Autumn Walk

I love this time of the year when the sun sits low in the sky and the last of the Autumn leaves fall to the ground like confetti – this makes any walk seem more like a parade (I must remember to play some brass band music on my iPod next time)! Our very favourite walk actually starts at the gate… we simply turn left and walk. When we reach the red postbox (below) it always makes me smile. When I first moved into this area I tried to post a letter and was surprised to find that I could see daylight through the slot. The front of the decommissioned postbox was retained by the owners as an attractive feature but I often wonder if they ever find any errant letters or unpaid bills fluttering around in the garden!

The circular walk is only five miles long but there are a couple of good climbs that make your legs realise that they need to get out more! It’s great to take deep breaths of fresh air and enjoy the beautiful countryside, especially knowing that there’ll be a hot cup of coffee on return.

It’s hard to believe that we started the year with an official drought due to a cold but very dry Winter last year. Ironically, there are now flood warnings in place and thousands of homes throughout the country have been flooded and emergency evacuations are occurring. The ground is so saturated that any small amount of rain makes the situation worse. We’re lucky as the house is not near a river and it’s not in the valley, yet despite this, we still need to put on our Wellies to open and close the gate. My thoughts are with those who aren’t so lucky and who will be cleaning up and paying the price of flood damage for a long time.
About half a mile down the Lane there is a tricky bend that often becomes flooded… I’ve noticed that I can guauge if this bend is passable or not by looking at our driveway… if the flood water is all the way across the gateway then the lane is not passable!

I’ll end with happier news – the kittens have settled in beautifully, they’re outgoing, used to being handled and very playful. I can add “an armful of kittens” to the list of things that make me very happy! I’m also on holiday this week from work… another thing that’s on my happy list :-)

Smitten

We’re now sharing our home with two beautiful 10wk old kittens. One is a grey tabby girl and the other is a brown tabby boy… and we’re completely in love already.

Their names are yet to be decided but I’m sure this will be easier once we get to know them a better (I’m secretly hoping it will be Mouser and Cuddle Cat LOL!!). It’s been an especially happy day today because it’s also my gorgeous husband’s birthday.

Many Happy Returns Bear! I’m sorry I haven’t had chance to make you a cake. I love you x

Mouse Party!

Under the kitchen sink there is a cupboard where the dusters and cleaning products belong. It’s also where the magical ever-lasting can of furniture polish lives (even though I use the can at least twice a year it never seems to empty for some reason). Anyway, it was in this cupboard that I discovered a path of confetti made from lots of chewed scouring pads, dishwasher tablets and plastic bottles. All the evidence pointed towards a late night Mouse Party.
Now whilst most normal people are hard wired to think “dirty, smelly little vermin” I automatically conjures up Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca from the Tales of Beatrix Potter! If you don’t know the story it’s about two bad mice who wreaked havoc on a beautiful doll’s house and completely vandalised it. And they look so adorable!!!


Back to reality – I know that mice are dirty, disease carrying pests and need to be dealt with swiftly but the idea of poisons and violent traps do not sit easily with me… so as my poor, exasperated husband looked on with despair (not for the first time unfortunately) as I came up with Plan A:
1. Block as as many  holes as possible in which mice could fit through. In such an old house their seems to be more holes than skirting boards! As they can apparently squeeze through a hole the size of a pencil I’m not holding my breath with this one.
2. Remove available food sources, make sure there are no crumbs anywhere and put the rubbish in a lockable bin. There’s no combination lock yet but that’s not to say it won’t happen ;-)
3. Put up a sign in the party cupboard to tell the mice to keep out. It worked for the rabbits but I’m not sure if mice can read?? If they can read, but persist anyway, they will realise that an eviction notice has been served.
4. Peppermint oil to be sprinkled around the perimeter. The house smells like toothpaste but it’s better than the fusty smell of mouse!
5. The humane traps are waiting in the wings.
6. If the above doesn’t work then my Evil Husband (cue villainous laughter… mwaa, haa, hhaa!) will implement Plan B which I’m sure most of you sensible guys would actually use as Plan A!!!.
Don’t shout at me, I know that I need to toughen up and change the cute and fluffy pictures in my head to something a little scarier…. how about the scary Vampire Mouse below??

By the way, another option that came up in Plan A and Plan B was getting a cat. Up until a couple of years ago we’d always had cats and never seemed to have a mouse problem. Our  little cat died a couple of years ago and neither of us wanted to rush out and get another one as it was all too sad. The exciting news is that we’re both finally ready to have a couple of cats again (I’m currently doing my happy dance!).
I’m just a little concerned that the kittens will be cornered by a Vampire Mouse that dwells behind the kitchen sink!! Maybe I need to scrub that image too…………

The Hungry Slug

As the garden is slowly being put to bed for the Winter, like a naughty child it’s decided that it’s not quite bedtime yet! There are new flowers appearing on the hydrangeas, green buds in the hedgerow and even asparagus spears are too impatient to wait for Spring! The sunshine has been lovely today, and although it’s been frosty, there was much activity. However everything stopped, albeit briefly, at 11 o’clock for Remembrance Day.

I don’t think there will be many flowers left next weekend as the mornings are really frosty now. That’s probably why a mouse has decided to come indoors and leave presents everywhere…. but more of that later ;-)

Insect Hotel

Although the mornings are frosty and the puddles are frozen there are still some amazingly hardy flowers that refuse to die back. The snapdragons are particularly colourful and it makes me think that there is a little area of Summer just behind the Nectar Bar where the frost daren’t go. The lavender is still looking good and the scabiosa has been a garden star! Even the little sunflowers are still trying to produce new heads but the bees and butterflies are no longer around to appreciate this effort.

A start has been made to the Insect Hotel – it needs a lot more packing material and the roof is just propped on at the moment but I’ve opened the doors as a little haven to anything with more that four legs!

I’ve already seen some spiders and earwigs (eeek!!) so I hope business will be brisk this Winter. As long as the clients don’t mind some construction work over the next couple of weekends I’m sure they’ll enjoy their stay!