Prayer Flags


I hung these up when my sister became ill back in 2012. They didn’t save her life, but I think of her every time I look at them. This is the second set, the first ones faded and all became white, so I replaced them last year – she would like that.

Don’t Wait!


Live Life Now!

On a Dash to the Ardéche


We had to go to Aubenas this week to collect a part for the microlight. Aubenas is in the southern part of the Ardéche department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. It’s quite beautiful and a great place if you want to go rock climbing or canoeing. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time for photography because it was a flying visit; a six hour journey down there and back again in a day. I did grab a chance for a couple of pics on the way home, some taken from the car window as we drove along.

Not everyone’s cup of tea but I love wind turbines

Snapped on the move!

 Beautiful stonework

Potted Mouse


Possibly my favourite animal is the wood mouse (also known as the long-tailed field mouse), and for many years now they have been coming to our window ledge to share the sunflower seeds we put out for the birds. But a problem arose about a year ago. I noticed a grey house-mouse chasing off a wood mouse on more than one occasion and fairly soon the grey population was increasing. Not only that but there was a distinct aroma of mouse pee on the windowsill and the greys were increasing and bringing their offspring. (Wood mice are extremely clean and don’t leave smells).

It couldn’t go on. I started feeding the birds on the bird table. Then I dug out a humane mouse trap and filled it with seeds. Over a period of about a week we caught 25 mice and relocated them to a barn some distance away. I left the trap out for a while but there wasn’t a mouse in sight. The window ledge was scrubbed clean and I put no seed out for a couple of weeks.

I missed my wood mice, and kept thinking back to the one chased off by the grey. Now that the greys were gone would the wood mice come back? I put seeds out and within two or three days there he was late one evening taking seeds from a small dish. I decided to give him a little shelter in the form of an old flower pot. He seems to love it and is there every night. Apologies for the quality of the video, I need more practise at editing.

 

 

My little friend is often still ferrying seeds back to his burrow in the morning, which is when I managed to snap a few pictures through the window. But he’s so fast in and out of the pot and sometimes takes a while between trips. So there were two problems – one in that ninety percent of the photos ended up being mouse-blur. Then when I tried the video I was getting long gaps while he tore off to his burrow. This then caused small hiccups in the video (below) when I chopped out bits where nothing was happening. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it anyway.

 

Swallowtails


Visiting our lilac this year are the swallowtail butterflies, one of a number of butterfly visitors.

One tail seems to be missing!

A curly pollen-covered tongue!

Asian Hornet


Known in France as the Frelon Asiatique these hornets are a threat to bee colonies, they also hunt a range of other insects. They’re supposed to have a pretty serious sting, which is slightly worrying in that they are attracted to a bush in our garden, a bush which I have to pass close to when heading up to the washing line. They’ve been coming to this bush for the last two or three years and have arrived again in the last two or three days.

These hornets have a particularly deep and loud buzz (that of a small motorcycle) and a very aggressive look about them. But my theory is that hopefully if I leave them alone they’ll leave me alone. At the moment there are only one or two which will have come from a nest hopefully some distance away.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth


The Earth is for Miners

It’s not just man that digs and delves – these are tiny miner bees, notice their legs covered in pollen

They dig down and create little cone-shaped casts

Then one of them appears to guard the entrance

We have six or eight of their little mining casts in the centre of our drive at the moment

Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise No.2


The Naked Woman and the Moth

I’m serious, this really happened yesterday morning! I wandered into the kitchen in ‘the altogether’ about seven o’clock and peered out of the window, checking for squirrels or birds etc. Nothing furred or feathered in view but then heavens above I see on the window in the corner by the shutter the biggest moth in the world! I dashed into the bedroom and told my hubby, who was still half asleep, then grabbed the camera. I was so excited, and had to get a few photos of the moth before she took off, so I threw the windows wide, clambered onto a stool, and then knelt on the edge of the sink while leaning out of the window as far as I dared in order to get my shots. It did pass through my mind at this time that I had no clothes on; I just hoped there were no hunters around!

The moth was incredible. I managed to get a passable shot …

Then I managed to very gently get her on my hand …

With her wings spread out she had to be seven inches across. I took a few more shots …

The moth seemed very sleepy and made no attempt to fly off, and ended up back on my hand. I still hadn’t grabbed any clothes and was now standing outside the back door – with moth attached. Fortunately she stayed attached while I nipped into the bedroom and pulled on a dressing gown and a pair of trainers. I wanted to take her up into the trees where she’d be camouflaged from predators.

Having done a bit of a search I’m fairly sure this is a female Emperor moth. What a beauty, and what a surprise!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise


This was genuine and happened yesterday, most conveniently for the weekly challenge. I wandered out onto the balcony in the morning and looked down into the woods. Something was different. There was a splodge of purple that had never been there before. I got the camera.

Time to zoom in …

The colour reminded me of a clematis or an iris … but how could that happen suddenly in the middle of the wood? This morning I scrambled down the bank between the trees …

And there it was! A beautiful tall iris with two more buds waiting to bloom. Never before has an iris grown down there. It’s magic!

Isn’t nature incredible. I can only assume that birds or the wind helped a seed down there.

Iris, no doubt, has been a big and rather beautiful surprise!

Weekly Photo Challenge

Careful Steps to the Washing Line


Our back door looks straight up the hill to the washing line. It’s tied to that spindly little oak.

It’s quite a long steep bank and as you walk up you have to be very careful of wild flowers …

More wild flowers …

A few more …

Then there are wild purple orchids …

And more orchids …

 

When I’d eventually picked my way up the hill the dandelion clock said ‘You took your time!’

I said, ‘Well I can’t go stepping on all these flowers!’

Crab Spider


Hoping my fellow blogger Pete Hillman may know the correct name for this little crab spider!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Security


Security but not as we know it!

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