The ‘Nature’ category:

Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain.

April 26th, 2012

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It’s raining.

It started 10th April and it hasn’t stopped.

Not just rain but mega downpours. And hail, hail the size of, er, normal hail stones.

And the weather forecast says it’s going to keep on raining forever. And gales on Sunday.

Maybe it’s time to move on. Hawaii has nice weather doesn’t it?


Blossom, blossom everywhere!

April 7th, 2012

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No silly post this time, just a few pictures of the blossom in our garden: peach, plum, pear and cherry.

Cherry blossom

Cherry blossom

Peach blossom

Peach blossom

Plum blossom

Have you ever hugged a tree in earnest?

January 27th, 2012

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I hadn’t, until today.

Since we’re nearing the end of January I thought it about time to take down our Christmas lights that were stylishly wrapped around a tree at the front of the house. During the removal process I found myself with my arms around the trunk of the tree and I thought to myself, “Do those people people call tree huggers actually hug trees? And if they do, I wonder what it’s like.”

There was no-one around so I gave the tree a hug. Its trunk is covered in moss so it was nice and soft. I stayed there for a little while, attempting to determine whether or not I could sense any sort of spiritual connection with the tree, letting my mind empty as I pricked up my psychic ears.

I’m sorry to report nothing unusual happened other than I later found a small spider in my hair.

What’s this mushroom? UPDATE

October 31st, 2011

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We spotted this weird mushroom whilst out on a bike ride. It’s shaped just like a witch’s hat with a black cap, a thin white stem and white blotches. A perfect halloween mushroom!

I’d have thought it would be a doddle to identify but I simply can’t find out what it is. Anyone out there know?

PS I realise this looks fake but I assure you it’s 100% genuine.

UPDATE It’s a magpie ink cap (Coprinus picaceus). Thanks to Liz for putting me on the right track.


Some of the leaves are brown

October 13th, 2011

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Milo, Spooky and I went for a walk this morning. It was a lovely sunny day and the colours of the trees were beautiful. I think it might be Autumn.

Hornet death trap

October 11th, 2011

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Followers of Free range adventure on Facebook will be familiar with my slight obsession with hornets.

When we first arrived I was horrified to spot one buzzing around a rotten fence post, massive and loud and scary. During the following few months I became accustomed to them but would still shudder when I saw one close up. Then there was the nest in the chimney incident in which I donned protective clothing and sprayed them to death; I still have nightmares about that.

More recently, with the nights starting sooner, I noticed the hornets flying around in the dark and bumping noisily into the house. From inside the house I watched as they bumped over and over into the window trying to get in. What were they doing? Were they trying to get me as I’d feared all along!? I looked up ‘hornet behaviour’ on Google and discovered that their fearsome reputation is a little misleading and that they’re more like bees, happy to go about their business unless they’re attacked. Since then I’ve not been so anxious and have spent several days working right next to them without the slightest problem, me fixing up the roof on the little house, them chewing on the grapes on the vine that’s attached to the little house. I didn’t bother them and they didn’t bother me.

However, I still find them gross, and I do not want to get stung by one, regardless of what the hornet fans say on the Internet. One of the wasp catchers I’d set up previously had become overrun by hornets about 4 weeks ago. You can see the result above. It’s revolting. There must be a couple of hundred in there, the top layer of them is still alive – you can see that in the video below. Corrie feels sorry for them and I should too but I simply don’t. And anyway, they seem to really enjoy their last meal.

Slimy wildlife

April 25th, 2011

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Whilst heading down to shut the chickens up for the night I spotted a frog in the beam of my torch. Stepping to one side to avoid squashing it I noticed another frog… and a big toad. And then I spotted two beautiful red and lime-green salamanders slowly crawling along the base of the wall. One of the little frogs, in getting away from me, ended up sitting on a salamander’s tail. It didn’t seem to bother either of them.

I’ve looked all over the internet to identify these creatures and it would seem that I’ve discovered a new ‘make’. As their discoverer I shall name them Laser Ninja Salamanders.

Unless you know what they are of course.

Foraging in the Haute-Vienne

April 17th, 2011

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We set off down the lane to the woods after lunch, armed with ‘Wild Food For Free’ and ‘River Cottage Handbook Hedgerow’ along with a bucket and a couple of knives. Our aim was to collect as many edible plants as possible.

I’ve always liked the idea of foraging but never actually tried it, so I was quite excited to finally be living the dream. We’d only got about 10 metres from the house before we spotted something interesting. After flicking through the books we thought we’d discovered some wild thyme. A little further on we got some horseradish. And then the finds just kept on coming: garlic mustard; cowslip; wintercress; broom; dandelion; nettle. We saw common tansy in a field but the barbed wire put us off getting some. And I don’t think wheat really counts.

We had a lovely walk and it was fun to look around identifying and learning about different plants. The only trouble is that whenever I’m out now my eyes are darting from weed to weed… and not paying attention to the road.