Save Our Hedgehogs

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Oh my goodness - it's HOT!!!

Hello folks, hope you are all well and enjoying the HOT weather!  Reaching 30C/86F today.
  I'm NOT moaning, but I'm afraid it really doesn't suit me to be too hot, and I've had a few 'off' days but I'm back to full health again now.

Well, where do I begin?   I think it's best to start with dear little May.

  She has decided that the new Hog Hilton is not to her liking (!?) and has not moved in.  To say I'm disappointed is an understatement, though I've now hung a small 'To Let' sign up near the door and am waiting to interview prospective tenants ;o)

Could this be the tenant?  A 'stranger' feeding it's face :o)

Though May has not moved in she is a nightly visitor and I know that all must be well with her - and that's fine by me.  She has however proved to be very wary of that big ol' human being who snatched her away for a few days and it's been quite difficult to get a photo of her.  Here's one of the few I have managed to snap at the side of our little pond.

She was off like a shot as soon as the flash went off!
(I'm so glad I put that white mark on her)

I've seen Mork and Mindy's 'Mom' and we agree there's a conspiracy afoot as neither of them have 'moved in' either, though she too knows they are well and visiting regularly

Our fieldmice are still in the drystone wall, and whilst looking for May the other evening I managed to spot a tiny one (just about 1.5") out looking for food, so camera and torch in hand I sat on the bench to wait patiently for a shot of two...and the results :o)

You can see how small it is - just compare him to the ivy leaves, sunflower hearts and sultanas.

Though Sid is still hoping for a snack,  they have all been safe (so far) 

Yesterday, my friends Sandy, Ann and I went on the organised 'Forage' at Gleanings rural study centre (the same place that we went to basket weave).
The view that I forgot last time!

Taken with my 'wide angle' lens.

Quite a large group turned out and the forage started at around 2.15pm in the most awful heat with little shade and hardly a breath of wind.  We were situated at the top of the valley and were told that we'd make our way down the valley, to the little stream then,  along the stream banks and back up through woodland finally returning to The Gleanings to cook and eat the collected results.

We went through the 'goat' field pictured above and loosely followed the tyre tracks to the far gate, then walked along the left hand field line down the very steep valley.  Over a stile and 'mountaineered' down to the stream side.  (It was at this point I was very thankful to have had the foresight and had taken a walking stick along!)

Here is a photo of Rob Rowe, our group leader discussing the finer points of a flower - the name of which escapes me....something and cream rings a bell.

The meadow (and the rest of their smallholding - roughly 14 acres) was truly wonderful and is registered with the country stewardship scheme.  It has had no pesticides used for 10+ years.  (Though they are not registered as 'organic' as this scheme costs too much money for a small holder to join) 
As we reached the bottom of this meadow there was a bank of bluebells.

Photo's are more than a little scarce (read none) for the rest of our 'ramble' due to the STEEPNESS of the landscape!  I was much too busy trying not to land on my ass to stop and take more snaps.
Rob picked, talked and walked us down along the stream where there were tiny little 'froglets' in the grass that we were careful to avoid treading on.  The heat was sapping my strength, and most of us had to take a break or two along the way.  I have to say that I was finding it very hard to concentrate on all the information we were being given, and I was praying hoping that the woodland walk wouldn't be SO steep for the return.
We then started back over another stile into the lovely woodland which is on the far left of the first photo.  I can honestly say that it was by far the steepest part of the journey.  We (my friends and I) left the others and started the l o n g, hot climb and after many rest stops finally came out again into meadowland - PHEW!  All I wanted to do was sit in the shade with a nice cool drink, foraging was by now far from my thoughts.  We waited for the rest of the group to appear, they had a further field to investigate so we decided to make our own way back to Gleanings HQ via a shaded leafy 'green' lane to the roadway.  We got back at around 4 pm, hot, exhausted and worn out.   John (bless him) plied us with long cool glasses of cordial, which we drank sitting in the glorious shade of a birch tree.
The others eventually arrived with their booty, the fire was lit (!) and Rob cooked some of the food - battered the hogweed, which I found totally tasteless, woody and decidedly awful, and steamed rose bay willow herb tops, which were nice, but I'm sure the addition of a little salt and melted butter would have risen them to much greater heights.  There was also a salad of foraged leaves to tuck into, this I have to say would have been tastier with only a squeeze of lemon juice!
We made our way gingerly back to the (thankfully air-conditioned) car to wend our way home.  As we were by this time hungry we decided to stop at a carvery and had a delicious roast beef dinner :o))

My honest opinion of the day?
It was lovely to spend time with dear friends.
Did I enjoy the 'Forage'? 
Mmm, truthfully no, not really.  I (we) felt the group was too large and could have been better organised.  It would have been improved if we had either given sheets with say 20-25 plants to find, or alternatively Rob had already covered the ground and planted stakes in the relevant places.
For me, as you have already guessed it was TOO HOT, and I found concentrating on my foothold was much more important than seeking plants to eat.  If I had to rely upon this method of gathering food for sustenance I believe I would certainly be half the person I am ;o) 
Would I do it again?
Mmm, the jury is out on that.  I'd really like to go on a Fungi Forage in the Autumn, and I know they hold one very locally at Cannock Chase each year. 

I hope I haven't bored you to death as this seems rather a LONG post?

Keep well, keep cool!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

May and friends.

Good evening everyone, hope you've all had a good day.  I certainly have :o)
Here, as promised are pictures of Mays new home, I cut all the wood and assembled about 95% of it myself.

Inside view from the back.

The strange 'box' affair is the internal tunnel that prevents dog and foxes from accessing the hog. 
I only had  plywood available to make the tunnel, and despite sanding and sanding it the edges were still very rough.  I was concerned the little hog may injure her face or eye and decided to cover the rough edges with good old duct tape for safety. ( I will put a link to plans for a hedgehog house on the hog page)
We hope May likes it enough to move in permanently...
First thing this morning I went out to place Mays new home in the garden, here is the spot I'd chosen for her.
The shrub is a mock orange that I planted last year.  The rocks to the left are at the back of the waterfall, and it looks like the fence is broken where daylight is showing, but this is a 4" gap that I dug out so that the hogs can visit next doors garden with ease!   On the far right of this picture past the end of the fence is the pathway that gives access to our front doors.

The view from the pathway, (the drystone wall is where the field mice live.)

I pulled the mock orange away from the fence and levelled the ground and placed some bricks to raise the box off the soil, then 'installed' it into place.

I even added a log door step for her!  Then I made the nesting area for her with nice fresh hay

And waited patiently until the time arrived to collect May from the Hedgehog Rescue.

When I arrive there another couple pulled up at the same time, I'm sorry to say that I cannot remember their names, but the lady and I recognised each other, she owns the sweetest gift shop in the Village!  I often gaze longingly into the windows at the amazing window displays.  (I do buy things as well.)
Anyway, I digress.  They had come to collect two hogs that have been with the rescue centre since the winter that were bought in underweight, believe me they certainly are not underweight now!
But first of all Joan fetched her tame little hog that she will keep as it is not suitable for release as it is far too tame.  He was found during last Winter in a cellar beneath a house, weak, starving and totally dehydrated trying to eat a shoe.  Joan really didn't think it would make it through the night, but treated it with saline, cooked, minced chicken and drugs. She even got up at 5 AM to check up on it.  He amazed her by eating and drinking.   He went on from strength to strength and making a total recovery.  She named him Celly because of where he was found.  He rarely curls up and is decidedly content to be held and stroked!  Joan takes him with her to schools and other places she gives talks on hedgehogs.

We all took turns in giving him a cuddle :o))

Joan then bought in their little girl hog, she was so cute and huge.  I grabbed a photo of her, but must apologise as it's certainly NOT the best I've ever taken...

next came the young man that is going to live with them....

He was too cute for words.  Then I discovered their new names
Mork and Mindy!  (Those of a certain age will certainly remember them ;o)

Then of course it was time to get May.  She is certainly back to full health.

Aaah, ain't she sweet?

I drove home cautiously down the back lanes, and to my utter delight saw a large hare.  When I arrived home May was bright eyed at the carrier door looking around.  I explained gently to her all about her new home should she decide to stay.  When darkness fell I took her to the new box and placed her gently into the hay,  covering her up and replaced the lid, wishing her well.

Note the white spot I applied to her spines so that I can identify her easily.
I used a water based emulsion paint that should not harm her.

Within about fifteen minutes of leaving her she made her way out to investigate.

As you can see she will be easy to 'spot'!  I made sure that I put a supply of meal worms, sultanas, sunflower hearts, crushed peanuts and water readily available right on the doorstep.
(I had washed down the garden bench this after noon to remove the bird droppings, but it looks like they've decided to visit again...)
May was last seen going under the fence into next doors garden, I'll just keep my fingers crossed that she makes her way back to the snug, warm home that's awaiting her.

Wishing you all a peaceful night.





Sunday, 20 May 2012

Update :o)

Sorry, didn't get around to my update yesterday.

Saturday - The hoggie was a little better and had eaten some food, but when I checked this morning (Sunday) she had eaten heartily and was acting quite normally.  As long as this continues tomorrow I'll be picking her up at around 7 p.m.  I've decided to name her May, and today I've been busy building her a nice new home to move into!  I don't have any photo's of the process as it went straight out of my head, but I'll put pictures on tomorrow when it's in place.  Despite the fact the garden is small I think I've found another corner that should be safe and cosy for her. (After a lot of thought I have decided to put the house in the front garden despite I actually found her in the back garden. )  The only vehicular access to our home is at the rear, and I think it will be safer to put her on the other side as far away from the road as possible.  Also, since I discovered having these dear little creatures visiting here last year I placed food and water in the back garden for around a month last summer, but none of it was ever taken and no sign of them was found.
I will give her a white mark somewhere on her spines so that I can identify her, just hope she settles in well and the addition of another hog doesn't cause too many problems (two's company and all that.)


Once darkness had fallen tonight I went outside to check on Wilf and Winifrid, as soon as I opened the door I could hear loud snuffling and shone the torch in the general direction of the sounds.  They were practically nose to nose in the border, then Wilf shot off closely followed by Winifrid!  I can only guess what was going on....  ;o)

In case any of you were wondering the field mice are still in the drystone wall, I've seen them a couple of times but Sid has been keeping a careful watch over them when the opportunity has arisen

Thank you all for your good wishes for May, I have really appreciated them and feel the power of positive thoughts have helped tremendously :o)

I'll sign off now by sending you all my best wishes and thanks.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Second update, and time to take action again for badgers.

Things have changed again with the little hedgehog I'm afraid.  Joan told me earlier today that it had stopped eating again, but she will continue to administer anti-biotics and hopefully she may well pick up again.

Karen asked how the new house was progressing? 
I will get the wood tomorrow (Saturday) and start the build if time allows, but it will be finished on Sunday whatever happens.  Should the worst happen I will still be putting it into the garden...

Now onto other matters.

I am not usually a political animal, but those of you in the UK will know all about the goverment plans to kill badgers in the hope of preventing the spread of Bovin TB.  It has been proven that these measures will not prevent the spread of this disease, and I feel that this slaughter is totally without foundation. (I have had a button on my side bar)  I signed the RSPCA petition against the action that was presented to the government, but as many of you may know they still intend to continue with the 'cull'.  If like me you are against this action the RSPCA has another campaign asking them to consider the use of vaccination instead.  I have posted the link below for those of you who feel as I do. 
The Welsh Government listened, maybe Westminster will too?

Thank you - I'm getting off my soapbox now.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Rescue update.

I have spoken to the hedgehog resue today and the little hog seems to be doing very well and has regained her appitite.  I may be able to have her back sometime over the weekend :o))
I'll see if I can get enough wood to build a new hog home and shoehorn it into the garden in time!
Just hope the little soul keeps up the good work.

Oops! Sorry, I should have said this is a photo of Winifrid not the little rescue hog.

Best wishes

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Thank you and a rescue.

I had a package arrive for me from dear Julie, the Celtic Lady in the U.S.

I loved the sweet roses :o)

she had emailed me out of the blue and said she had a porcelain cat for me.  (How nice was that!)  This is what was in the package:

two sweet blue and white kitties!  I love them :o)  They have found a home on my bedroom window cill, where they'll be one of the first things I see each day.  Thank you so much Julie they're gorgeous.

The Rescue (I Hope)

Yesterday afternoon I spent a few hours getting my Hedgehog page up and running, and I tried explaining about finding a hedgehog out in daylight and how to deal with it.  Then, later on I had to go out, and on my return heard something rustling about in the back garden border, when I looked it was a hog (we never get hogs in the backgarden).  It was still full daylight though about 6.30pm.  I dashed into the house grabbed my gloves and my ever ready hog carrier, then back into the garden hoping it was still there.  I managed to get it and on first inspection all seemed well as it had curled up (I knew there would be SOMETHING WRONG though).  I placed it on a wrapped hot water bottle and lightly covered it in shredded paper in the carrier along with a little food and water.  I then got in touch with Joan at my local hog rescue centre who said to bring it along to her.  The hog by this time had uncurled, but made no offer to curl again as I spoke quietly to it and stroked it's dear little face.

(Attempting a little food)

On arrival Joan immediately took it and charmed it into opening up, (believe me she really does charm them) and gave it a thorough examination.  It is a female and by the look is very probably pregnant, though she (happily) was not lactating (awful thoughts of starving babies somewhere).  She was very docile and despite having no injuries, obviously something is wrong with her.  Joan asked me to hold her while she gave hoggie a dose of anti-biotics Joan took her back, and continued to hold  her giving her needed heat, and gently stroking her.  By the time I left she had lifted her head and had a good look around.  Joan placed her on a heated mat for the night with a supply of food and water. 
When I rang this morning she said that the little one was still very subdued and hadn't eaten, but sometimes this happens as they are still a little shocked.
I had a text message later this afternoon to say that the little dear had eaten a dish of mealworm and looked a little happier.  The jury is out, and I hope that this time it will be a happy ending - fingers crossed (again). 

Best wishes


Monday, 14 May 2012

Back at last.

Hello everyone, hope you are all well and happy.  Sorry that I've been missing again,  my Mom hasn't  too well and it's taken up quite a bit of time trying to get her sorted.  Happily, she's much better now and more able to cope again.
I have been trying to keep up with you all as time allowed, but I'm afraid I've been a bit light on commenting.

Anyway, a quick update on things here.  Wilfred and Winifrid Prickles have been having a great deal of late night activity in the garden - I've even managed to get a few minutes of Winifrid snuffling and scratching about on video (which took me days to upload onto the laptop!)  I'm planning on starting a new hedgehog page sometime this week (fingers crossed) so I'm keeping it to put on there.  They are eating me out of house and home getting through an inordinate amount of dried mealworms (ugh!) sunflower hearts, sultanas and crushed peanuts as well as the natural creepy crawlies from the garden.

I haven't had too many bargains as I just haven't had the time to seek them out, but here are some that I did get.

A pink single duvet cover and pillow case in new condition for £1.25.  I shall find use for the fabric :o)

A lovely old stoneware jar and cover 7.5" tall and 625" diameter.  £1.25
Which is sitting on my kitchen worktop.

Two sweet little birds standing about 2.5" high £1.75 the pair.  Now nesting on my Welsh dresser.

Nice, chunky candlesticks one 8" and one 12" tall.  £3.50 on total.
Then, a few days later I found these in the same shop.

8" tall chunky candles £1.25 each - made to measure!

Made for each other, right?  In storage until inspiration strikes :o)

Backstamp dated after 1940

Now, as you can imagine I had other things on my mind so I didn't check this properly :o(  no obvious chips or cracks so I paid £5.50 for the dish and it was well packaged in bubble wrap, but when I got home and tapped the side there was a dull 'clunk' instead of a 'ring'.  Yes, there is a crack I didn't see in the shop.  Let that be a lesson for you all.  (If I'd have checked it and found it was cracked I'd certainly have had the price reduced, but it'll do as display only.)

And lastly... two matted prints by Maud Earl 1864-1943
Taken from the book 'Memories' by the British play write John Galsworthy (of Forsyte Saga fame)
a biography about his pet black spaniel.

"Rushing piece of blackness, through the blacker night"

"Through the window of a four-wheeler into Kensington"

These are taken from the book published in 1912, and were packaged with the guarantee sticker that they were as described.  They were not priced, but I knew I'd heard of Maud Earl so I took them to the check-out and asked the price - 50p each :o))  Result, that more than made up for the Masons Vista dish.

I've also bought a new macro lens for my camera, here's a few flowers from the garden before I sign off.

And finally ( FINALLY!)

I visited George and Tesses Mom and Dad on Saturday and got these few shots :o)

Tess lying, George sitting.



Well, I'm off to try and sort another mess out - I deleted Picasa from my laptop and discover that lots of older posts are now photo-less...AAaaaargh!

Best wishes to you all.