Saturday, 18 February 2017

Carpets of snowdrops

We always visit Cammo Country Park at this time of year to see the snowdrops. They have wonderful displays of these lovely flowers, specially in the walled garden.

It was also lovely to see so many birds, especially in the fields around Cammo. At least three skylarks were singing and we saw more tree sparrows than we've ever seen!

Snowdrops are at their best across Scotland at the moment - you can find out about the Scottish Snowdrop Festival events here.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Assembing Vintage Beads into Bracelets

I made a whole lot of assemblage bracelets recently. I was inspired to do so when a necklace fell apart! Although I liked the beads in the necklace, it wasn't a great length for me so I though rather than repair it I'd use it to make a beaded lanyard (which will be on sale soon in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop). I then realised I could use the extra beads to make bracelets and I searched among all my stash of broken jewellery for beads with the same wire setting to them. I ended up making seven bracelets, all of which will end up in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop! These two are already there:

which is in the shop here.

and this one

which is in the shop here.

These have been great fun to make and I'm hoping to make more in the future! 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Early Spring by Amy Seidl

This book is part memoir, part science and part plea for the world to pay more attention to climate change.

Seidl is an ecologist and writes of her experience of a mother bringing up children in rural Vermont and as an ecologist studying how the seasons are changing year on year. She refers both to her own observations on how some species are flowering earlier than they used to and other scientists work on for example the science of how river flow is affected by a changing climate and how changes for one species have a knock on effect on other species that rely on the first (eg for food).

She breaks down her observations into chapters that focus on: Weather; Gardens; Forests; Water; Birds, Butterflies; Meadows and Fields.

She looks at how Vermont has changed - losing some of its historical forest to farmland but then more recently losing some of the farmland back to forest. This has impacted on species such as the bobolink, a bird of open spaces that moved into Vermont from the west but now is decreasing in Vermont (due to loss of farmland) just as urbanisation and agricultural intensification are reducing its favoured habitats in the west. This is just one of many species being affected by a complicated network of human induced changes.

She also outlines how some people in Vermont are trying to live more in balance with nature, whether by growing their own crops on a small scale or by using more environmentally friendly methods in large scale farming (though that is counterbalanced by the farmers who are moving into more intensive farming).

It's a fascinating book that makes climate change real in a very specific place and time, in a way that is understandable and observable. It isn't just happening in Vermont of course, all round the world nature is changing with the climate and we don't know what the ultimate consequences will be.

Early Spring by Amy Seidl published by Beacon Press (2009)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Looking closely at lichen

I find lichen totally fascinating, though I know they are notoriously difficult to even begin to identify to species level. So I'm resigned to just enjoying them! What particularly drew me to this lichen growing on the sea wall at Musselburgh was the way the light was shining on the fruiting bodies (the darker yellow, disc like structures) - click on the photo for a larger view!

The green plant in the photo is a moss, I can only identify one moss to species level and it isn't this one! I like the contrast between the colours of the lichen and the moss.

Lovely to hear the skylarks singing at full volume today!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

winter haiku

snowdrops -
winter continues
without you

(in memory of my Mum who passed away a few days ago)

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Computer woes

Our computer has lots of problems at the moment and everything is so slow it feels like time wasting. So I won't be blogging until we get this sorted, hopefully early next week at the latest! I won't be on Facebook either though Twitter is okay and if you order from my Etsy shops then I can still deal with the order.

Back soon!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham

Subtitled 'The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal' and beautifully illustrated by Jake Blanchard, this is an interesting look at this relatively common but very elusive mammal.

Barkham looks at various aspects of the badgers lifestyle and how it has been treated by humans through the ages, from being hunted and baited to being revered on one hand for their looks and personality and a figure of hatred on the other, for their suspected role in spreading bovine TB. Badgers have given their name to various places in the UK and have their place as characters in fiction from Wind in the Willows to Rupert Bear, yet most people never see them!

Badgers are very intelligent - I love the detail in an early chapter that a badger has been observed lining its sett with a waterproof sheet before making its nest!

Barkham visits people with different opinions to badgers, from animal rescue workers (including Brian May, former guitarist with Queen who has his own badger rescue centre), scientists researching badger ecology, people who feed the badgers in their gardens and people on both sides of the badger cull debate. He investigates the efficacy of the badger cull in reducing bovine TB in cattle and after a very even handed discussion he comes to his conclusion.

Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham published (2013) by Granta Books