Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August visits

As I said in my last post, August has been a pretty busy month. We had a trip over to Cambridge to see the OH's friends, and did this walk in Thetford Forest, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, along the Little Ouse river. The walk starts in Brandon, which has a station, so it's doable by public transport from Cambridge.

Although the grass on the path had been cut down, it was pretty uneven underfoot.

We did pass some canoeists but they were going so fast I didn't get a chance to take a picture!

Some parts of the walk had dense undergrowth, others were more open.

The cygnets are getting big now.
I also had a few days away in Yorkshire, visiting friends whilst the OH was beavering away at work. I really enjoyed catching up with them. As well as talking LOTS of knitting, eating LOTS of yummy food and doing some playing/reading bedtime stories, I helped a bit in their new garden, which is on a slope with beautiful views, and really quite amazing. (*jealous*, me?!)

We visited the Dutch House, which has a lovely café and wildlife garden, plus really good examples of square metre gardening (much better than mine!).

Monday, August 26, 2013

Outwitting the squirrels

I had so many good intentions about blogging more often, and now it's been a month since I last posted. Oops. August has been a lot of fun, but we've been out and about quite a bit.

Out in the garden we didn't get any apples last year from the two trees we were given as a wedding present. They mysteriously disappeared in the night before they were ripe. This year there are quite a few apples ripening, then I saw a squirrel making off with one of them (no, they're still not ripe). We weren't too impressed with the idea of the squirrels making off with our apples, so I did some googling and came up with a couple of solutions to try (along with a lot of completely impractical/bordering on the illegal solutions).

The first is to hang CDs or something else shiny in the tree to deter the squirrel. We had some CDs that had come free with the weekend papers so I've hung those up, and so far, so good. This is the espalier tree, which the squirrels have multiple ways of accessing as it's against the wall, so there wasn't much point trying to put a barrier in their way.

On the standard apple tree, which is too far from any fences for the squirrels to jump across to it, I've smeared vaseline up the trunk and the support pole, which has so far deterred them from climbing up there. It will eventually wash off in the rain though, so I'll have to keep an eye on it.

The tomatoes finally ripened, and have been absolutely delicious - we're now inundated with them! I haven't grown this variety before, as I usually grow bush cherry tomatoes, and these are cherry tomatoes that grow on a cordon. Next year I'll probably grow the same variety but put some better supports in. These were plug plants, from a free offer in a magazine, so I need to go and check what variety they actually are!

And the raspberries (Autumn-fruiting variety - Autumn Bliss) have started to ripen. I like Autumn-fruiting ones as they gradually ripen over a period of time so you don't end up with a glut.

We're also doing really well with the wildlife (apart from the unwanted wildlife, like the squirrels!). Birds now spotted in the garden include song thrushes, jays, blackbirds, great tits, robins, chaffinches, goldfinches, greenfinches, magpies, collared doves, wrens and dunnocks. In fact the birdfeeders are so busy they resemble a motorway service station. We (well, the OH, who is much better at spotting them than me) have also now seen several varieties of bees and butterflies.