Saturday, 28 February 2009

Moles, mowers and Little Ninjas!

This week has been quite busy, what with one thing and another, and I haven't had time to do a post a day - I'm sorry!

Mole attacks!

It started off this week, with more attacks from the mole - THIS time the little wotsit had tunnelled alongside of the humane trap I put in his tunnels!!

Down went two Talpex traps, nothing yet, but I have high hopes as I found the main run between the paddock and the back lawn.

We will see how that goes.

First time for everything!

This week I went out on my lil tractor mower thingy, and not only skimmed the grass and made it all uniform length, it also flattened all the molehills that were over there - after I had dug up the molehills of course! ;)

...but the thing that I wanted to mention, was that one of my ladies - I'm pretty sure she is one of the rescue hens, the one that took on Rhydian once. She has a large comb, quite dark pink/red, but she always follows me round.

Some of my ladies let me stroke them when Rhydian isn't looking, but don't usually do more than that.

Today was different - the aforementioned hen jumped up on my leg as I was sitting on the mower!!

It was really nice chatting to her gently and having her up on my leg - it was a brilliant moment - and a first for me!

Little Ninjas!

Kane has wanted to do martial arts for a long time now. We went to look at a class, about a year ago, called 'Little Ninjas' which is taught at our local leisure centre.

It teaches Soo Bahk Do that originated in Korea, and is a martial art that actually evolves rather than sticking to old forms and techniques.

Kane had remembered all the moves he saw on that one visit to watch a class a year ago so well - he jumped straight in the class and looked like he'd been doing it for ages!

I am SO proud of my boy - he did REALLY well!!

One of the tutors gave him a second hand belt for FREE! Kane also got a 'tag' of insulation tape on his belt.

How the tags work is that you get one tag after each lesson, and once you have eight tags you are then able to do a 'grading' or test in front of the tutors, if you pass you go to the next colour belt!

Oh it's all so exciting, and Kane loves it!

I even got offered a months free trial to see if I would like it - I used to do Wing Chun kung Fu quite some years ago, and want to take up something alongside my (starting soon) gym work.

Here's Kane showing us a 'high block'.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Trimming time!

The other day we decided collectively that the hedges needed a trim, so out with my KM90 I went to smarten up the high hedges in the front.

I have to say here, that my love for power tools and engines really comes into it's own with jobs like this - I could quite happily work all day long doing anything that involved powertools or engines!!

Anyway - back to reality here - it was the first time that I've done the front heges, so I wasn't quite sure of the actual 'shape' of the things, so I went very carefully, and didn't scalp them too much.

Once the cutting had been done, Kane decided to want to help me pick the trimmings up, so after getting dressed for a cold day, we both ventured out, armed only with a fork, rake, wheelbarrow and tons of enthusiasm!

I obviously had to make sure he was doing the job properly, so I found myself in a supervisory role most of the time (below) - mainly as Kane refused to give me the rake! (see picture above)

Although Kane was really helpful I couldn't help feel sorry for the little chap when it came to using the tools and also moving the wheelbarrow, but he did a valiant job. We went to the shed to get his own wheelbarrow which is about 2 feet long and is much, MUCH lighter - also his trowel and hand fork.

Complete with his own gear, his enthusiasm was renewed, and off we went again - first raking into separate piles, then lifting the trimmings into our respective barrows.

Kane was a great help, and we had a lot of fun do 'extra' raking and clearing, as for some unexplained reason, the trimmings seemed to fly across at each other ...

...I have no idea how that happened at all!?!


Saturday, 21 February 2009

Mole Update No.2

Well the mole hasn't shown much activity recently apart from 2 mole hills, but the little wotsit is digging furiously around our paddock and garden, 2" under the surface and creating a very unstable ground to walk on!

The other week I was trying to buy some 'Victor©' mole traps - a plunger with spikes on - but unfortunately, although they are one of the most effective mole traps in the world, the UK doesn't like them - so there you go, no dead moles!

I did however manage to find another type of trap, which I am trying out at the moment, called a Talpex trap.

I have set them and they've gone off, but no success at the moment - BUT I recently read that to set these babies properly, you have to literally JUST set the trigger - as fine as you can, and also lay them slightly on their side.

I put both these snippets of information to use yesterday, as I went on a flurry of trap setting!

First I managed to find 2 big runs, main runs, in which I set 2 Talpex traps - then I managed to find the main run going from the paddock, under the path, and into our back lawn. Here I placed a humane mole trap, with the hope that should it get scared by the Talpex's going off - it may run into that one instead!

Mole watch is certainly getting interesting - you start to get to know the 'ways' of the mole you're hunting - it really gets quite personal after a while!

Jo says to get a 'Moleman' in to get rid of our problem, but being a normal, typical man, I just HAVE to sort this out myself!


Friday, 20 February 2009

Be aware of Strokes - act F.A.S.T.!

I'm not usually one for this sort of thing, but recently there has been a lot of publicity on Strokes in the UK - no I'm not talking about loving encounters between partners, but the medical condition.

No-one I know has had a stroke, but the symptoms can sometimes be quite small - so I imagine a lot of people have strokes without even knowing that they've had one!

A quote from the NHS (National Health Service in the UK) F.A.S.T. website;

A stroke is caused by a disturbance of blood supply to the brain. Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the UK and the third most common cause of death after cancer and coronary heart disease. There are two main types of stroke, ischaemic and haemorrhagic which require different types of treatment.

What the campaign is saying is the following;

F - Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

A - Can they raise both arms and keep them there?

S - Is their speech slurred?

T - Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.

More from the NHS website;

A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. So
recognising the signs and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial. Quick
diagnosis of stroke is important to understanding the cause, the damage done and
what immediate medical treatment is needed. The sooner somebody who has had a
stroke gets the right medical attention the better their chances of a good
recovery. So minutes really do matter.

I thought I'd do a little research into the subject since I have no prior knowledge of strokes, and found a very interesting couple of pages on what Strokes actually feel like, so here's that link too;

As I get older, things like this stick in my mind, let's be honest - they scare me!

I'd like to say I played a small part in making people aware of this serious, but misunderstood, medical emergency.

If you click on the picture on the right it will take you to the NHS website on this campaign. - please take a moment and visit - it could save you or someone you love!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Visit to the seaside.

The other day, very soon after receiving my new lens, Jo and I decided to take a visit to a nearby coastal town.

We dined at the most magnificent MacDonalds, and then took a stroll around, over a bridge and back again to our car.

Every time I drive into this town I always love the boat that greets you as you enter - and since I've had my camera, I always say - every time - I really MUST take a few shots of it!

Well today was perfect, so I thought I'd show you what it looks like.

What I love about this old boat is the ropes. You can see over the years where new ropes have been added and tied together, and the wonderful colour of the rust just adds to the whole feeling of a boat that's been loved for a long time.

This next shot is one of my favourites, if not my favourite shot. I wanted to capture the vivid blue of the old tarpaulins, and the ropes hanging, what with the rust in the foreground, it makes for a great view!

It started to turn really cold - especially with the wind chill, so we decided to make our way back to the car. Walking across the bridge, we noticed the timber moorings and decked area across the other side; thing I said I wanted to do with my new lens, was to catch a bird in flight - this one is an ordinary Seagull, but I was amazed at how good the zoom was on my 55-200mm lens, after I had a closer look at this shot!

All in all it was a great afternoon, I really enjoyed myself - and Jo did too - albeit a little on the chilly side!


Monday, 16 February 2009

It's almost DONE!!

I have now combined both of my blogs into this one.

I have tagged all the posts from my other blog with D40 - clicking on this in the 'tag cloud' will show you all the posts, I thought I'd do this to save any confusion.

Hopefully this new and improved blog will entertain the photographers amongst my readers AND my chicken crowd!

I hope you enjoy your stay!



Sunday, 15 February 2009

Normal service will be resumed shortly!

I would like to apologise to anyone who reads this blog regularly, if the colours or layouts are strange for the next short while.

This is because I have decided to combine my photography blog with my normal blog.

I will also be changing the graphics, colours and fonts in time, not all at once, and that is why I am apologising in advance for the mayhem that may ensue!

Some items are missing like my blog roll and friends etc, but stick with me, and everything will be sorted as soon as I can possibly manage!

Many thanks,



Saturday, 7 February 2009

New toy!

Today Jo received an interesting package in the post... was my Birthday present which Jo very kindly said I could have early!

It's a 55-200mm VR DX Nikon lens!!!

I was so happy to get this, I tried it out on various things, and soon discovered I loved it!

Here are a couple of my first photos to be taken with it!

Early Birthday Present!!


Well, this morning came an AWESOME surprise!

Jo had bought me a 55-200mm VR DX Nikon lens!!!!

I've been after one of these for a little while now, so hopefully I should be able to get a lot better and closer shots to the wildlife in our gardens!

Here's one of the first shots I took (through a window!)

I shall have fun with this - I've already thought of loads of ideas!


Monday, 2 February 2009


I took a walk around the local area this morning, as we had 6" of snow fall, and what a sight - it's amazing at how you want to capture EVERYTHING!

However, I did managed to take over 400 photos, so you'll have to excuse me if they sort of filter onto this blog - there's a lot of sorting out to do.

I haven't touched up these photos, as I'm still unsure of which ones to properly mount and display, but these should give an idea of the wonderful countryside we live in.

The main (ish) road outside our house...

The path walking down to the fishing lakes...

I loved seeing this - the eye wants to follow the path up and past the sign...

This is a box to hold the local fishing information leaflet...

A similar shot to one on an earlier post...

I loved the reflections on the lakes, it's almost like a winter wonderland.

I hope you enjoy these photos!

Snow! Lots of snow!

Well what a surprise - I was only reading my friend Don's blog about the snow they've been getting recently, and lo and behold - we get it this morning!

I went out early to take some photos, walking down to the fishing lakes a few hundred meters away - you can see them on my photography blog here.

Both Kane and I made sure we were warmly dressed before venturing out to the garden centre a few doors down to buy Kane some Wellies, which luckily they had in his size!

Once we were TOTALLY prepared, we went to the back garden to have a muck about and make a snowman.

Kane spent a lot of time running around in the snow - it's the most snow he has ever seen!

He also made a couple of 'snow angels', but by the time he was finished, he was caked in snow from head to toe, and with a massive smile on his face.

We usually have a theme when we build our snowmen, you see usually we make them on Jo's car as we don't get that much, so we have to make mini snowmen...

...last year or the year before we made the three monkeys (hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil)...

...and this year we were able to make a big snowman due to the amount of snow we have. In places the snow is 6" deep, and as I write, the snow is falling heavily again, so expect possibly up to another 6" of snow today!

Anyway, getting back to the snowman, this year it sort of evolved into a 'Stiggy snowman' I made the beard and put my hat on - can you tell the difference?

Zak was watching from inside in the warm, and Kane and I decided to give him a snow fight, so we made lots of snowballs and threw them at the patio doors - Zak REALLY enjoyed his part, and loved every snowball that hit the glass.

With all this snow falling, who knows - we may even be able to make an igloo or something else...

...we shall have to wait and see!



I just added the photo of the 3 monkeys...I mean snowmen!)

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Photos from Kane's Birthday!

I forgot to put these on the other post about Kane's Birthday - so here they are!

Kane's Invite to his party!

Kane Skywalker!

Lio and Kane

Serious player!

Fun Stiggy!

Important business at Pizzahut!


And Kane's Nintendo DS cake!

Kane's Birthday card from us (made by little old me)

6 already!

Our son Kane was 6 yesterday.

I took him Bowlplex and then to Pizzahut with two of his friends, in Brighton Marina.

We took a while to get to the Marina, as the traffic was surprisingly bad on the way, but we made it with a couple of minutes to spare - unfortunately the others were a little late and didn't turn up til just before we were booked to start, but that was ok as the queue at Bowlplex was massive - so we would have had to wait anyway!

Soon as we had our shoes, we made our way to 'Lane 25' which was to be our lane for the evening.

After opening the presents that his friends brought him, we settled down to play a very serious game.

When the scores started to come in, and I had hit my first strike, I decided to make teams up, with me and Kane being 'Team K'.

Luckily we did quite well, and although not bothering the pro's, Kane racked up a very decent score of 96, while I managed to get the top score of 124 - making 'Team K' the winners!

Next to Pizzahut - again it was really busy, with the queue going out the door - but again, SuperDad strikes again, and we had booked a table in advance - one of the circular booths which we could see from the door.

My American friend somehow made his way past everyone to ask a waitress if that was indeed our table - which it was - so we all piled in and took our places.

The boys has an individual pizza, while me and my mate got stuck into a free pizza which had been made wrong but was free!

While Martin and I were tucking into our proper pizza (meat feast of course!) the boys were tucking into their icecream and sweets from the icecream 'base'.

All in all it was a great afternoon/evening, and everyone enjoyed themselves with out too many tears.

In the evening I helped Kane making his lego models, and we relaxed in front of the TV tired out from the earlier excitement.



I can't BELIEVE it!

It's back again - and this time with vengance and furious anger!

The mole has made not one, not two, but THREE mole hills!

I crept out there this morning with spade in hand, ready to bop the lil fella on the head when I saw one hill moving. Crouching not 3 foot away from the animated mole hill, I waited, like a hunter hunting it's prey - spade in hand!

Just as the zenith of mole hill eruption hit, I brought down the spade with all my might, but after having a look - the thing had run off - honestly - how the heck does it move so fast!?!?

I'm going to be out there this afternoon after our special Macdonalds takeaway, putting the next level of trap - the humane mole trap!