Monday, 13 October 2014

Blaen Bran Open Day

We held an open day at Blaen Bran Community Woodland on 6th September to celebrate its 10th anniversary. It was a lovely day which started off rather slowly but the visitors eventually started to arrive.  The weather was good for most of the day but sadly it changed halfway through the afternoon.  It didn't dampen the fun though and I think a great day was had by all.

I was helping on the refreshment stall and we were also selling T shirts

Lots of stalls run by local crafters

Stuart resting in the woodland half way through the history walk where we learned about the history of coal mining on the mountain which goes back probably to the mid 18th century

There was a demonstration of horse logging.

And musical entertainment.

Stuart enjoying his lunch of pizza.

The Mayor of Torfaen was there to give his support.

The official opening of the Forest school area by David Parsons.

and the unveiling of the sign for the forest school area which is named Parsons' Wood  after David who is one of the founder members

Here are some of the T shirts we were selling.  Great messages on them. Life is a Beech, Just Larching around and Forest grump. 

Some of the items made in the woodland from wood grown there. 

Lovely garden furniture

People relaxing round the campfire. 

Friends of the Earth advising on helping bees.

Everybody running for shelter as the rain started.

More entertainment, Morris dancing by the Border Urban Morris Side (BUMS)
The rain coming down fast now

Children joined in the dancing and loved it in spite of the rain. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Homes for wildlife.

I have posted many times about the wildlife in my garden and providing homes for wildlife.  This month I decided to partly demolish my wildlife stack which Stuart and I built a few years ago. I have never been very sure if anything was using it apart from a few slugs, spiders and woodlice.  

Stuart helped me to move all the wood to the bottom of the garden where we built a hedgehog house.  Stuart painted a sign for it so the hedgehogs will know where to go.  This little hedgehog was in the front garden about a month ago, only the second I have seen here.It was not very big so only hope wherever it is it if finding enough food to fatten itself up before it hibernates.

Poppy was hanging around while we were dismantling the stack but did not offer to help.

Fortunately, with the help of a rusty old wheelbarrow, Stuart moved it all for me.

Here is the new Hog House.  I have since covered it with a waterproof sheet to keep the inside cosy and dry. 

I also have a pile of logs down one side of the garden which makes another potential home for hedgies. 

The rest of the wildlife stack was made up of bricks stone and broken plant pots.  So we have left that there as a frog house.

It is also covered by a waterproof sheet.

                                                                We found one little frog there while we were working on it

While I was clearing the weed from the pond I found a small newt so hopefully that may find its way into the frog house during the cold weather. 

Today when I checked out the frog house I found a small toad.  Maybe I should rename the frog house Toad Hall!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Quilting update.

I previously posted about the sewing group I have joined who are making a quilt for Llanyravon Manor.  We are making good progress with the sewing and are now joining the many pieces together.  These are photos of the group taken in May when we had just started the process of bringing it all together

Couldn't fit everybody in one picture

This day we were trying to decide which way to join all the pieces. There are so many options.  I preferred the one above but I was in the minority so the one at the bottom is what we are doing. 

This photo taken on Tuesday shows the progress.  It is coming along really well. 

One of the women brought a quilt in to show us that she has been making for many years, she said about 20! Yes they are often long term projects but well worth it in the end.  Gail, standing on the right is the one who is making it.  So lovely. 

I am thinking of starting one of my own, using the pattern Gail is doing rather than the diamonds in the one we are doing.  Maybe a small one! Bought several fabrics this week so deciding which ones to use.  Maybe the top left as I bought two packs of that one. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Injured Dragonfly.

I have quite a number of dragonflies emerging from my pond this year and will post more about them in another post.  I found this one dragonfly quite a way from the pond, about 3 metres. Not sure whether at had emerged and flown there (unlikely) or it had crawled there as a nymph and emerged there. I couldn't see any signs of its exuvia (outer case of nymph.).  It was attached to a plant with his wings closed as though it hadn't yet managed to fly.  Its wings were bent at the end as though it hadn't been able to fully expand them. 

This was 2 days ago and I have been watching but it still has not opened its wings.  I have just tried to open them and found that it only has three wings instead of the usual four.  It did start to move when I separated them so will keep an eye it to see if it manages to fly off.  It must be in need of food by now after all the effort it has been through to emerge. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Seen today at Newport Wetlands

Really enjoy walking round Newport Wetlands and today it was lovely with the temperature reaching 23C.
I took many photos but not many good ones.  Here are the best.

Tall Melilot

Six spot Burnet moth on bird's-foot trefoil

Caterpillar of peacock butterfly on stinging nettles

Red Dead Nettle

View of the Severn Estuary

Large Skipper Butterfly, looks like a moth to me but apparently not!

                                                                 Cinnabar moth on Ragwort 



Burnet moths mating. To the left of them is an empty cocoon. and below is another cocoon, a bit out of focus though.
The larvae construct paper-like cocoons high up on slender grass stems to make it tricky for birds to attack. When the moths emerge the empty black pupa cases are left sticking out of the cocoons.

 This is a ringlet butterfly. They are generally brown but there are variations. This one is very dark without the usual spots.  Below is the underwing view which does have the typical spots. 

The following pictures are all of Marsh Helleborine which belong to the orchid family.  Couldn't decide which I liked best so posted them all. 

Caterpillar of the Oak Eggar moth