Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Simple Life — of tales and tails

The Simple Life
A life of freedom or pigeon pie?

A chubby woodpigeon (ring dove) sits on a nest in a fir tree just 15’ from our front door. It looks so peaceful up there surrounded by shrubs bearing blossom. We see the couple plodding around the garden — dinosaurs compared with the blackbirds, finches, tits, sparrows and tiny wrens (etc) that visit our feeding station and peck around the garden. Even larger than the lovely white and mottled pigeons that visit us throughout the year.
They sit in turn, quiet and undisturbed, oblivious to our prying eyes as we try to photograph them. Their nest looks flat and flimsy and we wonder how on earth they will be able to keep their young on it once the eggs hatch. (Likely just one or two, as they continue to breed throughout the season.)
What do they think as they sit there? No worries for them about finance and elections, buying houses and furniture. No concerns about schools for their children, what to wear and what meals are best for them. No mortgage, no bills, no cars or holidays. Just doing what comes naturally.
But we are concerned for them! We just hope the egg or eggs don’t roll out of the nest. We hope the fledglings when born won’t get taken off by crows or cats. We want them to keep well and enjoy life. Why? Birds, not just pigeons, die every day. They fly into the window and break their necks, they get taken off by birds of prey and squirrels raid their nests. But this is nature and animals are programmed for survival. What humans do to one another goes beyond survival — need I say more?

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Alpaca Love!

For Love of Alpacas

I visited a local farm and took photos of beautiful alpacas. They sure did look cuddly with their exceedingly deep hair fleeces. The fibre is not called wool (so I was told) and I was given a little to feel. Yes indeed the fibres were about six inches in length and incredibly fine, rather like my own hair which seems almost invisible on the crown and top.
We have been keeping an eye on these gorgeous creatures since they arrived in the area and I felt it a privilege to go up close to take my photographs. The boys, real cuties, were separated from the girls and not in the least shy. The girls were a little suspicious but gradually came closer as their curiosity increased. No smells and as clean as if they had just had a shampoo all over.
I know alpaca owners keep them more for pleasure than profit. Each fleece produces enough fibre for about two cardigans so it hardly pays for their food and special attention. But evidently, like dog breeding, the offspring can be sold for fairly high sums. But it is joy they give by being just themselves that is reason enough to keep them.
I find them utterly charming and would have loved to have given one or two a cuddle! Cuddling is a reassuring activity, but I doubt alpacas would appreciate it!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring Tra-la!

Just to be out among the spring flowers after the cold winter is a great joy! In fact, just to view them through the window is uplifting. More birds are around too — a great variety. Wonderful singing when all is quiet. So many bees buzzing too. The whole garden is full of activity and yet there is also a blessed stillness.
What matters age? The beauty of nature is for all to enjoy. And a garden keeps us fit!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another of Ulverston's social angels

Ulverston’s do-it-yourself angel.

There are many unsung heroes throughout the world and no doubt quite a few in this small market town of Ulverston. They come in many guises. Those we usually think of are often carers in one form or another, or those who do voluntary work with the mass of groups and societies that seek to relief suffering at home and abroad. But there are others and the ones I am writing about are those who work for community cohesion, a better environment, and all that enhances daily living.
Some time ago I wrote about a litter angel who silently cleared the Hoad footpaths of rubbish each morning. Today I am writing about someone who is determined, not only to make the environment more attractive, but to get others — men, women, children and whole families— involved in life-enhancing schemes.
Search Geoff Dellow's web site to see what is happening in various areas.
Potting is just one of the things he is up to.
As a potter himself, Geoff is inspiring others to take up the craft. Not only that but to get together to decorate local parks with their work. With the help of others, Geoff has also been busy growing and planting flowers, using donated seeds and bulbs, in park areas otherwise left neglected. The photographs here are just some of the results. The place is the footpath at Gill Banks — the start of the Cumbria Way. He also organised a special Halloween night for children and their parents there — the first of what is likely to be a tradition. Getting people socially involved? What better Way to a more enhancing and cohesive society?

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Suddenly It's Spring

Well, it is all happening now. Flowers coming out, buds busting, some trees in blossom and, on the down side, grass needing mowing and borders weeding. Our little friends are doing mischief. Mischief? Well, the squirrels are nipping buds off the daffodils. A bunny popping into the garden nibbles what he fancies. And birds peck off the primrose flowers. Unfortunately, black sooty mould completely covers one of our large Debbie camellias. Plenty more though of different varieties. Other shrubs yet to bloom - their beauty to delight us throughout the year until winter arrives. Even then, winter jasmine, snowdrops and bright berries to cheer us up.
It's uplifting to hear the dawn chorus, to see birds building nests, and have them coming to their feeding stations — the tits drop many seeds on the ground, feeding the blackbirds and white pigeons which gather there. And now the return of a pair of woodpeckers, and many other birds, brighten our day.
Bees are buzzing around the flowers, especially the heathers. So good to see them busy in the garden. News reports seem to suggest that bees are dying out, but there is no shortage in our garden.

Yes, spring is here and summer not far behind