Planning a Mini-Adventure

2016-05-17 13.08.38Work has been quiet this week, so I thought I’d take myself and the dogs off on a little trip perhaps tomorrow or Friday.

A few weeks ago we walked a very short bit of the Titchfield Canal, but looking at the map there’s an approx 4km round trip we can do. So the plan is, that if the weather stays reasonable, i.e. not too wet or too hot; we’re going to give that route a go. It looks to be fairly flat and not too taxing, so should be a good trip. Something different.

Leap Day Wildlife

I started the leap day off right with a buzzard sighting at the Fort. One (large) buzzard flew overhead as I was walking the dogs this morning, pursued by 2 crows. Strangely all 3 birds were silent, and if I hadn’t been looking at the time, I probably would have missed them.

Normally the crows call out and harass a buzzard they are trying to drive away, so that it draws attention to what they perceive as the interloper.

The buzzard gracefully slipped through the upper branches of the trees to shake off it’s pursuers.

A few steps later, I also saw some fresh deer prints in the mud, another good sign.

Dog Toy Balls, Some You Find, Some You Loose. OR, How I Fell On My Bum in the Woods

2015-11-09 08.43.44I have two ball obsessed dogs, they love to chase balls whenever we go out for a walk. To be honest it’s great exercise for them, but can occasionally be a little hard on my pocket when we loose balls in the bushes or long grass.

A few weeks ago I bought two new balls for Ruby. She’s particularly fussy about what she will and won’t play with, and so the new ones were of a particular type that she likes. Bright orange and they have a slightly unpredictable bounce, thus making the game a bit of fun.

Within the first week, I lost one of these balls in a bramble bush on one of our regular walking routes. That unpredictable bounce can be a killer when it comes to keeping track of where they end up. We looked for a quite a while, I knew it was in the bramble bush somewhere but I just couldn’t see it, nor could Ruby find it. Eventually we gave it up for lost. Sometimes you just have to accept loosing one, normally the ratio of balls lost to balls found is quite constant, but in this case I think this was about the third one I’d lost between Wilson and Ruby in a week, so my account was way in deficit.

Anyway; skip forward to this morning. We were on the same route and I had the other ball of the pair with me, as well as a different one for Wilson. Once again I threw the ball for Ruby, and it bounced and landed in the same bloody bramble bush as the last one! I thought probably we’d lost that one too, but as I looked into the brambles I could see it, although I couldn’t actually reach it from where I was standing. The bush is on a slope and I had to walk down the slope slightly, and use the ball launcher to extract the ball from within the brambles, being very careful not to scratch myself in the process.

As I was reaching in I also spotted something else – the other ball that we’d lost weeks ago. Feeling pretty chuffed with myself, thinking that we were going to retrieve not only the ball that had landed in the brambles this morning, but also the one that we’d lost in their weeks ago, I got the recent lost ball out and gave it back to Ruby.

I changed position on the slope and reached in to the brambles with the ball launcher once again. I had to stretch to reach the ball, and in doing so was leaning on an old (and somewhat rotten as I was about to find out) tree trunk.

As I managed to scoop the ball up with the launcher there was a loud crack and the tree I was leaning on gave way, I managed to get enough momentum up from the trunk of the tree, but in doing so overbalanced and fell backwards – fortunately away from the bramble bush, but I did end up on my bum in the mud. Ruby did come and check I was okay.

Apart from my pride there were no injuries – and I had the lost ball from a couple of weeks ago, so I returned to the path triumphant, or at least I tried to. My wellies however couldn’t get a grip on the muddy bank and I couldn’t get back up the slope down which I’d come. In the end I did a slight detour and rejoined the path (and my dogs who were waiting for me, they have four wheel drive and couldn’t work out why I was having such problems getting up the slope).

Taking inventory I made sure I hadn’t lost anything in my fall, e.g. phone, housekeys etc. All was well, apart from the fact that we didn’t have the ball that we’d lost that morning. I had the other one in my coat pocket, but in all the fuss of my falling over and trying to get back up the bank, we’d re-lost the ball that had gone in the bramble bush moments earlier.

I sent Ruby down to look for it, but she just ran up and down the bank and didn’t manage to find it. Resigning ourselves to finding an old lost ball but loosing another one, we carried on with our walk.

2015-11-09 08.43.55I wasn’t going to be defeated however, and as we returned I decided to have one final look for the ball. I looked down the slope, but couldn’t see it. It’s surprising sometimes how something bright orange doesn’t show up against the autumn leaf fall.

I decided one last ditch attempt was in order and sent Wilson in. “Find the ball!” I told him. He went down the bank exactly to the spot where I’d fallen, and started casting around searching. Then his tail started to wag. Soon it was going like a helicopter rotor. He was on to something. Of course this could just be something good to eat, but on the other hand I was expectant that we might find the missing ball.

Whatever he’d found it seemed to be under the tree trunk, that I had so unceremoniously managed to fell earlier, but he couldn’t quite reach it. He tried one side and then hopped over and tried the other, but whatever it was he couldn’t reach it. Eventually he tried the old commando technique of getting right down on his belly and crawling underneath, and out he came with the missing ball in his mouth!

Queue loads of praise from me, and dog biscuits for Wilson and Ruby. We went home triumphant.

So some days you loose a ball and sometimes you find one (or even one that you lost some weeks ago)!

Deer, Oh Deer

Walking the Fort
Walking the Fort

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about not seeing deer on my way to work in the mornings. I’ve been on “leave” the last couple of weeks, my official last day in my current job is tomorrow, which has obviously given me more time to take longer morning walks with the dogs.

This morning we were on our way around the fort when I heard something crashing through the bottom of “the moat”. Being Summer the vegetation is now green and lush, and it is difficult to see any distance, but I did glimpse the bouncing white tails of two Roe Deer. I’ve seen deer here before, but not that often as there are just too many people about. We’d obviously spooked them, and they weren’t hanging around, but it’s good to know that I still might see deer in the mornings.

Bank Holiday

Until about the middle of last week, I’d forgotten this weekend was a three day Bank Holiday. I treasure my time away from work (remind me I said that after the end of July, when I’m redundant and job hunting!).

 

Bank Holiday Reading Sorted

 As the weekend drew closer, a little reading matter arrived on Thursday, with David Hewson’s latest novel, “The Wrong Girl”, and my reading was settled. I’d been looking forward to this book particularly as it is the second in a new series.

Allotment Saturday

 

Will. Not. Start
As is my usual habit on Saturday I headed off to the allotment. I took the lawn mower along to cut the grass, however the machine refused to start, so I settled for some weeding, watering and general tidying. The gooseberry bushes have set fruit, so I put up the framework of canes that will become the fruit cage once the remaining Loganberries have flowered and the bees have done their thing to set their fruit.
I saw my first Swallows on Saturday morning. A bit late compared to some, but I’ve been looking and hoping to spot my first local birds for a few weeks, so I’m pleased to have seen my first “Sky Jewels” of the summer.

 

Co-worker

I was also visited by another feathered friend while working. As I weeded a robin came and worked alongside me, as I cleared the weeds, he fed on the insects I disturbed. I suspect he has a nest and young nearby, as he was flying away and coming back empty beaked for more.

I harvested the first radishes, the last purple sprouting broccoli and some rhubarb. Other crops are coming along nicely. There’s a video to follow, once it’s edited and uploaded.

Dog Walking Sunday

 

Bluebells
The rains came late on Saturday and stayed through the night and until mid-morning on Sunday. In the afternoon we left for the woods to walk the dogs. The bluebells are in bloom and it was nice to spend time and look at the glories of spring. I need time in the woods occasionally to bring a little peace and balance to my brain.

The Best Bit of a Bank Holiday Weekend

Still to come, Bank Holiday Monday.