A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Hooptedoodle #265 - Goings-On in the Wilds

Some odd stuff happens around here. Our plant life and other wildlife does not seem to behave in the correct ways - maybe they haven't read the books, but I suspect some kind of dark forces in the wood at the bottom of the garden (don't ever go down there...).

First off, we have some very unusual short-blossomed lupins. What is most unusual about these is that until a week ago they were normal, big lupins. You don't suppose some bad thing has come out of the woods and nibbled them, do you, boys and girls? We'll come back to this later.

Next, for 17 years (or whatever it is) we have managed to escape the privilege of having a swallows' nest on our property. Swallows are cute little fellows, if a little relentless, but their nests are a cuteness too far - they make a noise and a dreadful mess, and you are not allowed to disturb them - I mean by law. Well, this year we finally have a nest in the woodshed - it's such an obvious place to build one that I'm astounded it never happened before. There's been a lot of activity, and comings and goings, so we stayed out of the way and left them to get on with it, just occasionally having a peek to see what was going on. Depressing. Our swallows were the worst nest builders ever - they seem to have spent their time flinging mud around, to see if enough would stick to one spot to qualify as a nest. We found an actual nest in the end - on top of the electric lamp. Not so smart, guys - we'll try to remember not to switch the light on, to avoid frying their eggs. In the meantime, our woodshed is a shambles - mud and crap in all directions, and presumably it will get a lot worse when the eggs hatch!

Evidence of preliminary mud-flinging trials...

...and an actual nest (after a fashion)
Speaking of fried eggs, some unusually dumb sparrows have put their nest inside the main junction box for our main electricity supply - and this is high voltage, overhead cable stuff, so not recommended at all. We wish them well.

What else? Oh yes - we had a spectacular show of blossom on the plum tree this Spring, but for some reason we never seem to get much successful pollination; by rights we should, because there are some very healthy plum trees in the neighbours' garden, but maybe they are the wrong variety, or the wrong religion or something. So we have a very poor plum count, yet again. We must appreciate what we get - I know, I know.

This year's plum crop?
A long-standing oddity is our Edelweiss, which thrives very nicely, despite being 2000 metres too low, far too near the sea and in entirely the wrong climate and soil type. We tried growing some from a seed packet that we brought back from an Alpine holiday, circa 2011 - mostly for a laugh - and every year it comes back, small and white, clean and bright, cheerfully oblivious to the fact that it is a horticultural mistake. Bless my homeland forever. Maybe we should try an alpine plum, if there is such a thing.

Otherwise we currently have a couple of very attractive robins, and the loudest song thrush ever - it sits on the TV aerial in the evening and sings its heart out - I am hoping to try to record it in action if I can set up my digital recording kit somewhere out of sight - the woodshed obviously is out of bounds at present...

And, as promised, here's some security footage of the bad things from the forest...

Usual rules apply here - the good photos are all, without exception, by courtesy of the Contesse. 


  1. I've never seen our Swallow's nest, its inside our attic, they have their own little entrance to their summer home and return faithfully every year. Never once offered to pay a bill to the grounds keep for keeping it heated all winter while they're gone.

    btw, Did you get the deer's permission before taking their picture?

    1. I wonder how long these creatures live - do they tell their descendants abut good nesting sites?

      Just chanced it on the photos - do you think there'll be a problem? Anyway, it was my wife what done it.

  2. I think you may have answered the question yourself of what happened to the lupin flowers.

    1. Robbie, I think you may be on to something there.

  3. That's 'cos Robbie was a detective!.

  4. I feel your pain on the lupins front. Our village is currently under siege by a horde of rabbits intent on consuming everything floral. Pointless hoping the chasse will sort it out. Theyre better at getting drunk up at the Mairie and shooting each other rather than their prey. Time to break out the catapult methinks.