Monday, January 28, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week four

This week most of my happy moments have been in and around home mainly due to the weather.

I was pretty pleased and happy that in the hour we'd chosen to do the RSPBs Great Big Garden Bird Watch, which was on Saturday from 10.25a.m. - 11.25a.m.,  the colourful little chap* below decided to visit and not only to visit but to eat from the feeders too.  Not a bad photo to say I took it through a window!

It was great to get out and about on Thursday for a much needed leg stretch (see my last post) around the lakeside  and gardens  at Trentham especially as the lakeside walk has been closed to visitors since Friday because of the weather.

I was also quite pleased to have spotted and photographed the huge icicle below on the side of the greenhouse before it melted away.

Last but not least I bought some cheerful and colourful tulips at half price from Tesco!

Link to the blog where  '52 weeks of Happy' started. Each week you find just four things that have made you happy to share.

* edit - I should have mentioned that the bird is a male bullfinch

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's just unavoidable!

It's hard to avoid talking about or photographing all the snow that's been around here lately and it has become part of daily life over the last week, they say there's more to come tomorrow.  With this in mind we got the car out of the garage for the first time in a week and went shopping.  It is good to know that the car is full of petrol and larder is full of food (for us, the cats and the birds) ready for another snowbound weekend.  We've had one or two walks out in the snow over the last few days, just to the local park and local town and back,  but we decided we'd like to walk again today so found ourselves wandering around the lakeside at Trentham gardens.

It was a little slippy underfoot in some places on the footpaths so we drifted to the grass verges and followed the deer tracks at the side of the lake.

The lake was mostly frozen over just a few places against the edges where the water birds were congregating.

The heron above looked as if it had caught a gull probably because it couldn't catch fish but it wasn't sure what to do with it. 

It was bitterly cold and my fingers were tingling as I had to keep taking my gloves off to feel the camera's button.  I must get some of those fingerless gloves!

 It was half past noon and there was still  that 'early morning' cold feel in the air

 It was also slightly misty under the trees.

The dragonflies were still in place

As were the fairies.

It was lovely to walk in such a beautiful winter wonderland but now I'm glad to be in the warmth of home again.

Edit - Friday 25th Jan - I've just heard that the Lakeside Walk at Trentham is closed today because the paths are too slippy so we were lucky to get around there yesterday. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week three

Here are this week's four things that have made me happy or made me smile

Cheerful spring flowers inside - snow outside.

A rare visitor to the garden!  We have been putting out an extra tray full of seed, meal worms, suet pellets and breadcrumbs for the ground feeding birds which we placed  on the plastic table close to the hanging feeders.  We spotted this Reed Bunting on it.  He is well out of his normal territory and we didn't see him again so he was just passing by.  The photo is Paul's as he had the right lens on his camera at the time.  We could so easily have missed seeing it.

We took a long walk in the deep, soft  snow - you can see how deep it was from this photo, good job it was too cold to rest awhile.

A cheerful mug of hot chocolate on our return glowing from the exercise, wet wellies in the hallway, damp gloves and hats steaming on the radiators, perfect!

Link to the blog where  '52 weeks of Happy' started. Each week you find just four things that have made you happy to share.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Over the last three or four years we have noticed more and more goldfinches visiting our garden.  They tended to arrive in little family groups usually three or four at a time and feed only from the nyger seed feeder we'd provided for them.   However, over the last few days that all seems to have changed.  They now feed on the sunflower hearts as well and yesterday we counted a least a dozen gathered at the two feeding stations we have around the garden, taking turns to land on the perches and feed at the containers.

They are such colourful little birds with their red faces and yellow striped wings.  I love the way they hang onto the perches with great  determination whilst every so often looking around them to check for any danger.

They have definitely got more daring in their pursuit of food as they spend ages on the feeders just outside our conservatory window as well as on the main feeders.  They seem to have cornered this little area of the garden for themselves as the only other visitors so close to the house are the coal tits and the robins.  When they eat the sunflower hearts they lose quite a few of them as their little pointed beaks are more suited to thistle and teasel seed but they seem to have adapted to manage sunflower hearts too.

The blackbirds tend to wait underneath the feeders to catch what the little birds throw down or can't quite manage but this little goldfinch seems to have cottoned on to that food supply too! 

At this time of year I tend to top up the feeders twice a day as we have quite a lot of sparrows feeding in our garden too mainly, we think, because they have the safety of  hedges on two sides of the garden which protect them from the sparrowhawk which occasionally flies over.    It is such a pleasure to watch all the birds that visit our garden even the raucous starlings who swoop down in gangs and devour everything in sight.

The weekend after next 26th and 27th January is the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch and I've registered on line to participate as I have done for several years now.  Here is a  link  to the RSPB's website if you want to join in.  Yesterday as we sat drinking  mugs of morning coffee in the conservatory we saw about twelve goldfinches, fifteen sparrow, eight blackbirds, a song thrush, a chaffinch, a robin, a couple of coal tits, a dunnock and several wood pigeon - I'm guessing they will all be hiding when we come to do our hour's recording!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week two

Just four little things that have made me happy or made me smile this week

Goldfinches in the tree and on the feeder close to the conservatory window where I sit with my morning coffee - if the window wasn't there I could almost touch them.  There were four of them but I only managed to capture three in the photo.

On Thursday there was a little pile of post for me which plopped through the post box just as I was reading e-mails from a couple of friends, one of which made me laugh out loud a couple of times.  By snail mail came a lovely gift from a blogging friend, a thoughtful card from another one and a long letter from an old school friend.  You all read this blog so thank you once again!

A few days ago we ventured out to walk at Consall Nature Park and as we turned into one of the narrow lanes down into the village a hare shot across the road and then ran a little way along the side of the road before heading off into the trees and bushes at the side of the road.  It was wonderful to see it as I love hares - hence my rather bad photo of our small collection of prints which hangs on the bedroom wall.

Danish political drama 'Borgen' back on TV for a second series and same as  with  'The Killing'  I'm hooked again!

Link to the blog where  '52 weeks of Happy'  where each week you find just four things that have made you happy started.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

In the Woods

If you go down to the woods today

You're sure of a big surprise

The deer will hide

before running away

'cos strange things are up in the skies.

(With apologies to Jimmy Kennedy who wrote the lyrics of the song  'Teddy Bear's Picnic' for
slightly misusing his words.)

Monday, January 07, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week One

I found out about this idea on Louise's blog and decided it was just the sort of thing I would like to join in with.  Louise also found the blog where this idea originated so I have made a link to this too.  I have a few photos I took last week so I'll post those today and then another four at the weekend so I'm in tune with the weeks of the year.

All you have to do is each week take four photos of four things from that week that have made you happy, just the simplest things that have made you smile, and then post them.  I always find new year a bit gloomy so this will be just the thing to lift the spirits. 

Here are my four things

A walk in our local park on New Year's Day!  The thing that made me really happy though was the fact that for once it wasn't raining and there was even a little sunshine!

Making marmalade!  Normally we wait for the Seville oranges to come into the shops later this month but a couple of months ago in Lakeland we saw a tin of Seville oranges ready prepared for turning into marmalade.  As we were halfway down our last jar from last year I decided to give it a try.  I just had to add water and sugar and about 40 minutes later I was potting it up.  It actually did what it said on the tin.  I may try it again when we need some more.

Spotting the cayuga duck on the lake at Trentham Gardens!  We look for it every time we walk round the lake.  A couple of years ago someone let about 15 young cayuga ducks loose on the lake and they were there for a few weeks but gradually over the first year all but two disappeared.  Halfway through last year only one was left and I'm pleased to say, it's still there.

Having the latest Elly Griffiths novel on my kindle!  I never thought I'd be saying those words as I was adamant I wasn't ever going to have a kindle or any other e-reader but I'm quite enjoying it.  I've only had it a few weeks and already I've read a gripping novel by a local author whose books are only available for e-readers and have enjoyed reading it.  I've also downloaded a collection of 11 novels by Elizabeth von Arnim for the mighty sum of £1.96  plus The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett for free.   I have two library books to read, I'm still going to support the local library just the same as always, then I will read Dying Fall.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Into 2013

I'm never very good with New Year, I always find it quite a sad and reflective time so I just switch off, curl up with a good book or DVD perhaps drink a glass of wine and let it all happen.  Last night the local fireworks became my lullaby;  this morning I was woken about 6a.m. by the urban foxes calling to each other.  Today the sun is out and the constant rain of yesterday has gone, for now.  I think a long walk to revive the spirits and blow away the cobwebs is in order.  

To mark the start of the New Year I decided to pick one photo for each month of last year.  Choosing just one photo was quite a hard thing to do but I hope the ones I've chosen given an overall impression of the things we've seen and the places we've been in 2012

January to June

July to December

With my best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy and peaceful 2013 and a big thank you, too for all your kind comments on my last post