Sunday, 31 May 2015

…. and then there were two hedgehogs …..

Hi everyone,

I hope you have enjoyed my hedgehog post & been inspired to help the wildlife where you live.  We can all help by not using harsh chemicals in the garden which negatively effects the delicate eco systems that share our space.

We do not use chemicals because our free range house bunny Vivaldi loves the back garden - munching away at plants & grass.

I have several bird feeders & nest up & we share our space with a clutch of sparrows, dunnocks, a few cute wrens, blackbirds, song thrushes, blue tits, great tits, the occasional green finch and several robins. Our fountain is used as a pond by a regular frog / toad & of course our hedgehogs too. We do not use slug & snail pellets either as those kill off  the wildlife; we don't have many slugs & snails so the hogs must be doing a good job.

As I mentioned in the previous post on our hedgehog,  our cameras have given me a new understanding of those who share my space. Every morning I review the footage to find when the hog visited & how long he stayed.

This morning, tea in hand, I settled down to watch the hog with white markings strut into the picture then make itself at home on our covered entrance. It sniffed around, seemingly in no hurry to leave & 20 minutes later it was still sniffing around by our front door, its white markings clearly visible.

Then, the corner of the camera picked up the large hog that I saw a few nights before, as he scurried across the lawn. I rewound & looked again - whitey was still on the doorstep & the other one made its way past her (I think 'her' as she is smaller) and he went to feed on mealworms in the hedgehog house.

I know - it is silly to be so happy to see a pair of them as regular visitors but I feel as if I am having a direct impact on the wild life in my immediate garden & that can only be a good thing.

Whitey stayed for more than 40 minutes before going to eat & then wander off in to the night … I hope to see them together again on camera & we might even have some hoglets in the future.

Do you champion local wildlife? Who do you share your space with?
Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Our hedgehog is such a fussy eater ….

My regular visitors will already be acquainted with the numerous wildlife that pass through our Shropshire garden, particularly the random hedgehogs mentioned here and here ….

Recent reports of the decline in their numbers has spurred me on to making sure that I feed them regularly - they need all the help (and food) they can get.

This past month has seen our front hedgehog house being well used as a feeding station each night.  I have been very good about putting out food each night - mealworms are a firm favourite, and they have been gone by the morning.

Our recently installed outdoor cameras have caught the hedgehog making its way around the garden - taking his time, ambling along, sometimes spending 15-20 minutes in the garden close to midnight.

The hedgehog sign on the top of the house as I have been asked what it is for ….

Last night I was down to the last of the mealworms (the baby blue tits like them too) so I decided to try the Waitrose cat biscuits again. They were not liked last time around but another try is always good?

So I mixed them  up with the mealworms, smug in the illusion that they were Waitrose ones that might be marginally better than other ones but no ……

A decisive NO from our spoilt hedgehog.

I lifted the lid & it was like a kid throwing food around - the container was tipped over - strewn about the house & only the mealworms eaten!  He even pooped by the container … oh dear - I think that means NO!

So I cleaned it out with a brush - aired the house by leaving the roof raised & then went to buy more mealworms.

 I even looked in at our garden centre & bought a bag of hedgehog biscuits!

I hope this will satisfy our noisy hedgehog & stop him from stropping about his food. Do you have any hedgehog advice for me? I will let you know how it goes - please stop back again for an update!

Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 23 May 2015

The interesting ceramic history of my Apple Blossom platter …

Does your curiosity get the better of you when you find unusual items?

I found this love green Apple Blossom Festival platter by chance on a visit to Dorset & loved its bright colours & raised relief details. I showed it on my sideboard & am pleased with the raised, majolica like detail.

My regular followers know that I have a great love for interesting crockery designs & my curiosity soon got the better of me & I had to do a little research on the details listed on the reverse ….

The platter was made by Donald S Nelson for the Armagh Apple Blossom Festival of the 10-17 May 1975 & it is no130 of 200 made.

It was made by D.S Nelson of Little Orchard Pottery.

I wondered more about Little Orchard Potteries & Donald S Nelson. In these instances,  it is good to do some internet searching …

I found some fascinating background information which linked him to the popular Wade figurines

Little Orchard Pottery

Donald S. Nelson was one of the designers in the Wade factory.
He worked for in the Wade factory from July 1966 to June 1969.
He created Nelson's Coffeware - which came in three separate colours - green, brown or blue.
He modified the Irish Song Figure Molly Malone.
For a short period of time after this he worked for another former employee who ran his own company in the name of Irish Ceramics and Crafts. Unfortunately this company was not successful and closed after two years.
Nelson decided to set up on his own - producing pottery called "Little Orchard Pottery". He worked near his home at Cranagill, Portadown, County Armagh.
I also found out some more about Nelson's time at Wade (page 15)

Lovely embossed designs with earthy colours ….

A chance find has produced an interesting background history,  when I now look at my Apple Blossom Festival platter,  I will be mindful of the history of the potter & his links to the famous Wade ceramics & whimsies. Their long & varied history including the popular NatWest piggy banks makes interesting reading ….

I hope you have enjoyed the background history too. Do you own a few wade whimsies or some of the promotional goodies? Which are your favourites?

Have you been inspired to look behind the labels or marks of things you have bought?

Thanks for stopping by - I always appreciate your visits
Dee ~♥~

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Apple blossom time ….

Hi everyone

Do you watch the changing seasons with a sense of wonder?  I love our British seasonal changes - there is always something to look forward to.

May is traditionally apple blossom time & they are some of the loveliest times about.

This is the old apple trees at the Dorset family home -  they are truly spectacular this year!

 Lilac & apple blossoms blooming next to each other …

While out browsing with Ms M in Dorset, I spied a lovely green plate & with its raised details & crest, I just knew it was going back to Shropshire with me.  I also knew exactly where it would be going …

You have probably guessed too - my sideboard in our conservatory is changed very regularly because it is the space we use the most for meals & relaxing. The conservatory links the lounge & the dining room & is a space we really love because it is light, bright & warm with lovely views of the garden.

I wish I had an apple tree to cut some blossoms from, however, this old apple bowl was gifted by my mother in law some years back & it always look right piled high with tempting apples …

I love mixing old & new & so the green apple platter was my starting point ...

It is the right shade of apple green to sit with the pink Ikea Ideel plates …

I love my eclectic collection of silver candlesticks that we use around the house & have mixed candles to add interest too. - a reminder that they are well used. We always keep candles in them because they are on hand to be used at the table or even in the garden ….

My style is to mix up various sets of plates so it is more casual. The fluted plates are by Gisela Graham & the coloured pink & green glass plates are from the Ikea Ideel range. These are all favourites which you might have spotted on my Spring sideboard too.

The green candlesticks are vintage milk glass which sit happily with the modern pinkIkea candle holders on the right. Do you like to mix things up & combine old & new?

I hope you are enjoying the brighter weather & the change of seasons in the garden.

Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to read the post.
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Chand Baori in Abhaneri, near Jaipur, Rajasthan

Hi everyone, thank you for your company & comments.  I hope you are enjoying my Indian adventure with me & that it will inspire you to visit ….

If, like me, your introduction to life in India was via the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  you might just have spotted swimmers diving in to the Chand Baori stepwell - a brief glimpse but enough to whet the appetite.

I have seen the famous step wells on TV & never for a moment dreamt that I would actually visit one.

It was just a brief mention in our daily guide, as an optional extra, and when our driver, Baba recommended the short detour to it, Ms M & I had no idea quite how spectacular it would be.

We stopped in an unremarkable street in a small town, walked in an unremarkable door where restoration was clearly in progress and then ….

I admit to being totally & utterly in awe of the sight that unfolded before our eyes - it is hard to describe the awe at the precision & planning of something so truly beautiful & functional.

A lady keeper accompanied us as we made our way around the 3 sides that have steps cut in to them.  We estimated that to fetch a bucket of water would require you to transverse some 90-100 steps each way. There are no railings to hold on to, it shows the preciousness of water - that commodity that we take foregranted in our Western homes where it flows freely.

 It is hard to describe how precisely lovely it is ….

Perhaps if we had to fetch it with such effort, we might appreciate it more.

I wonder how many feet have trod those stairs for water? I wonder what tales they could tell ….

Sometimes a detour leads you to something unexpectedly wonderful.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have enjoyed this ….
Dee ~♥~