Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The effects of flooding on our waterways

We've had a lot of flooding in the UK this winter, some areas have been devastated, in some cases more than once as they've been affected by several storms.

Waterways, both rivers and canals, and the people and wildlife that use them and live near them are affected badly by flooding.

The Canal and River Trust is currently rebuilding the damaged waterways and has collected stories of how people and the environment have been affected by the floods.

Kingfisher perched on branch
Image: Kingfisher (taken with permission from the Canal and River Trust website) 

One of the problems that flooding causes for waterways is that the flood waters bring pollution and litter into the waterway. This makes life much more difficult for all the wildlife that use the waterways. For example, kingfishers and herons are unable to fish when the water is too churned up or too dirty. Kingfishers and dippers will find that the flooding has washed away some of their traditional nest sites. This happens regularly, I've seen dippers lose their nests along the Water of Leith, even when the water is only slightly higher than normal. It's going to be much worse this breeding season in areas of the country where flood waters have been very high.

You can read more about the effects of flooding on waterway wildlife in this article on the Canal and River Trust website.

Very often nature can be part of the solution. Tree planting in particular can help to minimise flooding as trees suck up water through their roots and help to bind the soil together, preventing landslides.  Treesponsibility, a climate action group plants around 10,000 trees a year across the Calder Valley. You can find out more about their work on the Cabal and River Trust website here.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Voodoo Shop by Ruth Padel

I recently re-read Voodoo Shop by Ruth Padel and thought I'd re-post my original review which I posted here almost 9 years ago! My favourite poem in the collection back then, remains my favourite poem today!

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I had heard Ruth Padel read at the Edinburgh Book festival and at the Scottish Poetry Library. I always enjoy her readings and really looked forward to at last reading one of her collections cover to cover. She has a keen environmental awareness, yet her poetry never feels like a lecture, in fact is often very sensual. She obviously loves words and knows how to use them to best effect. She is a passionate and engaging performer of her own work, more so than most literary poets - naturally some of this is lost when her poems are read from a book. In fact some of her poems (for example Writing to Onegin) can seem too wordy on the page, whereas her performance makes them into vivid drama. My favourite poem in this collection is CASABLANCA AND THE CHILDREN OF STORM, a long poem about loneliness and the storm petrel, a small seabird. The last part of this poem is haunting:

But somewhere in another galaxy,
Some parallel universe,

We’ll still be what we were.
St Peter’s birds,

Doing the impossible, walking on sea,
The outriders of storm.

Off course maybe; blown,
Fragile, but together. Drawn

To their one and only mate
By magnetism, a cry

You recognise in the dark above all others
And by faith.


It’s a poetry collection I’d recommend, but more, I’d recommend going along to hear Ruth Padel read if you ever get the chance.



Voodoo Shop by Ruth Padel published by Chatto

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks where you can find out more

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Hibernations and Signs of Spring

These common snails have found a nice place to hibernate in Colinton Dell

while the orange ladybirds are still huddling together in their fence posts

Meanwhile all around there are signs of Spring, from these snowdrops

and these hazel catkins

 if you look carefully in the photo below, you can also see the tiny red female flowers
We were also happy to see the earth star fungi are still out, this one shows the star structure very well





Friday, 5 February 2016

#ShowtheLove

With Valentine's Day approaching, The Climate Coalition (made up of several UK charities, including Oxfam and the Woodland Trust, are once again campaigning to #showthelove for all that we love that might be destroyed by climate change.

Part of the campaign is to make and wear green hearts to raise awareness. I still wear the heart sent to me last year by World Wildlife Fund, it was made by Annette in Guildford, who loves 'the planet'. It's now permanently pinned to my coat....





If you want inspiration to make your own green heart to wear, then you can see a whole selection that people have made in this gallery. And if you're in Hertfordshire, you may want to join the Woodland Trust in their "Show the Love Craft Session" at Heartwood Forest on 13 February.

The Climate Coalition have also produced this little film for Valentine's Day to help spread the message that the world is worth loving and protecting.

The Climate Coalition is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities.


For The Love Of... is the Climate Coalition's campaign to protect the things we love from being impacted by climate change. Climate change potentially could change everything we know, from the food we can grow, the wildlife around us and the very shape of the land we live on. 

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Jewellery and Treasury

I've been making lots of earrings recently, they're easy to make and there's lots of inspiring materials in the 'broken jewellery bags' I buy for making crafts. Plus they sell reasonably well in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop. This is the latest pair I've made - using flat circular beads from a bracelet and black beads from my stash. Plus of course brand new nickel free silver earring hooks.

dangle earrings, brown, olive green and black beaded dangle earrings, ecofriendly

These earrings are now in my Etsy shop, you can see them here.

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I'm delighted that recently three of the items from the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop have been featured in four separate treasuries. (For those of you unfamiliar with Etsy, a Terasury is a slection of items made by various Etsy sellers, often on a particular theme).

This chopstick bag featured in this Treasury and these earrings featured in this Treasury, while this bracelet featured in this Treasury and these earrings featured in this Treasury!

Meanwhile I put together a new Treasury myself. As my new Etsy shop, Crafty Green Magpie sells supplies, I'm planning to put together a number of Treasuries featuring crafts that use the types of supplies I sell! First up is "All Buttoned up in Blue!" which features crafts by UK sellers that all incorporate buttons and all are mostly blue in colour. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Look at the clouds!

I heard yesterday that nacreous clouds had been seen above Edinburgh and was disappointed that I'd missed them.

However, I was delighted to see them back again early this morning! Here are some of the photos I took from our living room window, aren't these beautiful clouds?


Nacreous clouds (or mother of pearl clouds) form in the winter polar stratosphere at altitudes of 10 - 20 miles. They are most likely to be seen at twilight. They are believed to contribute to ozone depletion due to the chemical reactions they support.

You can read more about nacreous clouds on the Weather Channel here