Saturday, 31 March 2018

Pottering About

Or more precisely, potting about.
I have been gathering plants to use in four 14 inch (35cm) hanging baskets. As they arrived as plug plants they have needed potting on until they are sufficiently robust to plant in the baskets.

Here I have six Scented Trailing Nemesia Vanilla Lady on the right and the rest are mixed Pansy plants:


There are also 35 mixed trailing Lobelia which came as mini plug plants:


They look like good value as there must be about 6 plants in each plug.

On the way back from an excellent fish and chip meal at the Wagon and Horses, South Reston, yesterday lunch time I picked up a few primulas from the local Post Office and general store. They will fill a few gaps where some have died off:


Following a night of heavy rainfall the back lawn is starting to disappear under water again. Also I think things have been too wet for the Great Tit to find suitable nesting material as there have been no visits to the nestbox so far today. Yesterday she was fairly busy so this is the state of play:


I think the item top left is a feather which is caught in a spider's web. It initially caused some problems last night as it fluttered when the wind was blowing. Anything moving starts the recorder. Fortunately modern DVRs have a section where any part of the picture can be marked as 'ignore this'.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Home Sweet Home

Great Tit nest building starts in earnest. Just a couple of short clips:

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Has She Finally Made Up Her Mind?

After seven days of visits to the camera nestbox Mrs Great Tit arrived with a piece of nesting material. It also looks as though she caught the spider which kept building a web in front of the camera:

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Blue Sky and White Clouds

As it looked like being a fine day yesterday I set up a camera outdoors to take a photograph every five seconds. Now the bulky leylandii is no more I have a better view of the sky. This is a time lapse video made from just over 1200 shots. About 2 hours sky watching reduced to 40 seconds:

I wonder whether you spotted the one frame where a Wood Pigeon photobombed the view of the clouds:


As for the camera nest box - both Great Tits have continued to make visits every day so far.
No sign of any nest building activity as yet.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Monday Montage

Last week's WidsMob Montage picture caused a few problems:

Montage 06

The Weaver of Grass chose correctly.
It was indeed a sheep (looking a bit pig like):


Thank you to all who had a look and tried to identify it.

Maybe this will be a bit easier:

Montage 01

Can you work out what I photographed?
Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

The Labyrinth

Saturday being a reasonable day I decided it was time to plant out some of the things I had bought this year. First were a couple of Chinese Lantern plants to put in containers. I used to have one a few years ago but for some unknown reason it suddenly died:


Next were a couple of Virginia Creepers. After much thought I had decided these would look good climbing over the large stump left over from felling the Leylandii in the bottom corner of the garden:


While I was doing that I noticed that many of the crevices in the stump were full of old damp needles so I set about cleaning many of them out as they would cause the stump to start rotting.  It was while doing that I noticed what appeared to be a round hole which at first reminded me of a mouse hole. It looked about the right size:


Closer examination showed me that there was a spider's web at the entrance:


with a flat sheet at the bottom:


Looking even more closely I could see the whole hole and tunnel were part of the web:


After a bit of thought and research I have come to the conclusion it is the web of a labyrinth spider.


Apparently they can be quite deep. Built by the female spider the eggs are hung from the roof deep inside the labyrinth of tunnels.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Fluttering About

What a glorious early Spring day it was on Thursday.
By late morning the temperature had reached a heady12.5C
I decided to check the heathers to see what was about.
There along with dozens of bees were three Small Tortoiseshell butterflies:

Small Tortoiseshell DSCN8268

Making a change from yellow were some small clumps of Chionodoxa forbesi (Glory of the Snow):


Yet another brief visit to the camera nestbox by both Great Tits this morning:

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Video - House Hunting

Spotted some movement on the camera monitor yesterday.
Joy on joy. The first time for three years Great Tits have show an interest in the camera nestbox.
A long video, over 5 minutes, as the recorder captured the whole visit.
It appears to me the male was first to enter. A short while later the female entered and the male left.
She then spends about four minutes examining the box and gives it the 'nest box shuffle' several times.

Sound is general garden noise as there is no microphone in the nestbox.
Now it's a waiting game to see whether they come back.

Checked the recordings.
They made two more visits yesterday and three so far today.
Both birds visiting every time.
Looking hopeful.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Springing Into Life

Signs of Spring are springing up all over.

My tete-a-tete miniature daffs:



But the appearance of loads of frog spawn in the garden pond was unexpected considering how bleak and cold it has been recently:


Monday, 19 March 2018

Monday Montage

As promised here is the first of the puzzle pictures created with WidsMob Montage:

Montage 06

If you would like to hazard a guess as to what I photographed originally please leave your guess in the comments. They will be revealed, along with the original photo, next Monday.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Saturday Stretcher

For the last of this series I posed this stretched photo:


Ragged Robin and Wilma were on the right lines with their guesses.
It was a connector used on the end of a hose which lets you connect a variety of things like spray nozzles and lawn sprinklers:


Thanks to all who have had a go guessing this series of puzzle photos.
All being well a new series will start on Monday (Monday Montage)

What a mixture the weather has been today; sunshine, gusty wind up to 72 kph (45 mph) and snow showers. In the snowy gusts the wind chill was down to -10C but sheltered from the wind the warmth from the Sun could be felt - all on the same walk round the block. Fortunately here, so far today, most of the snow has blown away or melted but low overnight temperatures could see a thin covering tomorrow morning along with icy conditions.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Nearly There

The first flowers have started opening on my largest Cymbidium plant:

Cymbidium DSCN8238

I used to think the blobs of sticky sap were caused by insect attack but after some research I was reassured that these are produced naturally by the plant.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

That Temporary Pond ....

.... is back again.

Rain showers on and off all day yesterday.
Then continuous rain from teatime until 3 a.m. this morning.

The view from the kitchen window:

and from the back door:

The ground was already saturated so it may take a while to soak away.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Coming Soon .....

... to a blog not a million miles from here.

WidsMob Montage

WidsMob Montage is a Mac app (program) I discovered when it briefly became available as a free download instead of its usual price of up to $19.99  This is what I will be using for the next set of puzzle pictures starting a week on Monday under the title Monday Montage.

This is how it works.
First choose the background photo, in this case a Robin:

Screenshot (2018-3-10 10.20.28 pm)

Next choose at least five other photos:

 Screenshot (2018-3-10 10.21.59 pm)

Tiny versions of these are used to build up a montage with the program choosing those with suitable matching colours for each position in the photo.

The end result being:

Screenshot (2018-3-10 10.22.23 pm)

Some adjustment can be made to the number of columns of tiny pictures and their size.

Final output:

Robin Example

I'm sure they wont all be as easy to recognise as this one!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Saturday Stretcher

Finally got round to doing this.
Don't know why but a regular Saturday post seems harder to remember.

Last week's stretched photo was:


which Adrian, Bettina and Ragged Robin quite rightly said was a pumice stone:


I have no idea how long this one has been in the family but it still gets used from time to time.
As always, thanks to all who had a go.

This week's photo may well be the last of this series for a while. Most stretched photos I take are far too obvious. The turntable needs to revolve faster so I will have to sit back and have a think about that. I do have a new program for making a different style of puzzle photo which I may well try out next time but for now here is the latest stretched photo for you to identify:


As ever if you would like to have a guess please leave it in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with a 'proper' photo of the object, next Saturday.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Friday at the Flicks


Another one bites the dust.
The tree just past the end of my garden damaged in the recent storm is no more:

That video was compiled with about 2300 photos. One taken every 5 seconds.

Some photos:



Sunday, 4 March 2018

Things Are Looking Up

After 'the Beast From the East' and storm Emma things are looking up, here anyway.
It seems almost eerily quiet after a couple of days of gale force winds.
With the quick rise in temperatures most of the snow in the village has gone already:

Screenshot (2018-3-4 6.09.50 pm)

Screenshot (2018-3-4 6.09.17 pm)

Back to normal this evening. 7C and it's raining!

Returning from our mid afternoon walk I spotted one lot of miniature daffodils in the front garden promising that Spring really is close by:



Saturday, 3 March 2018

Saturday Stretcher

The weeks seem to be flying past at the moment.
Once again, last week's stretched subject was:


which was correctly identified as a clothes peg / pin by Adrian, Wilma and Ragged Robin:


Different colours registered by different cameras being used.

I think this week's stretched object may be a bit more difficult to work out:


If you think you know what it is please leave a guess in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with a 'proper' photo, next Saturday.

Friday, 2 March 2018

A Bit Precarious

Just looked out of the kitchen window to see:


Another part of the tree has snapped in the gusty wind.
This time resting precariously in the branches of another tree.
Will there be any left by the time the gales recede over night?

It might be just below freezing outside but the wind chill is -7C as we found out on our early morning perambulation to the village post box to send a birthday card.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

A Near Miss

All day the wind has been gusting over 40mph.
Part of the large, lanky leylandii just past the end of my garden broke off:


It seems to have landed just behind my fencing, narrowly missing it.
There are two sections left which are taking a battering so I have fingers crossed that if they do come down it will be away from my garden and fencing. I am very pleased I had my leylandii removed a few months ago as these winds are forecast to continue for at least another 24 hrs..
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