Category Archives: Animal

What do thunder flies taste like?

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I looked on Wikipedia, but, although discoursing on their evolution, flight, reproductive habits etc., the article was obstinately silent about flavour.

Which left me with a question about the elderflowers:  to wash, or not to wash?  The former removes the pale pollen as well as a good many flies; the latter will keep the pollen, but also more animals will be retained, infusing their possibly noxious juice when I pour the hot syrup over.  Ummm.

And later:

greenhouse audit.  Must have been breeding all winter.

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Sploshing about

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A relaxing read, on the whole, though the prose is occasionally purple and narration always in the present tense.  I always want more biology and fewer atmospherics, but a few facts sifted into the text.  Much can be forgiven to a fellow newt-fancier and pond-digging advocate.

Idling

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Wednesday.

Bother Oxford, I thought sniffily, going out as the rain slowed.  So I turned left, interested by the curious mixture of pretension and seediness that characterised the area.  (Click an image for the gallery)

Today I travelled home.  Someone burned the toast at Oxford station and we evacuated, but luckily that was the only drama.

Oh I have seen the white-tailed eagle poop

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That should be “eaglet” but never mind.  A minor obsession with slow television probably hints at psychic disturbance; but how soothing when the wobbly progression backward and subsequent evacuation is the most dramatic moment of the day, while uploading to a VLE, doing paperwork and packing a bag are being wilfully ignored. Why don’t the chicks on loo duty fall out when their motor control is so erratic?  Or maybe they sometimes do.

Popecatepetl also counts as slow television, with the added benefit of the occasional Mexican pigeon peering fuzzily through to England.  It has the potential to turn very suddenly into fast television, of course, but let’s not think about that.

And: Sorry; parody unintentional.  I’ve just identified the source.  Oops.

Flung a toad, and other mishaps

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The blackbirds love me.  Sorting out a hundred little plant pots is bunce for them.  Not so for the toad hiding in one of them whose otherwise defunct contents I flicked into the garden.*  Bit of a surprise to both of us.

Knitting in your sleep is all very well so long as you don’t start knitting to a previous similar pattern instead of the current one.

Undoing the section wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the cabling.  Taking the whole jumper back would have been even slower and nearly as difficult.

The tension in panel C is a bit wrecked …

*  No toads were harmed in the making of this post.

Herpetologist’s stoop

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I have been indulging in Cyril Hare.  His trademark plots each turn on some  legal clause or condition, and his settings are an austere wartime or post-war England.  Interestingly, this and An English Murder include various refugees and displaced persons in the cast of characters; does this reflect what post-war society really was like, or is it political correctness of the time, or just a taste for the exotic?

Small triumph:  I did guess the murderer, though not the motive.

Outside, dealing with neglected pots.  I had to cut this one off, and the plant lost big chunks of root, poor thing.

The wildlife is gratifying but reluctant to pose for portraits.  A slow-worm tucked itself down into a warm spot:

I craned agonisingly over the water (newts are worth hirpling for) looking for small slitherings and turnings.  There they were, in pairs and small clumps.  One pair was seriously interested – at least he was interested, though perhaps she was not.   But they were shy, and ducked when the camera came out.

 

I gave in …

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… the marketing got me.  This is the freebie.

Bits went missing while the washing machine spun out or I counted stitches on the needle, attention wandering off in Rome and returning to Egypt or the Great Plains.  The chapters were somewhat repetitive, but unfortunately this was often due to the same agricultural errors being repeated … again … and again … and yes, again.  Anyone who ever grew a potato or a pea will understand the importance.

I would have liked a little more about soil as a microbiome, especially as Montgomery was keen to realign soil science with biology instead of chemistry.  An enticing image of bacteria as minuscule livestock on the farm was not followed up, and there was only brief mention of mycorrhizal fungi or even invertebrates (we did get a few worms).

Take home message?  Get composting, folks, and if you have a little plot of your own, be ready to dig for victory when times get tight.