Friday, 19 August 2011

Bugged by inconsistency

It's official, I'm thoroughly inconsistent. Yesterday I was delighted to find that the hens view earwigs with voracious enthusiasm. Then I came in and spent ten minutes rescuing and trying to photograph a grasshopper. You can see it if you peer closely at the middle of the picture. It's a field grasshopper, chorthippus brunneus, I think.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Time marches on

Two  months since I've been here! Obviously, life is so uneventful that there is simply nothing to say, I'm just swimming serenely along with my feathers only slightly ruffled by a passing breeze - or else, it has been so frantic that I haven't had time to sit and write. And it's the latter, I'm afraid, there's just too much to try to fit into the day - it doesn't matter how hard you try to organise work, noting schedules and deadlines and calculating to be sure that one job will be finishing as another arrives: authors don't work like that, and it all manages to come along at once. Add in a funding emergency, and that's it - the garden is utterly neglected, apart from four courgette plants limping along anaemically. What is wrong with them I can't imagine, except that it was cold and wet when they were planted. True, the strawberries have been tremendous, and the one cucumber was delicious. I don't mind that only two of the hens have been laying properly, because we still have more than enough eggs (who's got time to cook?).

I've been pleased, too, with the dozen pelargoniums I bought as plug plants, which are all growing healthily, and the sweet peas are a pleasure. If I haven't seen many butterflies, I've enjoyed the moths at dusk, and we've had an influx of scarily large beetles (as yet unidentified: I think some kind of ground beetle, and yes, I do know what they are not - not stag beetles or chafers; this is a beetle I haven't met before, and no, I didn't take its photograph...). Earlier in the month we heard quail calling, which was exciting, and the grey partridges creak away in the evenings. For a week or so, a red-legged partridge took to yelling its head off on a fencepost in the paddock. Was it trying to intimidate the hens? Or just out-shriek the competition? One morning I woke about 5 because there was so much noise outside my window - it was five blackbirds on the lawn, all scolding a partridge which was looking singularly unimpressed.

The most pleasure has come from a family of garden warblers who are constantly a-flutter around the house, tiny delicate birds with heavy eye-makeup and personalities out of all proportion to their scale, and the swallows - all day the sky is alive with them and the count of the phone lines is up to at least 50. OH says that when he is mowing they play chicken with the tractor, actually flying underneath it as it makes its steady progress round the paddock. There is certainly plenty for them to eat.

 And the rain it raineth every day (but at least these streptocarpuses are doing quite well...)