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Saturday, 21 May 2016

A paddling of ducklings


We have had a couple of ducks nesting in a tree in the garden - who knew ducks nested in trees? I didn't! So yesterday, there was a big commotion up there, lots of rustling and quacks, and all of a sudden it started raining ducklings. Out of the tree they tumbled. Mama duck had obviously decided that this was the day her brood needed to get out into the world. So they picked themselves up with a little fluff of baby feathers, and set off behind Mama

The first obstacle was these steps - under construction. Mama hopped up, the babies gathered in a chirping little huddle at the base of the steps.....




Mama quacked encouragement, but there was no way those little things were going to climb those steps, so we carefully lifted them up, one by one....



 and off they set again.......



I opened the gate at the top of the garden which leads down a steep bank to the canal. Mama got very excited at the sight of the water, and flew down the bank, leaving her chirping brood at the top. They took a few tentative steps, then all rolled and tumbled all the way down to the water - it was hilarious to watch, like a load of little kids rolling down a grassy bank


Papa duck was swimming around waiting for his family to arrive. He started quacking quite loudly - I think he was saying 'for heaven's sake  get those kids under control'


Eventually, they all hopped into the water, and off they set - the babies took to swimming like, well, ducks to water!


It was such a special little episode, I had to share it. I just hope they remember how we helped them, and come back to nest with us next year

Friday, 20 May 2016

Not such green fingers.....

So the garden is taking shape, slowly, very very slowly, but it has gone from this.......


To seeing Paul, our very patient landscaper getting almost to the end of the marathon.....


and in the meantime, I have developed a sudden and quite inexplicable obsession with gardening. Now you must understand that I haven't a clue what I am doing. There were lots of large shrubs in the area that has been paved over, so I dug them up and planted them in other parts of the garden. 

Then I watched Gardeners World on the TV, which told me that you should put a few handfuls of compost or something into the hole you have dug for the shrub. So I rushed out and bought the stuff, pulled the poor shrubs back out of the ground, added the compost stuff and put them back. Poor things.....

Especially when, a few days later, as the landscaping progressed, I thought 'hmm, I think I planted this yellow bush in the wrong place', out it came again to be replanted in a totally different spot. So far, everything seems quite perky, even the plants that were uprooted three times before they reached their final resting place look okay, but I bet if plants have any sort of sensors, they want to curl up and die when they see me approach with my little trowel in my hand

The other thing I have learnt is that some plants that I have been nurturing - great big tall spiky things, I gave them a good feed of fertiliser - turn out to be a rather nasty weed. Well, how was I to know? And how is it that garden plants that you have to nurse along as if they are babies, fertilising them, watering them, staking them, grow at a snails pace, whereas weeds that get no attention at all, spread like a wildfire and grow at a staggering speed.

The final thing I have discovered (well, apart from the fact that you can spend the equivalent of the gross national income of a small country just in one visit to a garden center) is that someone invented gardening gloves as a necessity, not as a fashion accessory. I tend to forget this, so my nails (never my best feature) and hands now look as if I have taken a new job helping those guys who are permanently restructuring our motorways. 

Finally for today, it's Max's ninth birthday today, here is the card I made for him - suitably quirky I hope. Milo was seven yesterday. Happy birthday boys!   



Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Gardens and Glue....

So I have been a bit busy...the garden is being landscaped. Who would have thought it would take so much effort to choose new paving...


That filled in fish pond that we inherited had to go....




So now it's gone - but not before a boulder the size of Stonhenge was dug out, and they unearthed the foundations of some ancient building that also had to be dug out. Let's hope we haven't destroyed a major archaeological find and dug up the foundations of a Roman villa or an Egyptian tomb - no, I'm being silly now....

So this is still a work in progress, I will update proudly when it's finished


Then Max and Milo came up for Sunday lunch with their parents. The boys and I spent a happy afternoon in my den, painting and making apples for their teachers. Much glue was spilt in the making of these apples, but they were so proud of their efforts. Max had watched my YouTube video on making little pumpkins, and wanted to try, so we adapted it to apples. He also said 'if you don't make more videos soon Ma, I am going to have to unfollow you'


and lastly for today, a quick card idea. A single white punched butterfly, stacked on top of six different coloured punched butterflies. A doodled trail, a scattering of gems, and you are done!