Saturday 27 June 2020

100 Days - day forty seven Family

I picked up my computer while waiting for my tea to brew and found myself looking at the random posts that Blogger tells me people have visited in the last week. One of them was this post from October 2012 when we all descended on my sister for a surprise birthday gathering. Looking at the photo I was overwhelmed with a feeling of how glad I am that these people are my family. Love you all. Thanks for being part of my life.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Friday 26 June 2020

100 Days - six and 40 Sneak Peek

First off, just look at the Osprey chicks!!!

I have a very sore knuckle from lots of scrubbing and scraping, but things are coming on, despite the unbearable heat. Sneak peek at the walls, taken at twilight:
The walls had to be scraped down with wire brushes to remove loose debris (Monkey did help with that bit). Then I scrubbed them clean, then rinsed off. Rode all the way to B&Q Tuesday morning to get the paint. I started painting in the afternoon but it was so hot the paint was drying before I could spread it out so I gave up and did some more after dinner. Tish painted early on Wednesday and I finished off last night.
Walls need another coat but it's too hot again today so I scrubbed the green mouldy bits off the back gate so it can be 'treated' (I know you come here for the way exciting photographs):
Another sneak peek at what, hopefully by next week, will be our mini pond:
I can just see that when it's all done the weather will go into steep decline and be too miserable to sit out. I think I may have killed the basil seedlings. I risked putting them outside and it was too hot for them. We got our 'thanks for working so hard in the lockdown' bonus this week; I think the garden centre beckons.

Stay safe. See you at some time in the next couple of days (maybe).

Sunday 21 June 2020

100 Days - 44 I'm still here

It's been a meh week. The days have been long and rather soggy, and I have just been tired. I kept thinking I would write something but not being able to raise the enthusiasm. We had upped our game with the puzzles and I bought a 2000 piece one (sorry can't find link to website). Mostly the pictures are very naff if you try to go bigger, lots of chocolate box cottages and sky, but this one is a fab collage of animals.

Meet Julian, and all his friends. I thought a new name was important to acknowledge my neglect and to start anew with a different routine and better care:
Got back from collections a bit earlier this Sunday so after a recovery cuppa I got around to a bit of pottering. Claire sent some flower seeds and I potted up the basil seedling and some chilli seeds we got years ago from Wahaca. Sat for a while and just enjoyed the fact that everything is looking lush. Going this week to get paint for the walls, then the pond plan can get moving.
I sawed up one of the old pallets that we are going to make into a bug hotel, and then put up these willow trellises that Monkey and I found in Poundland.

Meanwhile, the bay tree is determined that you can't keep a good tree down:

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Garden progress and upcycle

Got up early. Day started badly when I found that I had killed all the Daves. They had been neglected recently and their home had become too wet and compacted. I cleared out all the old rotting food and cleaned the worm bin, and have ordered new worms. Won't beat myself up about it. I planted out the plants I bought last week. The clematis and two others are in the side flower bed alongside the honeysuckle and it is looking transformed already. The Russian sage is in a big pot.
Lots of tiny wildflowers are slowly emerging in various other pots:

About six months ago someone on Derby Road put this doll's bed out by the bins. I had walked passed it dozens of time, but on Saturday I looked at it and thought, 'that would make a brilliant planter', so when I finished the walk I went back and picked it up. Tish and I visited Hulme Community Garden Centre again on Sunday and, rather than get flowers that I had wanted, we bought some herbs. I am completely thrilled with our lovely little herb garden. I tidied and swept the yard and was going to buy paint, but then the rain started again and it's a long bike ride to B&Q so I think that may be another day.

More tree joy. On closer inspection we have a fourth oakling:
And... and... the mango stone in the kitchen is now a baby mango tree!:

Sunday 14 June 2020

100 Days - 42 (the meaning of life)

It's been a busy weekend, what with the bubbling, and doing another long shift of test kit collecting, so a 'proper' thoughtful post will have to wait. Fox cubs not around but here is one of the adults snoozing in Dunk's garden forest (taken from the second floor so it is a bit fuzzy).

Completely gobsmacked to see how much the chicks have grown. They are kind of scrawny and ugly compared to the cute fluffy look of the newly hatched. Here they are flaked out and stuffed full of fish. Been to the Hulme Community Garden Centre twice so will have lots to show you when I have planted out and potted up.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Thursday 11 June 2020

100 Days - day 41 poop

Ever wondered how osprey chicks poop? Well now you know.

Just got a text from Stacey so going to work early so that's all. Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 10 June 2020

100 Days - the big four oh

Came back from my walk this morning to find Monkey most distressed because she felt the tiny chick was not getting their fair share, so we had to watch carefully for several minutes to check that Aila was feeding them all. See how much they have grown already.
This one taken in the park on Sunday trying to capture the drifting tree seeds that had looked like a snow storm the other week before the rain dampened it down. Mainly it just captures the evening light and the lovely shades of green.
Pigeon and squirrel on a tree stump (just because).
Sadly many of the baby birds have not made it. The cootlings have all gone despite one pair appearing to get back on the nest and having another chick. One of the three cygnets died, and then I panicked this morning when we saw only one swimming. Fortunately the other was snoozing on the log while its other parent preened.
And then, surprise surprise, we spotted a duckling. Loads of ducks on the lake but none had seemed interested in reproducing. Tish has taken to going to Platt Fields where the lake is bigger and there are loads of babies.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Monday 8 June 2020

100 Days - nine and 30 : got to keep posting

People on the 30 Days Wild facebook group keep posting lovely photos of moths and spiders with egg sacs and striking flowers and unusual birds, and videos of moose giving birth in their garden. It's lovely but it makes my life feel drab. Here are four 'wild' cats having a bit of a standoff in the back alley, it's the best that Moss Side has to offer in the way of wildlife. Scrawny pigeons and raucous magpies dominate everywhere, the lone robin didn't sit still long enough for me to take a picture.
Which is kind of at odds with the rest of the day because I worked my day off and went on delivery down the bottom end of Didsbury and had a lovely leafy walk along the edge of the Mersey River. I did my second Sunday of collecting test kits yesterday, and having mastered the navigation app on the PDA I had a very stress-free shift and felt I was making some positive contribution, but it feels hard to hold on to it and I mostly come home at the end and just slump. Also confused by my inability to pull myself together.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Saturday 6 June 2020

100 Days - 38 Damp Day

sycamore alexandra park
When I am among the Trees by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go east, to be filled
with light, and to shine.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Friday 5 June 2020

100 Days - day thirty seven

ivy-leaved toadflax
Today is World Environment Day. The planet is currently being destroyed; if you breathe air and drink water this is your problem. So I went and picked up litter in the park, because when you feel powerless what do you do. Despite the pleasures of sauntering across Princess Parkway and enjoying the clean air because of the massive fall in traffic levels (but that's not going to last), the rate of extinction of animal species is still increasing, when they're not burning the amazon they're just chopping it down, and the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is still on the up. 

Julie gave me a whole pile of plants: gooseberry, strawberry, courgette and mint:
And my lovely little oak trees are coming along well:

Reading lots of news today about the protests in America and some army general quoted from a poem that managed to feel appropriate:

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another,
only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Thursday 4 June 2020

100 Days - 36th day : pink hair joy

For the last couple of years I have had a small patch of dyed hair at the nape of my neck, that makes a lovely plait. 
I decided I am ready to wreck the whole of my hair with bleach for the joy of pink hair.
Brown hair:
Bleached hair:
Pink hair:
Three osprey chicks also bring joy:

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 3 June 2020

100 Days - day 35 : busy day

Oh, the wonders of the interweb. 1. Get up with grand plan to finally finish making the living room divider curtain (fabric only purchased about six months ago). 2. Wind more thread on bobbin and thread runs out. 3. Search sewing shops and find that Fred Aldous not only does click and collect but stocks the required colour. 4. So excited to find that I do not have to abandon grand plan that I jump on my bike and ride straight up without waiting for confirmatory email. 5. Wait outside for a few minutes in the drizzle and nice man comes to the door with my thread. 6. Ride home triumphant.
And the rest of the day went swimmingly. I spoke too soon. I failed to appreciated that a full width curtain cannot be drawn back when the curtain pole has a centre support bracket. We tried putting it up without centre support bracket. Not a good idea. Did not wish to attempt to cut huge curtain up the centre. Compromised by moving centre support bracket as far to one side as possible and used metal garden plant hanging bracket as a hook to hold the curtain back. Curtain looks luxurious and beautiful and complements the red walls and is altogether fabulous and even drilling holes for the brackets did not stress me out.

Lovely new sandals arrived, fair trade made in Peru, from Qaylla Andean Style on Etsy:
Watched Great British Sewing Bee and felt smug cos my sewing machine got used today. Then Monkey painted my hair and I painted her hair and tomorrow we will both have fabulous hair... watch this space.

Barely went outside so as a contribution to 30 Days Wild I recommend as my Book to Make You Think - 'How To Be Wild' by Simon Barnes from 2016.
(p.s. Third osprey chick hatched.)

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 2 June 2020

100 Days - 4 and thirty

In other news, the second 'bob' hatched at the Loch Arkaig Osprey Cam:

Tish hung up some of the bay leaves to dry. We have enough for, probably, the rest of my life (considering how often I might use bay leaves):

A downside of having windows open is the ingress of flies. We have a somewhat less than humane fly disposal system:

She lost interest when she thought it was dead (though I have seen her eat several) but then it crawled away when she was licking herself. Now she's just lying there watching it. It's nice to have some entertainment on slow afternoons.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Monday 1 June 2020

100 Days - threety three : wild days

I decided to join the 30 Days Wild challenge with the Wildlife Trust. It started badly going out to the yard this morning and realising, apart from the oak trees, all the pots just had weeds in them. Sorting inside the house has been very all consuming and despite assistance from Claire and Julie, and a lovely bench from mum, the outside has not improved much.
The other day mum sent me a honeysuckle because I had said how much that was something I wanted in the garden, but it was drying out by the back door. So I took the plunge and decided, with much chagrin, to cut down the bay tree. As you can see it was pretty big, and though I pruned it back last year, this spring it had taken over this space completely. Fortunately I managed to pick the day that the bins had been emptied so I have disposed of most of the carnage. Why does gardening for me always seem to consist of chopping stuff down rather than growing stuff?
The yard is now huge! I also took out another large sprawling thing that was tangled in with all the nice flowering stuff. Much sawing and sweating in the sun. The stump is more than handbreadth across, and I am not going to try and remove it.
Managed to not cut myself too badly:
Duly planted the honeysuckle (Tish bought a trowel a few weeks ago, so it was finally christened today):
Then I made a cup of tea and watched the bees. The bees have been giving me much joy, what with, you know, bees dying and all that.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.