Gardening

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I just read a really sad post on Facebook. A woman had friends round in her garden and someone said her garden was ugly. It was full of flower borders and a neatly cut lawn. There were pots on the lawn and it looked like a proper cottage garden with ox eye daisies.

Unbelievable how unkind people can be. I replied to her post:

“Looks amazing, if you have birds and small mammals you are doing the right thing. I’d rather your garden that something covered in decking! Ours is full of trees, squirrels, hedgehogs, the occasional fox. Loads of birds. Don’t let them get to you.”

I thought about it. We need to make more space for wildlife not less. Somehow patios and outdoor rooms have become the norm. How much money is spent on concrete? Lease think about making a small place in your garden for wildlife.

Short walk along the canal and Westport lake.

Long title…

We went for a walk along the Trent and Mersey canal, from the road up to Trubshaw Cross at Longport, Stoke-on-Trent, along the towpath, to the lakes at Westport. I was not at my best so we only walked round the small lake, then back along to our starting point.

The day was blustery, but I could feel some warmth from the sun. The old bottle oven round the back of Price and Kensington (facade allowed to crumble so much the council had to demolish part of it). It was sad to see all the rubbish and wood stacked up on the yard waiting to be burnt. The owners regularly light fires, not small ones, and cause a nuisance with smoke. I worry that the buildings may be irreversibly damaged by this behaviour. As you walk along the canal towpath the image improves, although there are places that are derelict and that made me wonder what would happen if the facade of a building were to fall into the canal.

We found the entry to Westport lake easily enough. We popped into the cafe to get some duck food, than a nice stroll round the lake. Stopping to chat with a photographer who had a really long lens to take pictures of the birds on the lake.

I need more exercise and this helped!

We have a frog!

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There is a frog in our pond. We had frogs several years ago, but they disappeared. Now they have come back. They are sharing the pond with some goldfish which seem to be OK. I wasn’t sure if they could co-exist? Do frogs eat fish? It’s funny seeing them breathe the water making tiny ripples with their movements. It’s a real wildlife garden and pond.

Hare minus bells

I went out this morning to go to the Orme Art group. We were supposed to do limited pallette paintings, white, red, yellow ochre and black. I cheated and used some cerulean blue in the background. I want to add harebells, a beautiful bell shaped flower found in the countryside. The image is an amalgum of a photo from a magazine that I’d taken a photo of and a photo off the Internet. I’m not sure if I will finish this or any of the other paintings at the moment. Every time I feel better I do stuff, then I feel ill again. I guess I’m trying too hard. But I wanted some really strong paintings for the exhibition. I hope they look good. Anyway I’m having a rest for half an hour.

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I promised myself I would paint.

Today I started a painting for the first time in months. I saw an image by photographer David Tipling of a Barn Owl from a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust bookmark and just had to paint it.

Why the owl? The photographer has captured it in flight beautifully  The sinuous curve of its wings seems to scythe through the air. Its face is both impassive and intent.

I hope the photographer does not mind me painting his image.

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Just add owl

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About 9 years ago I had an hour at our local wildlife sanctuary as a treat for my birthday. One of the highlights was the chance to fly this owl. Unfortunately I can’t remember what species it was, but it was a magnificent bird.

The sanctuary takes in birds and animals that have been in private hands and then the owner has not been able to look after it, either because the bird or animal got too big or was too expensive to look after. I just love how flexible it was, turning its head round on its shoulders. I think we will have to visit again soon. 

Cats and Dogs

Cat or Dog! Which would you choose?

For pets, cats are my favourite. But I have met some lovely, friendly, mad dogs in my time.

I do think cats are more fastidious than dogs. The idea of taking a dog for a walk and having to clean up after it does not appeal. But if it is your friend I suppose that is part of the obligation and responsibility.

I dont understand people keeping large cats as pets. Apparently there are more big cats, like lions and tigers, in captivity in America than there are left in the wild .

Don’t talk to me about hunting and poaching  animals. As far as I am concerned people who kill lions, tigers, or wild dogs for trophies, or catch big cats to sell on to people who use their body parts for medicine all need imprisoning for a very long time. I think they are evil.

Cats and Dogs can be utterly beautiful, but also very strange. Dachshunds, Devon Rex cats, Maine Coon, Rottweilers, so many breeds, shapes, sizes.

So in the end its your choice……