Refugee refound

Some time ago a severely injured female blackbird arrived outside. She had lost one leg, one wing was not working and she was generally roughed up. We thought she must have been a narrow escape from a sparrow hawk.

For weeks she crouched in the woodshed, feeding from fruit and grain we put down. She made the occasional lopsided foray outside before hastily returning to base.

Then she disappeared. Life is not kind to a disabled bird, particularly in the breeding season.

And then today, six weeks later, she was spotted in the strawberry patch
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Somehow – with one leg and tatty miscoloured feathers she has found a niche.

Come the evening we look out
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and others look in
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Butterfly count

Like the rest of the UK we are aware of the reduction in butterlies we see. Indeed all insects are in peril, butterflies tend to get noticed (or noticed for not being there)

Earlier in the year Green-veined Whites were over our meadow in some numbers and that is now the turn of Ringlets
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Apart from that we have seen a solitary Meadow Brown
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cne Peacock and a pair of Red Admirals.

The Heat continues and today one of the ducks took to snoozing in the bath
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The Guinea Pigs have completed their transhumance
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and we have decided not to consign the latest broody to a naughty box. Instead she has been moved to maternity quarters
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to await some hastily ordered hatching eggs.

The only ploughing round here is for reseeding pastures
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and a lot of it seems to be going on at the moment – a dubious activity.

This is a birthday present awaiting configuration
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Also seen today
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Time Out

Is it through having spent too much life in the world of primary education that weather extremes – snow, high winds… and heat – are a reason to abandon the normal and allow in the lord of misrule?

Doors and windows stay open all night, instead of clearing up at the end of the day things are just left outside and above all there is a sense that nothing really matters.

How we feel the weather, as with everything else, depends on the story we choose to tell ourselves. Currently stories are in conflict: we remember golden summers from the past, the like we thought we would not see again; then we wonder if long hot dry periods followed by a succession of strong storms are the emerging pattern of the future…

Meanwhile all we can do is experience each moment to its fullest – as food is created in front of our eyes…

Courgettes and squash are notoriously prolific but for some reason we decided to grow ours in the polytunnel this year and so magnified their expansion
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We have to collect the strawberries each day and are forced to eat them before they over ripen
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Tomatoes are coming
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Peas and beans on the way
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Beetroot ready
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It will be a race against the Blackbirds for the soft fruit
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The Kale is well locked down
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As soon as crops are eaten
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we quickly re-sow
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We can pretend we are surrounded by tropical flowerings
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and each day, as the sun finally recedes, it sends parting shafts
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Here is one creature we greet each morning as it (or they) to and fro from a chosen home
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Another story is that what is really happening all around is a desperate attempt to keep going. This Blackbird, presumably on its second brood, does not give way on the short cut grass as each moment is needed for pulling out worms for the waiting brood.
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The fruit trees echo that story – lets get the fruiting done then we can go to sleep for the winter
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The sheep just keep their heads down and hope for the best
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Light and Heat

It is possible we live in a place called East Wales. We certainly live in East Mid-Wales. You can see why we might have an identity crisis.

East Wales was today declared the hottest of the hot and for here the hottest ever.

The cloud free sky gives us maximum light and tonight as the sun passes on

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The full moon takes on the task of illumination

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The heat and light give intensity to the senses…

smell:
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contrast:
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and colour:
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plus…
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Hot, and getting hotter

This is the pigs’ response to the weather

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mind you, it is their response to most things.

But we are enjoying the bounty

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Strawberries need harvesting daily

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but thanks to our good friend who you can find here we know that if they are put in jelly they don’t have to be eaten immediately

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Some things are sown and seemingly eaten within days

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the pay-off for other activities is so long in the future that it almost gets forgotten…

Having harvested elderflower

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for “champagne”

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we move on to using some for wine

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and then remember we have demijohns from last year awaiting bottling

We add six bottles of elderflower wine to our store – plus thirty each of blackcurrant and damson

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Rabbit Proof Fence

We normally watch Gardeners World on Friday but this week we did not get round to it until this evening when we found that Monty Don had made rabbit protection just like the one we constructed today
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except that ours is better – his did not have a stile.
Our is to protect herbs. Rabbit numbers seem up at the moment
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This one is pretending to eat grass but as soon as we are not looking it will be sampling our vegetables.

The strange weather combinations we have had so far this year have resulted in abundant growth. The house is weighted down by wisteria, roses and honeysuckle
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The swallows were late and reduced in number but we now have one brood in the shed
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We have young woodpeckers around – a little bit clueless, maybe due to having lost a parent to the Sparrowhawk. This one is thinking about having a bath
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Muscovy ducks are said to be good mothers in spite of having a longer than average incubation period. We have Muscovies by accident and Cagney has gone broody only getting up once a day for a wash and brush-up
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The problem is, she is sitting on just two eggs
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Other moments from today

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and the curtain call
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