Friday, 30 January 2009

Rest here ye weary traveller.

Ever since the builders had finished, there was something missing in a little tiny room between the utility room/ Jo's workshop, and the side door and Kitchen.

We keep our empty egg boxes and things there, I did put up a coat hook a little while back, but still something was missing.

Almost every day I have to take my boots off out there and because of the egg boxes and other nic-naks laying about, there is only just enough space for my boots to go, so I decided to make a little bench, so I could sit down and take my boots off in comfort, and also to be able to put my boots underneath nice and neat.

I spent a few hours measuring up, making and varnishing the bench, and personally speaking, I'm very pleased with it - and it's look.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

...Stiggy's Bench!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Quick update!

Well, that was funny...

...I was just answering the comments on my post about the Barn Owl, when Jo walked into the room and asked if there was any mole hills today, so I told her I had noticed a small fist-sized lump next to an old mole hill and thought nothing of it.

Jo went in to get Zak dressed for the day, when I heard a little squeal, and Jo shouted out that the hill was moving!

So I took a look, and sure enough the molehill WAS moving, so I rushed and got my coat and boots on to go outside.

I picked up a spade from by the shed, and tip toeing round to the hill I braced myself.

When I was within 10 feet of the hill I took a few large steps and...


I brought the spade down on the mole hill, and dug frantically to see the mole.

Unfortunately the little wotsit had already gone, but it must have moved incredibly quickly to get away, as the hill was still moving when i was 1 step away from it.

Thinking I'd take action against this little critter, I put a smoke bomb down into the tunnel, and hopefully the coating of castor oil will put him off again for a while!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Barn owl visits us!

Last night, just as the Sun was thinking about going to bed, we noticed something circling and swooping the field next door to us.

We looked a bit closer and saw it was an Owl!

I have never seen an Owl in the wild before, so I was very excited, as were the rest of the family.

Unfortunately it isn't my Birthday yet, so I wasn't able to zoom in as much as I'd like to, but still, I managed to capture it sitting on one of the posts on our boundry.

Like the Woodpecker shot, I have provided a zoom pic so you can see a little bit more detail.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Back to it!

Well, today I received two packages, one containing smoke bombs, and one containing humane mole traps.

The smoke bombs certainly seemed to do wonders - of course they may have just stunned the moles into submission, but who cares when they aren't pushing up as much soil or breaking peoples ankles on their tunnel network...

...WHICH by the way is totally ridiculous! You'd be amazed at how many tunnels these things can do.

Aparrently they can tunnel 4M in one hour...

...that's just over 13 FEET in ONE hour!!

It's not the fact that the tunnels are only about 2 inches in diameter, it's the fact that there are so MANY tunnels, and sometimes they make a sort of junction under the grass, thus making the tunnel into a small cavern underneath - i've lost my footing more than once in these junctions, I can tell you!

So anyway, I got these things in the post this morning, and I will eagerly use them as soon as there is more evidence of moles again - for at the moment everything is quiet on the front line.

I took my mower/tractor out onto the back lawn, and drove around flattening the tunnels and molehills so I would be able to see any new ones, or signs where the little blighter was living and hunting.

So far no signs of life - which may be a good sign that they've moved on.

Of course, it may be a sign that they've decided to breed like mad, then come at me with a whole army of tunnelling little horrors!

Luckily moles are solo animals apart from at breeding time, and very territorial, so I probably actually only have two moles on our land (well hopefully anyway!).

Let's see what happens over the next few days - I'll keep you informed!

A break in the fight.

It's not all doom and gloom at our place, we have a regular visitor that seems to live in our garden - a Green Woodpecker.

It loves to peck on our 'Nothing Tree' - so named by our builder who's family were farmers, and as he walked round telling us what each tree and plant was, on a break from working, he walked past this tree and just said;

"This Tree - oh it's nothing"

So we decided to call it the 'Nothing Tree'!

Anyway, our Woodpecker likes nothing better than to sit on this tree and peck away, probably for food.

It also flies down and gets food from our lawn, and I managed to snap it with my standard lens on my camera. (I'm getting a zoom lens for my Birthday I hope!). It was sitting just outside the window where my PC is.

Here's a close up.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

New year walk.

I managed to get out with my camera and go for a little walk down the fields next to our house, and found a really nice little path running along the Hedgerow.

I was experimenting with various things, shutter speed, aperture etc and was quite pleased with the results, I WILL get to be off the auto modes... I WILL!!

I've been reading a lot about various techniques and although I'm not ready to try most of them, I thought I'd just go out, play about with the settings, and see what happened.

So here we go...

The bottom of the field next door - I love the shape of trees in Winter, and hedges - gotta love hedges!

I saw this Ivy on a tree and loved the icy leaves, with the flash it really brought the Ivy out from the background.

This is looking towards Lewes, but again, the frostiness of the nettles seemed to grab me when I walked past. I love taking this sort of photo, with the depth of field thing going on!

This next photo was one of my more experimental photographs, I have seen in books wonderful long exposures of waterfalls, rocky coast lines...

...unfortunately all we have round our place is a pipe sticking out the ground with a little stream (although we DO have the fishing lakes at the bottom of the field next door - photos to come one day).

I decided to use the Gorilla tripod I got for Christmas, plus my shutter remote.
I experimented with lots of different settings, a lot of my photos were over exposed, and I soon learnt that I didn't have to have the shutter open for too long to get the effect I wanted. I also experimented with Iso's and aperture sizes.

I like this next photo - it's one of my faves so far. This is one of about 10 or so I took of the same view.

I like the way the eye gets drawn into the photo, it's a very interesting area for shots like this.

As I was walking back home, I quickly snapped this shot - again it relates to how excellent trees look in Winter, and how sometimes they make an excellent frame.

This was one of my last shots before heading back home. The frost on the weeds was amazing - as I trod through them, it flew like dust around my feet.

I found the trees in the background so interesting, I thought I'd combine them with the frosty weeds here.

It's amazing how the frost makes such fantastic crystals and architecture within itself.

I really enjoyed going out on my own to take these photos, I hope you enjoy them. These have been chosen out of about 180 photographs I took that morning in about 1-2 hours.

Saturday, 17 January 2009


I found this photo of Kane and I looking in amazement at the first eggs we ever found... can tell by our faces how excited we are - although I must admit Kane looks more like something smells bad!!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Guerilla warfare begins!

Today plans are being drawn up, tactics are being written and equipment made ready for the assault on the moles which are infesting our paddock and back lawn.

This morning smoke bombs arrived - these little babies will be lit and pushed as far down the tunnels as possible, and will coat the inside of the runs with castor oil, which aparrently make the moles move on to pastures new, as it stops the moles from feeding in the treated areas.

I am not looking forward to the next step, which is setting traps for the little things.

First off will be scissor traps, which go in the runs and close onto the furry tunnellers.

The second type of trap is the Dufas trap which is a lot bigger than the scissor trap, but apparently more effective.

I will keep you informed of my progress, but I expect this to be a very drawn out battle, and hopefully... HOPEFULLY I will win the war!

New year chill!

The last year has been very busy for us here, not only have we bought a house and had dramatic changes done to it, we've also moved in last October and had Christmas to contend with, so life here has been non-stop, and quite stressful.

Now it seems, life is slowly returning to 'normal' whatever that may be. We still have a stupid amount of stuff at our other house which we need to move, and all this on top of all the new duties given to us by our new home!

One thing that has made things harder has been the really cold weather - not only for us, but for my ladies in the paddock. Their water has been frozen every morning, the ground underfoot has been like steel, and they haven't been able to go for walks too freely thanks to a roaming fox.

All this is about to change though, with the warmer weather (hopefully) coming, changes can be made to house all our ladies more comfortable, and jobs that I couldn't start last year can be started this year.

I had to take a few photos of the girls recently, probably because I never thought they would have frost on their wings - but one or two of the chickens like to roost on top of the old coop instead of inside with the others in their warm coop - which is packed with straw and is really quite warm considering.

I do feel sorry for them though, so this year their entire enclosure will be changed, moved, made bigger and better. Their runs will have interesting things for them to sit on, and hopefully this year I can get my relationship back with them, because of the lack of time I've had with them, hardly any let me touch them any more - which I find quite sad, but understandable.

Although it has been so cold, my ladies still like to get out and about...

...a few of them even went over the other side of the paddock - which is quite a journey for their little legs, and they probably went back telling all the other girls to go their on their next excursion.