Sure Signs of Spring

March 22, 2016

Greyish brown blobs of frogspawn in every puddle and ditch…


… and litle white blobs fleeing over the hill at the sight of a blogger with a camera phone

fleeing sheep and lambs

You’ll just have to take my word for it that the lambs are gambolling away like gooduns and are very cute, but a tad flighty.

All Talk

April 3, 2015

I was out on the bike delivering the village newsletter today* reacquainting myself with the cunning places everyone hides their letter boxes and driving the neighbourhood dogs into a complete frenzy (well, everyone’s got to have a hobby). One of my least favourite is a dog which looks like a big teddy bear but has had a go at me in the past whose owners leave it running free in the garden. Thankfully, the letter box is on the gate so you don’t have to tangle with the dog directly, but the gate is not very high, and the letter box is basically at dog height and the whole arrangement feels somewhat unsafe especially as all the time you’re trying to fold up the damn newsletter and stuff it in the narrow slot of the box, the dog is going round in circles, launching itself periodically at your hand. This was made all the more frightening, somehow, by the way the dog doesn’t bark or growl at all, just circles around in silence to have another shot.

My next port of call was the place where my old enemy Growly Dog lives and it’s a similar arrangement of flimsy gate, narrow slotted letterbox, and rabidly anti-cyclist canine so I wasn’t looking forward to the experience. Growly Dog came galloping down to meet me and barked, as expected but as I parked my bike, got out the newsletter and started folding it up to stuff it in the slot, she was completely thrown. Instead of barking or even growling she just gave a sort of whimper and backed away, casting accusing glances in my direction. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I actually ended up feeling quite sorry for her. I wonder if ASBO buzzard is similarly timid if confronted. I’ll have to find someone who’s braver than me to find out…

In other news, the wet weather means the frogspawn is still hanging in there, and one thing about them being in a tiny pocket of water not much bigger than the mass of frogspawn itself, is that you can see the little tadpoles developing inside (or at least you could if my cameraphone was any better). It’s been wet enough so far that they haven’t dried out; I’m not sure I can bring myself to wish that situation to continue…

developing tadpoles

Frogspawn. Honest.

*I probably should have used the car, but I’ve failed miserably on my challenge already, sorry. Just too difficult and besides, I was faster on the bike than the postman was in his little red van.

Routine Ford Update

March 23, 2015

Because we haven’t had one of those for a while, and I know you like them.

Ford in March - almost dry

Ford status: almost dry


Frogspawn update: the annual race between the maturing frogs and the drying up of the ditch has now begun. Ordinarily in south west Scotland this would not be an issue, but given the shallowness of the ditch that Mrs Frog has chosen for her offspring this year, I’m afraid it’s the ditch’s race to lose this year. I will keep you posted, unless it all gets too desperate in which case I’ll probably draw a veil.

lambs and sheep

Bonus ickle lambs: normally given my phone camera capabilities, lambs are usually rendered as white dots on this blog, but apparently I looked enough like a farmer (it must be the tweed cap) to these sheep that they all came running over hoping for tasty sheep treats. Their disappointment is your gain.

one in five hill

We then climbed a 1-in-5 hill to reach the top of the ford road and back into a suddenly icy headwind. Inexplicably, Sustrans haven’t included this in their national cycling network yet, although I imagine it’s only a matter of time.

Spawn of the …

April 17, 2013

… frog, presumably. I was just rinsing off my boots in the permapuddle that stretches across our drive after some last-minute what-the-hell-was-I-thinking-agreeing-to-a-week-away-in-April gardening* when I noticed that it had taken on a certain pond-like aspect


Either mama frog has faith in our having another wet summer, or her babies had all been washed out of the top pond during the recent rain. I didn’t want them run over (boy would that take ages to report to the Splatter Project – 479 individually squashed tadpoles) so I decided to transport them back up to the pond. As there genuinely is a hole in my main gardening bucket, dear Henry, I used a 5-litre ice cream tub instead, and each blob there pretty much filled it, so that’s a lot of frogspawn. I can tell you now, persuading it into the ice cream tub without – ewww – touching it, is not child’s play (actually, come to think of it, for a certain value of child, that’s *exactly* what it is. It’s not adult friendly though). Put it this way, it put me in mind of the old joke about the spittoon, which is too revolting to recount here.

Anyway, I managed it, the frogspawn have been moved where they may undoubtedly end up being eaten but at least won’t be run over. And hopefully when we get back there will be developments to report…

frogspawn closeup

*tatties, onions, garlic, parsnips and broad beans all planted out…