Moving Up

(a story of small families)

The Cayuga duckling hatched all by herself and was a bit lonely

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So a kind neighbour donated two Muscovies to keep her company

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and today they had to leave our house for one of their own

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where they got very excited about being able to eat wood shavings

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This meant that the hen chicks who had been living there for the last month

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and were getting a bit big for their boots

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had to move outdoors

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for a treat of raspberries

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This meant that Claire with the two chicks she hatched

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had to relinquish the area they had enjoyed roaming

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visiting the rabbits

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and rejoin her flock

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(somehow “losing” the male youngster on the way)

where she quickly bagged the best roosting spot

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June in Bloom

As the month comes to an end, a roundup of some recent blossomings…

In the early spring, when the outside world is not very hospitable, there is a temptation to home everything in polytunnels. Then, come June, they are starting to burst

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These candulas should have been outside, in here they need coralling to keep them in their place

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In winter the perennial sweet pea completely recedes into the ground but by the end of June it would have taken over the whole polytunnel if permitted

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It will definitely have to move outside before next year. Meanwhile it gives a continual supply of cut flowers

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This is the arch of fragrance

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where roses and honeysuckle combine into a heady mix.

The lake margins are studded with jewels

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and the bullrush is producing heads after not doing so last year

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Behind the lake we raised a bank to catch the sun and included plants to help our bees, who live nearby

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They are now well established and hold their own amid the grass

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This patch of birdsfoot trefoil has arrived by itself on a nearby bank

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and foxgloves pop-up everywhere

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Pansies are always a welcome sight

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Strong colours mark this part of the year, be it campanula blue

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or loosestrife yellow

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Too Hot… for Rabbits

A couple of rather warm days

temp graph

Rabbits need ice-water bottles

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and time for all to vacate indoor quarters

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Anna’s litter enjoy a bit of extra space, indoors…

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with ramp…

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to outdoors…

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That space is not available for all so some indoor houses are moved outside

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in a cool North facing prospect

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where Heidi’s young litter can get some cooler air

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Rabbit Report

After a load of palava and song and dance three out of the four does have eventually managed to produce offspring.

First off was Easter, who only managed to produce one (visible) kit

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By being an only child, Comet has asserted an identity which makes it harder to label her “freezer”. She has also required vet attention (ie bills) to correct an ingrowing eyelash

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which is now healing nicely. So currently she is down as a replacement breeding doe – for Lettuce who has shown no interest at all in the whole breeding thing.

Next up was Anna with a litter of four, here two weeks ago

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and thriving a week later

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And then there is Heidi

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who has been through a couple of rounds of ripping out her fur to make nests and exhibiting highly temperamental pre-natal behaviour.

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This week she actually managed to produce – eight at birth with seven survivors

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So now the veg patch has a section for growing rabbit food

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(with protection against The Wrong Kind Of Rabbit)

Size is Relative

The juvenile woodpecker

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seems small to its parents, but when it comes to feed all the other birds keep clear.

The “small” Blue Tit looks bigger than its parent

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a big mouth is the way to get fed.

All chicks are small but some a smaller than others

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says Hubble the hobbled, now holding her own.

Outside, the older teenagers, while larger

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are cultivating the mean scrawny look.

Bees might be small but a Bumble Bee

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is a big bee.

We tend to see the big small things, whether they are beetles

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or moths

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Although this Elephant Hawk moth doesn’t need to claim the name of such a large mammal in order to prove its point.

The vast majority of living creatures who live here are much, much smaller than any of these.

Home Schooling

It is learning time at Gribin Isaf

Anna’s four kits have had their security bed removed

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They look a little lost

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“No time for sulking” says Anna “time to come next door”

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“Listen carefully – you need to learn to feed yourself. I know water is not as good as milk, but you need to move on”

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“Well done”

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“Now it is time to try some proper food”

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Later in the day (hence the low light photos) another family is trying the same thing:

“I am hungry, but I can’t see any food anywhere”

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“Don’t know what this stuff is”

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“No, I can’t get the hang of it”

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“Can someone come and help?”

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“Ah, now this I do understand”

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“I didn’t ask you to help my sister though”

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Veg box filling

We seem to have been more organised with our veg growing this year, getting more ground under control and keeping to a sowing plan – although note for next year is just because a packet contains 150 seeds doesn’t mean they all have to be sown.

The greenhouse is thinning out a bit

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as seedlings move out. The chillies are going to stay here this year

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The small polytunnel has a good round of salad on the go

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plus the fig is fruiting

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Outside beds are filling up

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Courgettes getting going

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Runners are grasping their poles

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Next door, the broad beans

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and French beans making a start

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Trying to stop the raspberries escaping

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The birds will probably get to the gooseberries before we do

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The large polytunnel is filling up

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Keeping tomato plants trained

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first ones coming into flower

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We have had to create a new overflow bed for flowers

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Also today the blue tit brood nearest to the house fledged

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