A conglomerate of bug houses

Hi All

Earl has just attempted to dispatch a chicken to chook heaven. We had taken the boys out in the afternoon to check out some old things in the shed that we didn’t want anymore and list them on Gumtree for free and they were having a lovely trot around on their leads. We walked back to the house and Steve held Earl who was straining on the lead to get to the various chooks with no brains whatsoever who were wandering around right within the reach of an obviously excited Earl. We sat in the shed for a bit and then walked back to the house, releasing the boys from their collars. We were just putting the computer on to list our give-aways online, when we heard an almighty racket outside. We had forgotten to shut the side gate and Earl was frolicking free amongst the chooks! Steve raced out just as Earl was racing up the driveway after one of the small black chickens that had been orphaned. The chicken raced into the shed and Earl was right on its tail. The only thing that saved both this black chicken and Earl’s previous target, one of our 2 year old gold Wyandotte’s, was the amount of cover for the chicken to hide under. It was racing for its life and I saw Earl get his mouth around it at least twice and figured that it was a goner even though Steve was able to grab him and restrain him. He got lugged unceremoniously up to the gate and shunted through like the steam train that he is. Again, we can’t blame Earl for his desire to dispatch small ‘vermin’. It’s his breeding and that’s what all forms of Staffordshire terrier were bred for. Bezial stayed up on the deck even though he was well aware that the gate was open and stood there watching the carnage.

Age has most certainly given Bezial a mellower outlook on life and all of the little critters that are attempting to live it. I remember Bezial bolting after a neighbour’s cat once and fearing that we were going to have to report a dead cat to them. That gives us hope for the future for Earl, but for now he is a chicken dispatcher. Once Earl was back inside the compound, Steve hunted for the poor little chick which had wedged itself in behind an old filing cabinet and that he had to drag out by its legs. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it! I find that somewhat amazing and can only guess that Earl didn’t want to kill it, but wanted to play with it. It’s just been released back down with its friends and family to scratch around for another day.

I am just about to head off hunting for ‘things’ to put into the bug boxes. I need sticks that will be thick enough to drill various sized holes in for insects to live in. I also need to provide material for insects that don’t like to live in holes and after looking at bug boxes sold online, a good material is smaller pine cones and thick tree bark. I know where I can find the thick tree bark and how to render it down into thinner slivers, but the pine cones are ‘somewhere’. We have collected many pine cones over the last few years due to our passion for conifers and our penniless student hippidom that requires us to propagate our own or do without. We ended up with a most interesting collection of tiny right up to very large pine cones. The largest pine cone that we collected was from a Pinus coulteri and it’s not called “The big cone pine” for nothing! As such, we have many spent pinecones around the house but it’s not going to be easy to isolate their exact location because we have so many seeds around here that we could possibly start our own seed bank. When 1 person collects seeds they are an enthusiastic collector, when 2 of us do it, we are bordering on eccentric hoarders because we don’t have a voice of reason telling us to stop.

I just finished collecting buddleia stems, old twigs and hakea seeds to use in our bug boxes. We had some saved pine cones so we used them as well. It’s a bit of a jungle down in the garden and I am going to have to get a photo so that you can all see just how tangled and overgrown it actually is. The buddleia is Buddleia x weyeriana ‘Sungold’ and instead of the typical long purple flowers, it has small ball shaped yellow flowers. It has taken over the entire lower area of the garden and it must be very happy where it is because it is reminiscent of a small jungle. I noticed that one of the broodies was almost down to the buddleia and it’s only a matter of time until Felix decides to sample one of the chicks. Hopefully we are stuffing her with enough food to keep her sufficiently satiated and we can give the chicks a bit growing time so that when she eventually gets ‘interested’ in their welfare, they are too big for her to do anything about it.

Here’s the green bigger bug house that was harder to fill up with beneficial insect friendly housing and below is the smaller (and I think cuter) bug house that didnt take too long to make or fill…

I scrambled out of the dense undergrowth (where is my machete?) and made it back to Steve’s shed where I spent a couple of hours cutting twigs of various sizes and thicknesses and then drilling holes of various sizes and shapes into these different types of twigs and then filling up the bug boxes with them. Hopefully the beneficials like the bug houses and move in and even more hopefully, the native bird population leave the beneficials bug house alone and don’t try to scoff them out of house and home. Its been an interesting response to our free things on Gumtree. You would think that people would want free stuff, but we haven’t had all that many responses and the responsed that we have had were mainly for things that we wouldn’t have thought that people would want. It started raining last night and some of the free things that one of the responders wanted last night got wet. She desperately wanted 2 of the items and we put them in the trailer for her and then waited…and waited…and waited for her to turn up and we ended up phoning her to see when she was likely to come and then she insisted that she had told us tomorrow? Me thinks her partner, who she was waiting on coming home from work to get a lift here, decided that he would rather have a beer than drive all the way out here.

It’s amazing what people expect YOU to do when you are giving them something for free! We might just bundle the rest of it up and take it in to town with us next week and donate it all to charity. We have to walk the dogs now so I am going to post this somewhat shorter post now. I have been reading up on what makes a good blog post and apparently its considerably shorter than mine usually are so I will break my big posts up into smaller posts. Hopefully they are easier to digest that way :o) See you all tomorrow when I think we might take a retrospective visit to the 2010 Melbourne International Flower and Garden show. That sounds like fun doesn’t it? :o)

Here are a couple of photos of a grey Heron that has started hunting for food in our garden. I think that this is the male heron and I know that 2 of them have paired up and have a nest on the border of our property and our neighbour Glad next door’s property. It seems like they managed to hatch out some babies so we should see a bit more of Mr and Mrs Heron wandering around in our garden.

Steve calls them the supermodels of our bird population. A most fitting moniker for these birds with impossibly long thin legs.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 09:00:58

    Earl must have thought at last, I can get one of these feathered animals! Get him “knackered” soon love. With your bug houses, which are really fine I must say, put the sticks in higgldy piggldy Pen, as they snuggle into cracks of all sorts, don’t they? By the way, those pine cones make lovely christmassy decorations, by spray or painting a bit of silver paint on the open tips, remember ? They last for years too! Even a bowl of them with a few coloured baubles are nice.I’d love to see young herons, they’d be cute. It’s peeing down here,going to be 17, a lot different to last wednesday thursday when it was 35 deg with fires everywhere.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Nov 29, 2011 @ 09:45:32

      I just have to say something here to everyone constantly telling us to get Earl neutered. I really wonder what you all think neutering does to a dog? It stops them wanting to roam to find a bitch. End of story! Oh, sorry, it also is somewhat of a help to stop dog aggression (which Earl doesn’t have). If Bezial was outside (who has been neutered for 2 1/2 years) and was anywhere near a chicken its days would be numbered. I think that everyone telling us to get Earl neutered right now, should do a bit of research (like we have…) and see the truth about getting your dog neutered. Its very BAD to neuter an animal (any kind) before 1 year old and the best time is 18 months old. If you neuter them any earlier, they stay in their ‘puppy’ phase and can be worse than if they mature first. Please stop telling us to get Earl neutered. We have done the research, we know the facts, we ARE going to get him neutered but when its the right time. Thanks for your concern, but please let us do what is right for Earl. Eating chickens is in the breed, pulling like crazy is in the breed its just part of nature for these dogs and Earl can’t help it. It’s up to us to make sure that he doesn’t get the chickens, thats OUR responsibility as dog owners. We ARE responsible dog owners and that is why we are doing the right thing for Earl, not for the wider community who most of you are not dog owners and are telling us from popular beliefs, rather than the truth. Sorry about the grouchy tone there, but it’s starting to get on our nerves a bit, especially when most of you are not dog owners. Which expert opinion are you quoting? The R.S.P.C.A. recommends that pups are neutered at 6 weeks. That is TERRIBLE abuse of dogs. We got our little girl in town neutered at 6 months and she has incontinence problems thanks to this ignorance and we are NOT going to follow blind ingorance with more, now that we know the truth. He is going to be neutered, but not today.

      Reply

  2. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:32:14

    Barney is not neutered. I am not a proponent of neutering. Chris is a different story…I mean his ideas about it.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:42:00

      I am also not a proponent of neutering after seeing what it did to Bezial and Qi (who has problems with her bladder because she was neutered too early we now know…). Earl is going to keep his proverbials and although he won’t ever get to use them for the purposes that they were intended, if dogs were meant to be neutered, they would have been born with gonads that dropped off at maturity!

      Reply

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