Thursday, 29 March 2012

Spotted Turtle-Dove baby

I hadn't realised that it has been a whole  week since I'd had time to post anything here, but it has been busy with household, family and garden preparation issues.....

This morning, from the kitchen window, I saw a scrawny-looking bird tentatively approaching the pond for some water.  It looked familiar,  but not exactly what I had seen previously....
 .... it finally got down to the water for a drink....

.... and then I noticed the parent nearby, watching me carefully....  a Spotted Turtle-Dove.  I had seen them previously.
 On looking thenm up in  my bird book (though mine is the fifth edition, 1996) the description of the juvenile merely says "lack nape pattern" and so it does.  My pleasure is mostly in the realisation that they are breeding successfully in my yard.

The "landscaping" around the pond is now back on track (after the leaking episode) and some preliminary plantings have been done.   It is still looking a bit industrial,  but the birds and the bees don't seem to mind.
 There is still a lot to do,  but as long as there are no leaks,  I'll be continuing.
 The breakfast table and chair (and the afternoon wine table) is in place, more or less, though the landscaping aroundit leaves a bit to be desired.  It is the spot to sit and watch the fish already though....  I've been feeding them artificially and they are getting a little less cryptic.  In the afternoons I sit and wait until I can see all ten of them together and that is harder than it would seem as one in particular is very hard to see as he/she has a dark shadowy patch along his/her back.  That must be a survival advantage in this particular pond....  interesting....

Gertrude was watching me photograph the pond... though turned away when I pointed the camera at her.
 Introducing Flossie.....
 .... Flossie is a goat that I am babysitting while her family can't take care of her.  She is quite an old lady and prefers to lay in the sun during the day rather than be tethered out in the yard, though she does get out occasionally.  She has a purple collar (and lead) which reminded me of the book and the poem about wearing purple....

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
                                     With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other peoples' gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fatAnd eat three pounds of sausages at a goOr only bread and pickles for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Perhaps someone has already told Flossie.

The garden, after a fallow summer, is beginning to look healthy again....  sugar beet.....

 ... along with quite a few other beet roots, mangel worzel and winter greens....

.... swedes (rutabaga)... and some other relatives (the brassicas).....
 ... and among the broccoli plants, some self sown mangel worzel.  I will transplant some of these to a safer spot...
The weather is still relatively unpredictable.   It will be 29C today (about 85F) and it is very dry.
The leeks are looking healthy, and while they like plenty of water, they are more forgiving than some of the tiny root crops.  The carrot seeds are not up yet.  I planted them just over a week ago,  and so, no doubt they are just thinking about coming out of the soil and I can't afford for them to get hot and dry today....  I'll be watering every few hours!
This is why I only plant very small seeds directly into the ground when I can expect some cooler and, hopefully, damper weather.  No rain on the horizon yet, or even in the forcast, and with northerly winds expected in the next week or so,  it may well be hot and dry and I'll need to watch for my baby carrot plants.