Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Animal homes

The search for land has taken me on a journey of discovery over the last few months. Although we've spent only a few hours actually looking at land I've spent days thinking and planning for the future.

Most of my thoughts have been about trees and plants and what we could grow to attract wildlife. I've also decided that the (first?) book I shall attempt to write will be a sort of diary / account of the creation of a nature reserve from scratch. Not that the land we'll buy at this stage is likely to be turned into a nature reserve, but we shall use it as a sort of trial to see what does and doesn't work - particularly regarding habitat creation.

Recently I've been thinking about artificial habitats - homes for animals that can be erected immediately and don't require time for trees or undergrowth to establish. Obviously bird boxes spring to mind, but there are all sorts of others out there on the internet and in garden centres. Ian is keen on the idea of making them - a fun hobby and also a response to how much they cost.

dormouse box

hedgehog house

bat box

There's an enormous range of specialised bird boxes these days:

tawny owl box

Treecreeper box

barn owl box

duck box

and a floating duck house.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Cold frames

At the weekend we assembled 3 cold frames for our vegetables. Unfortunately 24 hours later we had some very strong gales which lifted one on top of another and pulled 2 of them apart. It appears that the lids catch the wind very easily. Having removed the lids they haven't moved at all. Any suggestions for easy ways to hold the lids down in bad weather?


Over Christmas Ian and I visited Formby pine woods, Grizedale Forest and Tarn Howes, primarily with the aim of collecting cones so that we could plant the seeds. We managed to find a number of different species. They're currently drying out, but I'm looking forward to extracting and planting the seeds. Not that I'll be going through the entire process undertaken by the Canadian Forest Service, but hopefully some of the seeds will germinate nonetheless.

Assorted pines

Western hemlock
Sitka spruce
Norway spruce

Douglas fir