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Spot the Hedgehog House


I was lucky enough to be given a hedgehog house for Christmas.  Keen to avoid the bat box scenario (where I took months to decide where to put it), I started to look for sites straight away.

In my experience, hedgehogs like to build nests under dense bushes and or wood piles.  Spreading conifers are ideal.  But I found it hard to find the right spot.  We have no spreading conifers.  Our shrubbery was only planted last year and so the bushes are still small.  The hedge is too close to the road.  The veggie patch too busy.

This was proving harder than I’d thought it be.  I could have put it in the field, there’s plenty of mature hedging there.  But I wanted it to be nearby.

Then finally, a solution.  We have a number of wood piles which are there for wildlife (not heading to the wood burner!).  And part of our garden is fenced off to keep the dogs and chickens out, so is nice and quiet.  These fences already have hedgehog tunnels.

So, today I put the hedgehog house in place.  I covered it with a good layer of twigs for insulation and cover.  Can you spot the entrance in the photo above?  If not, you can see it before I covered it in the photo below.


Now, just have to wait and see if a hedgehog appears.  It’s fingers crossed because, truth be told, I have seen no sign of them since moving here.

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Haribo settling in well

Haribo has been with us just over a week now.  I am happy to report that he has settled in well.  He gets on well with our large dog, George.  Our terrier, Maxi, pretty much ignores him as she does most dogs.  She did that with George when he first arrived, but now she follows him round so we hope she’ll warm to Haribo in her own time.

Haribo, as one would expect from a collie, has lots of energy and a desire to please and work with people.  He particularly likes playing ball and will run and fetch a ball till he drops!  No surprises there, most collies like to play ball.  So, he gets to play a little ball on each walk.  Sometimes George joins in, but he seems to be going through a bit of a lazy patch.  It may be because he’s on a diet (having put on a bit of weight).

In our orchard, the grass is quite long so Haribo gets to chase the ball but more often than not, then has to find it.  It’s great stimulation for dogs to use their noses to find things.

Haribo is also undergoing some basic training, improving his sit stays, recall and downs.  Sometimes he’s so keen he just can’t stay in one place and seems to glide around the floor like a dalek.  However, a quick learner, he is beginning to realise that the motionless dog gets the reward.

And he loves his food.  Well, they all do.  This picture shows them sitting waiting to be allowed to eat their dinner (which is on the floor in front of them, just out of shot).  You can see from the intensity of their expressions that they can’t wait!

three-dogs-await-dinnerAnd after dinner, they all retire to their beds for a well earned rest.

And tomorrow, I’m back at work at Pawplay after the Christmas break, so lots of doggie fun and play awaits.

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Mulching is very satisfying


Well, it’s 2016 so Happy New Year to you all.  I hope it’s going to be a good one.

One of things I’ve noticed about smallholder life is that I spend a lot of time moving piles from one place to another.  Logs, rocks, MOT, compost – there’s always a pile of something to be moved.  Presently, there’s a pile of coppiced willow branches and a dead apple tree to be cut into logs.  On top of that, there are also two trees that have blown down in the recent storms to be cut up and stored.

However, yesterday, our local farmer delivered a trailer full of horse manure.  I am quite pleased with this arrangement.  I’ve tried other means of collecting it but it’s hard work.  This way, a pile just landed in the garden.

Of course, then I had to move it!  So I got moving and barrowed it up to the veggie patch.  Our soil is pretty much clay, so it needs a lot of organic matter.  I spread it quite thickly.  It never ceases to amaze me how small an area a full barrow covers.

Nevertheless, I have moved it all and most of the veggie patch is now mulched.  I have another trailer load coming soon so that we can also mulch the fruit cage and some of the flower beds plus the bits where veggies are still growing (couldn’t really cover those areas).

And I just love standing back, when it’s all done, and looking at the veggie patch.  It’s the only time it looks relatively under control!  Hard work, but intensely satisfying.