Saturday, 17 October 2009

Playing with power tools

For the last year autumn or two, the Smalls have been busy trying to attract wildlife to our garden. We've had toad houses, insecty log piles, stacks of leaves, bamboo canes bundled up for overwintering creepy crawlies, a tiny washing up bowl sized pond for froggies and water bugs, and bird feeders galore. They even tried to make a hedgehog house from an old teabag box - not surprisingly, there were no takers.

We know we have had hoggy visitors in the past - we've seen them late at night trundling about and have fed them, so when I dismantled and old set of bookshelves we decided it was time to make them a proper house and see whether we could entice anyone to overwinter with us. We found a plan on the Gardeners World website, and Mr DC set to with the Smalls.

Much excitement was had with the electric drill (once we had recharged it - why are they ALWAYS out of power when you need them?) and after a couple of hours they produced a stunning yellow abode. I realise the hosepipe makes it look like something out of Dr Who, but it's actually for ventilation - the last thing we want is suffocated hedgehogs come spring!

The girls have been checking it regularly for inhabitants (it's not properly in place so no chance of them disturbing anyone yet) and were excited to find that someone had moved in:

Our visitor was knitted from Julie's adorable pattern, and took less than an hour. We hope his real life cousins will enjoy their new house too - and repay us by eating all our slugs in the spring!

This post is for Julie, who not only designed the cutie hedgehog pattern, but also inspired us to try to attract some spiky friends by her adventures with Herbert Hogwart a year or two ago.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Another year older

Tiny Small turned 5 last weekend. It seems hardly possible that my little baby is now a schoolgirl; a smaller, feistier version of her big sister; a handstanding, cartwheeling bundle of energy. But she is!

She was very specific about the entire menu for her birthday (that's my girl) - a breakfast of pains au chocolat, ham sandwiches for lunch and roast chicken with all the trimmings for her special birthday tea. The chicken gave me a scary moment when I was checking it with a meat thermometer and it spat hot fat RIGHT IN MY EYE. I feared we'd end the day in A&E but I had a lucky escape (though I did leave the rest of the serving to Mr DC and cowered in a corner watching the Incredibles with the Smalls). Fortunately I had already made the birthday cake - a special request for a huge pile of brownies studded with birthday candles and set blazingly alight. And I even managed not to set fire to anyone's hair.

Here's to the next year!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Planning next year's veggies

We've had a good first summer on our very own allotment, so when Julia suggested her Seed Swap I though it would be good fun to join in. I duly packaged up seeds and sent them off to her (you can see what I sent here), and she sent to me a HUGE selection of seeds, gorgeously packaged and even with their own little seed pouch - how cute is that?

I wish I had such neat writing, and such lovely painting skills, but I don't, so I shall content myself with growing and eating Julia's seeds next season, and looking forward to joining in the swap again in a year's time!