Tuesday, December 28, 2010
"I like animals very much - lovable, dumb chums, loyal, decent and lovely - and if I'd had my way I'd've been reared in a menagerie."
"I really craved the company of animals - the wordless simplicity of it. Even now, with my cat Morrissey, I cherish the moments that I'm absolutely alone with him, and the unrecorded tenderness that no one will ever know of - I don't even feed him that much any more, 'cos Lynne, the housekeeper, does that now. But he seems to want something from me that isn't food, and perhaps that thing is love."
"When I was eleven, I got a gerbil, Barney. I worshipped Barney the way primitive people worshipped the animals they hunted, seeing in the creature a connection to the natural and the divine. My devotion was swiftly rewarded when Barney, with scant regard for his gender, quite brilliantly had a litter of babies. I treasure the memory of these tiny, pink, squirming chipolatas. It was miraculous - like how Christmas should feel."
"It's difficult to believe in yourself because the idea of self is an artificial construction. You are, in fact, part of the glorious oneness of the universe. Everything beautiful in the world is within you. No-one really feels self-confident deep down because it's an artificial idea. Really, people aren't that worried about what you're doing or what you're saying, so you can drift around the world relatively anonymously: you must not feel persecuted and examined. Liberate yourself from that idea that people are watching you."
"For me happiness occurs arbitrarily: a moment of eye contact on a bus, where all at once you fall in love; or a frozen second in a park where it's enough that there are trees in the world"
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I have to confess I've been a teeny weeny bit down in the dumps at not being able to get started with the garden, but I'm telling myself that it will be worth the wait. Anyway, because I have no garden photos, I'm posting ones that I took while out walking today. Part of my walk took place during a 'white-out' - a man stopped to offer me a lift. I told him it was okay, that I was out for a walk to take some photographs and thanked him. "Yer mad," he replied and sped off before I could come up with some witty retort, such as, "Madness is relative" or even accuse him of being mad for driving in such dangerous conditions. Ah well, I enjoyed my walk nevertheless and if it hadn't been for me needing to go to the loo, I'd have stayed out longer.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
|This little nettle is one of my favourite wildflowers in the garden. Growing at the base of a birch tree, it produces a neat bushy plant and the flowers provide early food for bees. I think it looks very pretty, especially intermingled with the Geranium Johnson's Blue.|
|Seeing the garden like this in its full glory reminds me of all the happy days spent in it, or just watching the wildlife from behind the windows - the frogs, mice and all the different birds and insects. The house we're moving into is smaller and will be more economical to run, but it has a garden to three sides of it and I know that we'll spend many happy years there too. It's only a few minutes walk from this house so I'm hoping that we'll get the same birds visit us at our new garden. I'm not sure what distances they travel to feed but I'm hoping it's within their boundary. We have really appreciated the pleasure that the garden and its inhabitants have given us - I hope that the next people who come to live here respect and care for it.|
Friday, October 15, 2010
8) I had wanted to call my first-born son 'Jason', which was a really cool name in the late sixties/early seventies. However, my mother got her way (as she always does) and he was named Jon-Paul. She must have been a visionary because this name has become a popular choice in the past few years. Feeling piqued at having given in to mum's choice, I got a kitten and called it Jason - Jason turned out to be a girl cat! I still called her Jason though. :D
The rule of The Versatile Blogger Award states that I have to forward it on to 10 more bloggers. If I had my way, I'd award this back to Ethelmae, but I don't think she'd thank me for it somehow! She has brought me much pleasure and laughter with her blog posts. Thank you Ethelmae. Anyway, without further ado, here are the numbskulls..... er, I mean nominees:-
1. Gf, sorry - you're it again! Go here to enter the world of Greenfingers at his blog, A Gardener's Life in Motion. Gf truly is a versatile writer - he can take any subject ..... and I mean any subject, and make it a literary gem!
2. Everyday Goddess is here. This blogger can turn her hand to anything .... poetry, fiction and simply telling it how it is. A must read.
3. Phil's the man.... and we're priviliged to have him belong to County Durham.... nah nah nahnah nah :D He's a botanist, author and university lecturer at Durham University. Take yourself here and here to poach some of Phil's vast store of knowledge at two of his blogs, Cabinet of Curiosities and A Digital Botanic Garden.
4. You need to go here to catch up on the shenanigans of John at Sedgedunum Warbler. John is very committed to the blooms and beasties of the world and he always manages to make me smile with his funny posts. He's a terrific photographer too.
5. Visit Helen here at her blog, Downland Views. She's not afraid to get down and dirty with all the work on the land that she does. Her lifestyle sounds idyllic but hard work and it's a pleasure to read her posts.
6. If you like photography, visit Adrian's blog here at Adrian's Images. I never appreciated fungi so much till I saw Adrian's photos of them! He always manages to come up with something beautiful, exciting and unusual - a real visual treat...... er, I'm talking about his photographs peeps! This is the effect Adrian has on me - his latest post is about flashing. :O)
7. Visit Syd here at his blog I'm just F.I.N.E. -- Recovery in Al-Anon. Syd writes about many things.... his journey in Al-Anon, the things he gets up to in his retirement, his garden and his pets, etc. He writes with understanding and empathy and I always feel a warm buzz when I've looked in on Syd.
8. You'll find Michael and his blog, Spice of Life here. This man has been everywhere! I've enjoyed the many locations he writes about from my comfy computer chair.... mind you, with his fantastic photographs and the way Michael describes the locations, I want to be there for real!
9. You must pop into David's blog, Orchids, Nature and my Outdoor Life. You'll find it here. David writes about his wonderful garden and posts equally wonderful photographs of it. He's also a very keen walker and I love the posts he does about that and the magnificent photos, especially of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
10. For a sheer visual delight, go here to see Andrea's colourful photographs of the exotic flowers and landscapes she writes about in her blog, Andrea In This Lifetime.
That's it *takes a bow* - curtains close ...... now off you go and get acquainted with all these fab blogs!
Monday, October 4, 2010
The old railway station at HunwickThis building used to be the railway station serving Hunwick, and is now somebody's lovely home. It doesn't appear to have changed that much though, and it's quite easy to imagine travellers waiting on the platform for the train to arrive. My dad and his brothers would have boarded the train here on their trips to Durham and Bishop Auckland, as his family belonged to Hunwick after moving from Ireshopeburn in Weardale.
The Oak Tree at Rough Lea Farm, HunwickJust off the railway line is Rough Lea Farm. My dad's best friend lived here when he was a child and it was a working farm then. They used to climb this tree which is hundreds of years old. Rough Lea Farm no longer belongs to that family as they have all passed on and it's since been transformed into a very posh residence, but it's lovely to see the big oak tree still there. Children are seemingly still enjoying it as there's a rope ladder hanging from one of its branches.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Every morning, one of the first things I do is go on to the patio to throw some food out for the birds."I'll just finish this and then clean up that poopsie one of the dogs has left," I thought, still dazed and bleary-eyed - that is ..... until I noticed the 'poopsie' was moving. :O)
"Oh! It's one of those big orange slugs," I thought to myself as I took a closer look. On googling I found that it is the orange form of the large black slug. There's some more information here.
I measured him and he was 6 inches (15.5 cm) long, but he could extend himself up to 7 3/4 inches (20 cm) if he wanted to.
I laid a fuchsia flower beside him to illustrate his proportions. He showed a little interest in the flower before heading off behind a large flower pot.
When I was googling for information on slugs, much of it comprised of methods on how to kill them. I'm horrified at many of the suggestions and wonder at the kind of people who could carry out such grisly actions.
This particular slug, I discovered, prefers to feed on rotting vegetation rather than living plants which is probably why I have since noticed him hanging out round the compost bin. As you might guess, you wont find any Hostas in our garden - though I'm considering growing one or two as a treat for 'our' sluggies! I have to say that the slugs in our garden have been kind to us and have never caused any destruction to the plants. Maybe it's because of all the frogs that live here...... or maybe it's because I'm such an untidy gardener that there is always plenty of available foodstuffs already provided for them.
I liked this.
(Taken from Hill-Stead's Nature Blog by Dianne Tucker.)
"Slugs can stretch themselves up to twenty times their original length, enabling them to fit into tight spaces. Their slime is laid down in a continuous trail that they can retrace to a satisfying food source. Their friends and relatives can follow it too. Snails have an interrupted slime line."
You can read the full blog post and the rest of the poem here.
Some random facts about slugs.
* There are between 50,000 and 200,00 plus mollusc species alive in the world today. Many species have yet to be discovered and many recently discovered species are yet to be identified and named.
* It travels at a speed of 2 feet in 43 seconds.
* When slugs' teeth wear out, new rows move forward to replace them, conveyor-belt style.
* They have 25,000 teeth.
* Only 5% of the slug population appears above ground at any one time.
* Slugs have four noses!
* They can live up to 6 years.
* If a slug loses an eye or an ear stalk, it can be grown back.
* A slug's blood is green.
* A slug lays 20-100 eggs several times a year. They can lie dormant in the soil for years until conditions are right for them to hatch.
Final word because I love this. :)
"Slug slime is a natural anaesthetic. If you lick a slug enough, your tongue will go numb. In fact, some Native Americans used to put slugs in their mouths when they had toothache and let them crawl around. I don't recommend licking a slug because I'm sure it's not good for them."
I love that! A person after my own heart. :)
Taken from Tser's 'All About Slugs' which is here.