Monday, February 25, 2013

Locating Bird Boxes, Boggy Ground & Recycling a Willow!!..

Hello All,

With the current weather I have found myself posting a bit sooner than usual! This is good for the blog but generally means garden time has been very limited!...

Well it is good news for all you followers as firstly you get another input but even better is that I have actually managed to get out in the garden and do a few jobs at long last!!!! It hasn't been much but enough to at least feel like we are starting to look forward to this seasons garden again!

Firstly my 5yr old daughter recently asked me if she could plant some seeds, which as I'm sure you can imagine, I didn't need asking twice! We ventured out to the greenhouse to find that all the wet weather had left it rather dirty and covered in a horrible green algae! As you are all aware by now I use no chemicals in the garden at all so we set to work with simply soapy water, a sponge each and a hose! Between a good soaking and Choco our dog chasing a very 'lively' hose around the garden we got the job done but it delayed our sowing until the following morning!

Whilst busying ourselves cleaning it became very apparent that the ground under the arch onto the lawn was getting boggier and boggier every time we walked over it causing quite a muddy problem both outside and more importantly all over Mrs Higgy's nice clean floor (I blame the dog myself!!) This however couldn't go on so needed addressing ASAP (apparently!!)

 These two pictures were taken prior to cleaning the greenhouse and despite the two bags of grit that have been put down here the area become water logged as the lawn slopes down onto the patio at this point creating a natural 'water hole!' I'll let you use your imagination as to how it looked after my daughter and I & the dog spent a whole day trampling over this area with a hose running for part of it!!!...

To address this I dug out the area and set large rocks into the ground to create a step up from the patio, as below...
I have also set a row of rocks behind and filled the space under the arch with gravel to aid drainage. The rocks behind will be capped with pavers bringing it up level to the highest point of the lawn and creating a step up onto the lawn. I will lay some pavers or cobbles on top of the gravel to add a solid path through the arch which takes ALL foot traffic at this point of the garden.

This is as far as I have got with this little job but it was nice to get out and actually do some work again! I will of course show you the completed job in my next post hopefully. You will also be pleased to know that I have managed to source 'reclaimed' materials to finish this job which is always nice and the way that I like to work!

Talking of 'reclaimed' materials, my neighbours had a massive Willow Tree in their garden cut down a while ago and I managed to 'blag' all the logs and bark chippings for use in the garden (can't stand to see it all go to waste!) The chippings I will use for mulch and allow some to rot down but the logs will be used for another wildlife log pile in the garden and one in the field and for other landscaping jobs as required....

 So what about that for some 'free reclaimed' materials!!?
These logs give me lots of choice for log piles, edging as well as a dozen large rounds that I plan on using as stepping stones, giving another fun feature for my daughter and her friends to play on this summer!

The other really important job that I must highlight on here is of course the fixing up all of my bird boxes. I made these boxes a while ago and designed them to hopefully accommodate various species of bird...

 The box above I have situated in a shady area on the wall of the house. The hole has been kept small at 25mm in the hope of encouraging Blue Tit, Coal Tit or Marsh Tit all of who visit the garden. On this box you can also see that I use two metal eyes screwed into the lid and the box itself. I attach wire to these eyes to hold the lid tightly down. this is repeated on both sides of the every box making access easy for yourself but impossible for likely 'raiders' such as Squirrels!!

 This open fronted box has been designed for Blackbirds and I've located it on a fence amongst some overgrown Ivy close to where Blackbirds nested last year.

 This box has a large hole and is situated on the large old Oak Tree right at the bottom of the garden. I'm hoping that its quieter location will attract a larger species to nest such as Nuthatch or similar. 

I have included a aluminium face plate on this box as it is situated on a tree quite near a branch which could give easier access to the box for a squirrel or cat. This face plate will protect the hole and any would be chicks inside. 

 This final box has a 28mm hole for Great Tits and is situated on a trellis fence behind the greenhouse. It points exactly NORTH EAST which is the ultimate direction for any box to face! 

I have tried to face all my boxes as close to NORTH EAST as I can but obviously this can prove difficult depending where and what you mount them on. All of the boxes have been made with waterproof roofs using old pond liner and you can find details of how I make my bird boxes on my post from last year here...

Finally lets look at my recent visitors, which I have to say have been extremely plentiful and very enjoyable recently!!...

Finches, Finches & more Finches!!....

 We have been absolutely inundated with finches this month with at times 100 or so in the garden and surrounding trees! They make a great noise and are fascinating to watch on the feeders like the Chaffinch & Brambling squabbling above! Below is a beautiful male Brambling. Bramblings overwinter here in Britain from countries such as Sibera & Scandinavia so are a rare and welcome sight on my feeders!

 Below is a male Greenfinch proving that my growing population of 'greenies' continues!

 The Siskin is a truly beautiful bird and bright yellow when viewed on your feeders. First time visitors to my garden this winter and generally arriving in amongst the large flocks of mixed finches. These lovely little finches tend to be winter visitors here in North Somerset.  

The Reed Bunting has to be one of my favourite visitors to the garden where they will stay on the feeders for quite a long time. They will visit all year but are mainly a winter visitor to the feeders. This year numbers have increased with four birds very often present on the bird table!

Yes of course where there is food!!....
You'll find Gulls and in my case a flock of 20+ Black Headed Gulls who drop in every day to see what's on offer!!...

Well that's about it for this time, it has however been great to actually have some proper news to share with you all again! Hopefully tomorrow it will stay dry for my day off and I'll get a chance to finish my steps and make a start on some log piles! 

For now I'll thank you all again for taking the time to read my blog and sending me your comments, please do keep them coming and pass on this blog to anyone else who might be mad enough to read my 'ramblings'...




  1. Hi hajjandumrah and thank you for your very kind comments they really are appreciated. I'm glad you find the blog interesting and I will try and continue to post interesting pieces o keep you posted on the latest developments as they happen!

  2. Nice post with usefull information! I hope you write more on this subject! I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to this topic. Liked the material. Boo

  3. Hi Boo, Thank you so much for your kind comments which really are appreciated. I'm glad that you found this post interesting and yes Ido plan to write some more about this at some point including the construction of a House Sparrow Terrace I hope!
    I have also sent you a direct reply by email but once again a big thank you and I do hope that you continue to look in and see what I've been up to or even consider joining the site by using the members tab on the right hand side of this post?
    Best regards