PLEASANT AND PLEASING THINGS

PLEASANT  AND PLEASING THINGS

I have been able to dig out summery clothes that haven’t seen the light of day for decades. Best of all they still fit.  I discovered though, I don’t possess a pair of shorts….the one year I could wear them with impunity! Time to be imaginative… find a lightweight item with two legs that can be cut, or, simply roll up the legs  of a pair of suitable trousers.

https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB19c5SKFXXXXbfXpXXq6xXFXXXV/2015-New-Arrival-Fashion-Brand-Summer-Women-Shorts-Loose-Cotton-Short-Casual-female-Slim-High-Waist.jpgMy washing up left hand rubber glove split on a finger.  Unusually, the one odd  washing up glove in the spares bag was also left handed. The two are not a pair but they work well together; what more could you want. (Note to self, buy a spare pair as back-up).

Conservatives See off Plans to Regulate Washing up Gloves ...Courtesy of birds probably, we have one flourishing Digitalis. It’s the usual cerise-coloured one. It has popped up in a corner that is difficult to mow.  The corner could usefully be used for some spontaneous growth other than grass.

Our bird life visitors are small ones, mostly Blackbirds and Sparrows. There is a ‘marauding’  Crow who likes to strut ownership of the patch as well.   This year, there are fewer Dunnocks than usual. Today, I saw a very podgy waddling pigeon/dove on our garden wall.  I noticed it hanging around last week. It is not your usual agile bird, it does a lot of plopping and flopping. This bird is going to have to do bit more flying around to get fit.  From a distance it could be mistaken for a bird of prey, but only by shape.

Keen Eco gardeners have planted up a wild flower patch on a cliff, (foothill level) on a path leading to a lighthouse. The overflowing plants were stunning. they are there to attract bees, butterflies and other wildlife.  It is so difficult to get a picture of busy bees, even just one, is almost impossible to get in the frame.

……Look – no hands

I digitally captured the only bee Buzzing  around the patch!IMG_5105

Out at sea there was a fairly large group of Eider ducks. They were moulting their primary feathers. They are safer from predators staying on the water while they are waiting for their new primary feathers to develop. It was one of those moments I wished I had my DSLR camera with me to take close-up pictures.  There was a haar out at sea which added to the challenge of getting a clear picture.  (My phone did its level best).

Two different pictures at a distance. It gives you a visual sense of the grouping.

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EUREKA MOMENT IN THE MEADOW

For the last three years I have been attempting to cultivate a difficult corner in our ‘meadow’.  It is a very uncultivated  area of grassland, apart from mowing, which is a slalom that hubs undertakes, not me. I cannot handle the petrol mower. He’s glad of it I believe, as it’s a task that is uniquely his own. I don’t mind at all!

Why is grass-cutting a slalom? About the time of year when you have to decide to do a cut, our wild orchids burst forth and flower. They are prettily  multiplying. Last year we discovered amongst the ‘crop’ of Orchids one that was a bit different. To my surprise, research threw up that it is known as the Common Spotted Orchid.  The spots are on the leaves. These Orchids are becoming hard to find.  Anyway, hubs carefully mows around all of the Orchids. How he manages to control that heavy bit of machinery to such a fine art, I do not know.  It’s paying off though, as this year I saw that we had increased our Common Spotted Orchids by 100%: we now have two!  One is at the front of the house and the other one is near the whirly washing line at the back of the house.

Common spotted Orchid-a rarity

The difficult corner is a nice sunny corner where I have seen plants thriving then suddenly horribly wilt and die.  Hubs was creating a bund there between us, the chain link fence and our neighbouring farm. When the sheep are milling around behind the fence, there is likely to be all sorts of temporary run off courtesy of them. In addition, to keeping unwanted nettles and other grassy weeds under control there is the occasional farm spraying just in that location, usually broadened out by the prevailing winds.  My Lamium and other hardy plants couldn’t cope with it. Yesterday, with some difficulty, I pulled out the Lamium. Talk about networks of roots.  They would have been ideal to hold the soil in position, if the circumstances had been right.  Meantime, I put on my thinking cap. Question; what grows easily and well forward of that corner? Looking around me I had a eureka moment. Of course, grass grows no problem.  So, I have planted a small cluster of evergreen ornamental grasses and for good measure, I have put a fascinating evergreen Curry Plant in the mix.

This was the only plant that thrived in ‘the corner’ patch last year. It came from a seed dropped courtesy of birds I suppose.  At its peak, supported by a pair of my tights, which were tied to the fence,  it stood at approximately  5ft.7″ high. We let it seed, sadly, there is no sign of it this year.

HOT AIR!

What a curious thing!

WASHINGTON — Ramping up wind power in America would also increase the nation’s temperatures, a new study from Harvard found. 

 Contrary to what you may be thinking, this is not about excess hot air escaping from the seat of power, The White House.

The dramatic all-out expansion of the number of wind turbines in the U.S. could warm the coal and also the other fossil fuels which are in the burning mix, because of the manner in which the spinning blades disturb the layers of cold and warm air. Normally, the air is more still at night, with cold air staying near the surface and warmer air resting a little higher. But turbines bring the warm air down and cool air up, making the ground a bit warmer. Interestingly, the effect is reduced during the day but is still there. 

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The study looked at just the United States.  It found that in the unlikely event that the U.S. switched massively to wind to supply its electricity, there would be so many turbines that on average the nation’s temperature would go up about 0.4 degrees, though there would also be some cooling in places, such as the East Coast. Additionally, the turbines would cause more warming in the short term, this century, than the carbon dioxide America spews into the atmosphere would. 

P1030280 2010 Aug 5th Limousin Supreme Champ

The effect from turbines is different from human-caused climate change. According to the study authors, the effect which mostly consists of warming, is localised and it’s temporary. When the turbine blades are still  the air is calm and there’s no warming.

Wind advocates emphasized that the Harvard study doesn’t show turbines causing global warming, just local hot air.

 

Study lead Author Keith Miller and Co-Author Professor David Keith. Based on an article by Seth Borenstein Associated Press. October 10th-2018

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW….

Allotments: they do seem to take a variation of shapes and sizes and growing practices, according, it seems, to the managing ethos of any particular place. The one common theme is that they exist for the soil to be worked and to produce. They offer a community gardening experience and a common social interest amongst the people who make the allotments thrive. With flat dwelling providing limited opportunity for gardening creativity, allotments gardening can provide an alternative.

The many ‘urban gardens’ pictured, in central Vienna, Austria, run quite some distance. They are set back from a main road.

The pictures show only half their length.  The fencing is made from responsibly sourced wood, (I always wonder what that means)  from state forests. The urban gardeners were taking their responsibility seriously and were investing a great deal of thought, time and money into their allotted plots. The ethos here was evidently, grow-your-own food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of sight there is a major park and within it, in a more unkempt spot, was a different kind of garden with allotted spaces grown with flowers and looking like cottage gardens. Moving on, an opening in a high hedge presented you with a wide rectangular space surrounded by trees.  Around the edges were generously wide and deep boxes filled with soil, essentially raised gardening beds.  Each of these boxes were ‘rented’ to people with a specific interest; many were experimenting, they were interested in the process rather than harvesting the finished product. This, I was told, was this urban garden group ethos.

WHEN YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS…

…Surprising what you find:

Pretty Frilly Blue

 

Grounded in nature

 

Placed by nature -irresistible

If you peer in you may see the blue frilly butterfly on the right.

 

Crafted from  nature.

Nature blooming

 

 

Carved out woodland life

 

Dumbledore, or, could it be Gandulf…

The woods are different every visit, be it nature’s own changes with the seasons, or, things we have not yet found, all waiting for the next time we go exploring the woods.

©

This post, I uploaded for the first time, pictures taken with my phone camera. I don’t think I have mastered the art of uploading phone photos. All tips gratefully received.  🙂

EXIT….. RIGHT

I Watched the sheep on the farm the other day when the weather was having a tantrum. The sheep decided it was time to  give up outdoor life, being in the field exposed to the elements.  The flock determinedly exited from the field.  They all trotted off down the farm track towards the barns, but at the end of the track found their way barred by a closed farm gate.

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After a very, very long wait, standing, heads motionless and everyone of them turned in the same direction, (there was only one way they were going however long it took) someone came along and opened the gate.  Sheep generally don’t stampede in what we know as such a thing.  But,  that batch made the fastest beeline for the gaping barn doors that I have seen.  Who needs sheepdogs…..

RETURNING FATTY FAVOURS

Rook

Hubs has been feeding up the local bird life – mostly, Rooks just now – with lots of luscious fat balls. He leaves the fat balls hanging in net bags on the bird feeder. The Rooks spend a bit of time untying and unhooking  the net bags containing the fatty feast.  Once the fat ball bags have fallen to the ground, the Rooks nip at them. The fat balls are pushed and rolled around on the grass using their beaks and the odd clawed foot or two. It’s like watching a bird version of  croquet.  For them, it’s not enough to just peck at the goodies through the wide gauge netting, these birds want the food unencumbered.  Any missed morsels to be found at the base of the bird feeder, or, in the grass, are picked up by a few smaller birds that sneak in. They know the Rooks will not bother them as the Rooks have the bigger prize.  The smaller birds also know that  being amongst the Rooks will provide protection for them from any marauding predatory birds.

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Fat Balls

We’ve had the first few days of bright breezy drying weather for many weeks. As cold as it is, (balmy highs of 4-5 deg C with wind chill) you take advantage of it to get the laundry out on the washing line to dry.   As a thank you for hubs tender loving care and forethought in providing delicious fat balls, the Rooks have  copiously shat all over my washing.  About 90% of it.  Of course, they waited for the day I pegged out big stuff like bed covers and sheets!

P1020105 Sands Hotel Burray Laundry blowing

 

 

 

MISSION-ROOM 41

The deep coloured greenery swelled out and spilled over the top of the plastic carrier bag, which had been handed to me. Hidden beneath the massive aromatic foliage were more interesting items. There were three Pak Choi and one splendid white Mooli.   It was lunchtime when I made my visit to the care home, carrying this abundantly overflowing bag.  In my spare hand I held a pack of raspberries, a treat.  I got curious looks from the care staff and some polite smiles.   I was on a visiting mission. I knocked on the door of room 41.

© Elegant Veg

She immediately wanted to know what I was carrying. I got her to feel through the foliage and the thin stalks. Still not sure, I encouraged her to nibble at a little of a leaf. Yes, it tasted of something but what?  She sniffed the green bunch and stroked the stalks.  Realisation; her mother used to grow this and use it in soups, make soup with it and put it with meat and gravy.  She couldn’t remember how long ago, but it made for a good flavour.   Did the Mooli have a sharp and hot radish flavour, she wanted to know and could it be boiled or steamed.  What about the other one, the Pak Choi?  She was thinking and asking questions while I gave my ideas for preparing the two vegetables.

© Our Yellow Beetroot.  Pak Choi it is not.

We shared savoury and sweet  recipe ideas  for the best part of an hour, and the time passed pleasantly and quickly. The raspberries, which all got eaten, evoked thoughts of home made cakes; puddings; jam; outings with an enamel bucket used for collecting and cooking the raspberries, in times long past.

On my way out, staff asked me about the greenery I was carrying.  One, a Bulgarian lady did not know Pak Choi, but bemoaned the fate of her garden back home without her.  A local carer had no idea about any of it.  A Chinese carer squealed with delight when she saw the Mooli and was thrilled to hear we called the other little vegetable (the Pak Choi) the same name she knew it by.

 

DOSING

What a din!  I thought it must be a sheep-shearing day at the neighbouring farm.  Mums and lambs were noisily milling about in front of one of the barns, the doors of which, were firmly shut.

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This was not the norm for them.  As far as they were concerned, when you head for the barn forecourt, you naturally move on through the wide open doors of the barn and into it.  The lambs were all born in there, except for the odd one or two, so, both ewes and offspring had a deep formed affinity to the place.  They wanted to be let in and they did not care who knew it.

And of course, it rained, not just any sort of rain, but soaking curtains of rain.

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The weather is always uncertain when the sheep are being treated, or, sorted, or, sheared. It seems like nature is being deliberately perverse. This occasion, the stock were being ‘dosed’. You can bet your bottom dollar that when they are sheared, which will be soon, we will experience gales and probably a hail storm.

SO FAR:

So far:

We’ve had external storm damage to the house, a rogue storm that came through between Doris and Ewan; reparation work costing lots of money is weather dependent. We wait.

P1000459 A pair of Fulmars

My microwave failed two weeks before its manufacturers’  one year warranty expired.  Getting this unwieldy appliance to the service department is  a story in itself. It exhausted us. Upon discovering the failure was due to a known manufacturing fault, which included a range of appliances from a specific production line, all requiring modification, I asked for a new replacement.  It arrived this week.-1

Next,  my three and a half months old monitor crashed. A bit of problem solving, moving plugs into different sockets, brought the monitor back to life and it gave me a crash report. It was okay for a couple of days, then went blank several times in one morning, followed by what looked like the mother of all crashes. Problem solving didn’t work this time. While speaking to the Technical Help department a couple of hours later, telling the lady how dead the monitor was, the screen burst into life!

The conversation then went like this…… her“Monitors don’t give messages. it must something to do with your computing equipment”. 

I wished I’d taken a screen shot of the message.  More chatting  followed about the symptoms and pathology of the sick monitor…

her-  Could I try a different HDMI cable. (Everyone has a spare one of those…NOT!)  I have just the one available, the one that was supplied with the monitor. 

monitor-ok-iconBack to the store service department the monitor went. I couldn’t dismantle the base from the screen single-handed.  I ended up cradling the monitor in one arm and also carrying the box. The service department lady and I performed a tug-of-war and separated the bits so the monitor could be re-packed.

The really nice bit.…..without a mention of inconvenience, loss of computer use, or anything similar, I was offered the loan of a spare old monitor, with which to keep going. It was “doing nothing”, sitting on the shelf gathering dust.  An HDMI cable was located for me to use. I had not brought mine, but in any case it was agreed a test run with my own cable connected to their monitor would be useful. This way, I have HDMI cable back -up, should it be needed.