The garden has been quietly putting itself to bed for the winter. I’m a bit reluctant to tidy too much away, as dead stems provide shelter for a plant’s crown as well as a winter home for mini-beasts. Even hibernating snails are worth mollycoddling (though once I would have thought myself nuts) as they provide food for Medge the Hedge, who, incidentally, hasn’t gone into hibernation yet. Since buying a HotBin composter last year I’ve had significantly fewer slugs and snails, but that’s for another blog.
I’ve been delighted to see a pair of goldcrests in the garden recently. They’ve been hanging around the conifer at the bottom of the garden near the birdfeeders – not so much for the seeds (they’re mainly insectivorous) but for the company of other small birds that frequent this area. The goldcrest (or kinglet) is the UK’s smallest bird – about 3.5 inches – and makes a wren look bulky in comparison. Although they are not overly timid and will flit around me quite nearby when I’m in the garden, I’ve not been able to get a good photo of them. So here is a photo of one from a Glasgow community website, GOW Community, which illustrates its diminutive size perfectly.
At the other end of the scale what should be perched in the tree this morning (28 Nov) but a juvenile sparrowhawk. The little birds were keeping a low profile and the hawk soon flew off in search of more careless prey.
When I’m working at the gallery on Saturdays I always visit the farmers’ market in Waterstone’s car park. Big and buttery Eccles cakes are a must for me and Kai, as are Grasmere Farm’s sausages, who have perfected the art of making a jolly good snorker. Apples are in plentiful supply, some varieties I’ve never heard of – makes buying them an adventure. No Golden ‘Delicious’ here! Nice veggies too (with dirt), not washed, prepared, or put into sweaty plastic bags.
Every year I forage for autumnal leaves, with some vague idea of doing something artistic with them. I don’t get much further than photographing them or doing the odd watercolour. Here’s a selection from this year’s batch.
Pin oak leaf