|stuck in the mud|
Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Thursday, 26 November 2015
|Rob Hoare's peregrine in flight|
|finished nesting box|
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 08:30
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
|hens off to explore mown orchard|
Each year we leave an area of uncut grass to provide a 'safe haven' for overwintering invertebrates and to provide foraging for birds and mammals. This year we have left a central island of longer grass for this purpose.
The remaining grass has not been 'scalped'. Among the grass tussocks are many tunnels created by voles. We don't want to disturb these: we are keen to support the vole population and also the beautiful kestrel whose diet comprises voles.
In traditional meadow management, once cut, animals are released onto the grass for the winter. Despite entreaties, the head gardener will not sanction sheep. So I make do with releasing the chickens.
So with the grass cut, the hens were released to have a scratch. Nothing seems to display haughty disapproval in the manner of a hen. On release from their run, they only needed pinz nes to more fully take the look of scathing Georgian dowager duchesses.
But then they thought better of it - and trotted off to explore.
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 08:47
Friday, 6 November 2015
I only ask, not because of fundamental disagreement with this administration. Although that is there.
I ask because all too frequently there seems to be an unbridgeable gulf between science/ research and political decisions.
Let me shoot a couple out.
One very current one is the badger cull. There seems to be overwhelming research that this politically-driven cull is at best ineffective and more likely to be completely counter-productive. Infected badgers have been shown to move from culling areas into adjacent ones taking their diseases with them and spreading it to healthy populations. Wrong decision.
From another area of public policy comes the latest decision to test seven year olds. I cannot find any support within educational research literature to support this idea. Many children at this age are not ready for tests, testing will disrupt and skew the school curriculum. And on doing so will impoverish what children are offered and indeed lower standards. Wrong decision.
I won't go on, but the sense of exasperation expressed by professionals at both of these decisions is so strong it could be cut with a knife.
But, in a democracy, surely we elect our politicians to make decisions on our behalf? Of course we do, but there seems to be a recognition from politicians themselves that some decisions are better taken from their hands.
Gordon Brown was there at the beginning of the process by giving the Bank of England its independence. People say that this independence should go further but at least the population now know that our interest rates are no longer set by political whim.
The last government took inspiration from this decision by creating the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR). Once again, arguments go back and forth about the effectiveness and brief of the OBR. But most now agree that an objective voice in this area is a good one.
Within the political football that is our NHS, there is agreement that clinical decisions on the drugs used within the NHS should not be decided by politicians but are more-effectively taken by professionals - the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).
And now for my passion - the environment. I consider that the time is right to create a body similar to those above for dealing with key issues around the environment where smoke and mirrors, NIMBYism, big money and political spin all combine to get in the way of effective policy.
|the badger cull - a political or research-led decision?|
Or GM. As above.
Or climate change.
Or a new runway at Heathrow.
Or the desertification of our uplands.
Or the badger cull.
All in their own way absolutely vital to our nation - but when left to fallible politicians we are left with the knowledge that their own agendas, careers and competence combined with the power of vested interest will bear too heavily on eventual decisions.
I know that this information can be made available to ministers in briefings from their civil servants. But politicians can and do frequently ignore 'advice' no matter how balanced or cogent.
And this uneasy feeling about our politicians and their effectiveness is in part why we hear the cry 'they're all the same' and that people have turned off politics.
Politicians and democracy must remain central to our nations life. But let's find a way of letting the voice of respected and peer-reviewed research be heard. And in doing so wash clean this vital element of our nations' life.
The time of the Office for Environmental Responsibility has come.
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 15:56
Monday, 2 November 2015
|Boundary beech leaves catching the sun|
|Nathan hangs mysteriously in the fog|
The creation of space and the opening of the tree canopy is really important as areas where habitats merge (the eco-tone) is where one will frequently find the greatest biodiversity.
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 22:43
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 18:53
Sunday, 27 September 2015
When Jill first saw the 'prairie planting' landscaping schemes of Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, her life changed.
|prairie bed 1 - after first season|
|prairie beds - phase 2|
|view across lawn towards prairie beds|
This week I watched a young kestrel sail down from a perching post and kiss the tops of the flowers with its talons. I'm guessing that it was catching a large insect.
And now the work has begun on the second half of the prairie beds. We're back to digging soil, removing rubble and barrowing soil in to provide the 'hummocky' effect that the head gardener requires.
A lot of hard work.
But all worth it when one can look across on opening the bedroom curtains and see the view.
I've been playing 'This must be what paradise is like' by Van Morrison in my head for days now. You may be able to guess why....
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 13:51
Monday, 21 September 2015
|field scabious seedlings|
Each of these precious and beautiful wild flowers is not only valuable in their own right - they frequently provide food for the caterpillars of specialist moths or butterflies so they are doubly important.
They've been transplanted into individual
plastic plug containers and I hope that they can get a hurry on so that they can be transplanted as vigorous little plants into the developing wildflower meadow areas in the next month.
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 15:55
Saturday, 22 August 2015
|drive border - waiting for privet to be cut|
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 10:01
Tuesday, 21 July 2015
|view from kitchen window|
|Don't let Baz drive 'Sir Alex'...!|
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 20:11
Thursday, 16 July 2015
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 17:22
Friday, 10 July 2015
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
|early bumblebee (bombus pratorum)|
- Early 1 Lamium; lavender
- Garden 1 Monkshood
- Red tailed 3 Thalictrum; lavender
- Common carder 12 Feverfew; foxglove; fuchsia; lavender; rose - nest in Picnic Wood grass
- Buff tailed 1 Foxglove
- White tailed 1 Rose
|common carder bee (bombus pascuorum) nest|
Were's mah hoss..?
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 15:35
Sunday, 28 June 2015
|juvenile broad bodied chaser|
|green silver lines moth|
One of the quintessential Sherwood birds is the woodcock. Males are famed for their creaking territorial 'roding' flight at twilight over the tree canopy looking for lerv... One did a fly past from Crimea Plantation last night. Hands off, she's mine!!
All of this ... and a glass of Jura single malt. I ask you ...?!
Posted by Rob Carlyle at 16:05
Friday, 19 June 2015
|"Fox and cubs' or orange hawkweed has been transplanted into the meadow|