one morning earlier in the week and walked around the lake at Trentham Gardens.  We stopped halfway round at the Lakeside Cafe for a warm drink of hot chocolate which was much needed to lift the spirits and to warm cold fingers.  Here are five of the photos I took on the way round.

1.  Coot - walking on the ice, it reminds me of the painting by Henry Raeburn of the Skating Minister - details here.  I remember being thrilled to see it in The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.

2.  View across the lake - the Duke of Sutherland looks down over his lake from up on Monument Hill.

3.  Picnic tables - always used in the spring, summer and autumn but empty at this time of year.

4. Fairy and Dandelion - I've shown you these before but the dandelion sculptures took on a different appearance in the frosty weather.

5. Cygnet - he or she spent ages preening before finally deciding it was tidy enough to be photographed.

Below is a collage of five other photos I took on the same day.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

In a week of sad news of one kind and another it is good to focus on the simple things in life that lift the spirits and make you smile.  Sights and sounds that cheer.  Her are five things that have made me smile this week.

1.  Red Tulips in a red jug on a red cloth - so cheerful and bright, they make me smile each time I see them.

2.  Birds of one kind and another always love watching them and we will soon be getting ready to do the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch.  Above Muscovy ducks in the gardens at Buxton.  Below a starling on our bird feeder.  They have such a beautiful sheen on their feathers.

3.  Hyacinths - we forgot to plant up our bulbs this year so I bought a small pot from the local supermarket.  I can't wait for them to flower, I think they will be blue but we'll see.

4.  Food - it is good to get away from the left over seasonal food at last and use up some of the things lurking in the store cupboard.  There were a few dates left so Paul made some date bread, it was so tasty with cheese and salad.  The cheese was lovely and strong and called Snowdonia Little Black Bomber, given to us as part of a gift at Christmas.

5.  Notebooks - all new, still wrapped and just waiting to be used.  One I bought myself and two were Christmas gifts.  It is ages since I did any writing.  I used to go to a couple of writing groups and did a Creative writing course with the OU but I had let it drift over the last few years.  A friend who also writes wonderful short stories has encouraged me to pick up my pen once more and we have started writing around ten characters, each with their own story.  I am enjoying the process of writing again.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.