Sunday, 13 January 2013

Road Closed

After  lot of campaigning by some residents to slow down traffic down the lane where I live they are now going to install some "sleeping policemen".  At the moment there is a 30 miles speed limit which is going to be reduced to 20 and there are already 3 narrowed sections of the road which have give way signs and single file traffic.  I suppose we should be happy about this as we often have to brake hard when driving out of our cul-de-sac onto the lane as cars come round the blind bend rather fast.  Also our previous cat was hit by a car and killed on the lane.  The problem is the only other way to get out if the entrance to the lane is closed means a detour of about 3 miles along badly maintained country lanes.  This time of year that could be made much worse if it happens to snow!  We might be isolated for 3 weeks!  Please send food parcels!

January Walk

Sunny afternoon so time to get back into the exercise.  Not too much though just a slow walk of less than 2 miles to take some photos.   First stop the lake to see the swans.  Quite a while since my last update. The 3 cygnets are almost as big as their parents now.

Both parents and one of the cygnets were pulling at twigs, maybe in preparation for nest building.  Couldn't see any nest site yet but they were picking up twigs and moving them.

This is mum 

I think dad was trying to pull up a tree root

Not to be outdone one of the cygnets was also collecting twigs.  Maybe not big enough for mating yet so perhaps he will help mum and dad build theirs.

Walked up to the churchyard as I know there are usually snowdrops there.  I wasn't disappointed.

Also daffodils are getting tall and shouldn't be long before they are in flower

There are some very big old trees in the churchyard and some have bird and bat boxes fixed to them.

Below is a picture of the church, St Michael and All Angels Church in Llantarnam.

At the back of the church I saw a daffodil in someone's garden which is almost open which is very early!

I continued my walk homewards past Llantarnam Abbey which is home to the Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy and in the 19th Century was home to Reginald James Blewitt MP.

A sad site met me on the last leg of my journey, a squirrel that must have been hit by a car.  It was in the same place that my daughter stopped several years ago after seeing one lying injured in the road. She got out of the car to help it and it bit her hard on the finger and wouldn't let go.  She came home dripping blood shortly after leaving to go out.  Sadly this one was beyond help

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Christmas Raffle

Going back to December now.  Just before Christmas I called in the Charity shop where I volunteer one morning a week.  Hadn't been working for while since having an operation on my foot in November so I called in to say Happy Christmas.   I just called in in time to buy tickets for the staff raffle.  Then I went off to do my shopping.

Half way round Asda my phone rang asking me to call back in the shop.  When I got there I was surprised to learn I had won both prizes in the raffle. First was a Christmas cake and second a hand knitted blanket.  Both had been made by volunteers.  Apparently the first ticket drawn was for the cake which I won and there were 3 different tickets drawn for the blanket and none of them wanted it.  So 4th ticket drawn was mine.  I wasn't saying no to the lovely blanket but I did decline the cake as nobody in the family likes it.

I was going to give the blanket to my baby granddaughter but as she is still in a cot and doesn't need it yet I decided to hold onto it.  It is single bed size but just covers to top of my daughter's double bed so it can stay there for now.

 Close up of pattern below. Must have taken hours of work. 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Bird nesting boxes

Today I emptied my bird boxes ready to clean them out before replacing them in the garden ready for spring.  Last year there were lots of earwigs and wood lice in them.   The first one I opened today had no insects in it.   Then I realised why when a rather large spider came crawling out of the nest. He had been feasting well since the birds left.

 This is the larger nest where the spider had been living.  It was nice and dry and made mainly of moss and feathers.  You can see some white cotton in there which I must have dropped in the garden when sewing outside in the summer.  Also in this one there were several filter tips from cigarettes which I think maybe the window cleaner had dropped in the garden.  It is surprising what they use for nesting materials. Last year I found what seemed to be horse hair in one of them.  I think both nests this year were made by bluetits.

The second nest was quite a bit smaller and very damp.  A big colony of woodlice had taken residence in the box.  Like the other this was mainly moss and small feathers.  The rain must have managed to get into it and the inside of the box has some white waxy looking substance in it which I think must be some kind of fungus. Perhaps I will need to buy a new one for this year.  I do have a robin nest box I bought at Christmas so maybe I can put that up instead.

This is the inside of nest box. The white substance is also on the base of the box outside.  I will let it dry out and see if I can remove it .