Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Two Rivers Meet, windswept grass and flytipping removed

It was very windy at Musselburgh today! If you look carefully you can see the grass and tree are quite windswept.

Over the sea wall the water was very choppy. You may be able to see in this photo, the browner water of the River Esk (in the foreground) as it joins the bluer water of the Firth of Forth (it's a much more dramatic contrast in real life!).

I was sad to see quite a lot of fly tipping along the John Muir Walkway today. This door looks quite picturesque, but it's still rubbish and if left there would attract more rubbish.

In fact there was a large pile of rubbish bags piled up just near the door. I was just about to take a photo of that, ready to tweet it and call for action, when an East Lothian Council van pulled up and a guy got out and picked up all the bags and put them in the vehicle. When I asked about the door, he said it was too windy today to put that on the top of the car but he would be back as soon as he could to remove that too. It's good to see the local council taking the time to make sure the walkway doesn't become an eyesore.

Co-incidentally, Leithers Don't Litter (a local campaign group in the Leith area of Edinburgh) is carrying out a survey of attitudes to flytipping. You can take part here.

If you see flytipping in the City of Edinburgh, you can report it here. You can report fly tipping in Musselburgh and other areas of East Lothian here.



Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Monday, 20 February 2017

Up-cycled Craft Apron

A craft apron with pockets is always a useful item to have! I was inspired to make this when a pair of linen trousers became too worn to wear. The upper part including the back pockets and the waistband was in good condition so I cut that off the rest of the trousers (I've made gift bags with the lower parts of the legs and still have some left over fabric for other, as yet undecided projects). I then found this pretty pink fabric, I only needed to cut off a little for this piece to fit perfectly to create a complete apron.

I was inspired partly by similar up-cycled aprons I saw on Etsy!

Meanwhile, I've added more upcycled assemblage beaded bracelets to the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, you can see them here.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Carpets of snowdrops

We always visit Cammo Country Park at this time of year to see the snowdrops. They have wonderful displays of these lovely flowers, specially in the walled garden.




It was also lovely to see so many birds, especially in the fields around Cammo. At least three skylarks were singing and we saw more tree sparrows than we've ever seen!

Snowdrops are at their best across Scotland at the moment - you can find out about the Scottish Snowdrop Festival events here.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Assembing Vintage Beads into Bracelets

I made a whole lot of assemblage bracelets recently. I was inspired to do so when a necklace fell apart! Although I liked the beads in the necklace, it wasn't a great length for me so I though rather than repair it I'd use it to make a beaded lanyard (which will be on sale soon in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop). I then realised I could use the extra beads to make bracelets and I searched among all my stash of broken jewellery for beads with the same wire setting to them. I ended up making seven bracelets, all of which will end up in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop! These two are already there:

which is in the shop here.

and this one

which is in the shop here.

These have been great fun to make and I'm hoping to make more in the future! 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Early Spring by Amy Seidl

This book is part memoir, part science and part plea for the world to pay more attention to climate change.

Seidl is an ecologist and writes of her experience of a mother bringing up children in rural Vermont and as an ecologist studying how the seasons are changing year on year. She refers both to her own observations on how some species are flowering earlier than they used to and other scientists work on for example the science of how river flow is affected by a changing climate and how changes for one species have a knock on effect on other species that rely on the first (eg for food).

She breaks down her observations into chapters that focus on: Weather; Gardens; Forests; Water; Birds, Butterflies; Meadows and Fields.

She looks at how Vermont has changed - losing some of its historical forest to farmland but then more recently losing some of the farmland back to forest. This has impacted on species such as the bobolink, a bird of open spaces that moved into Vermont from the west but now is decreasing in Vermont (due to loss of farmland) just as urbanisation and agricultural intensification are reducing its favoured habitats in the west. This is just one of many species being affected by a complicated network of human induced changes.

She also outlines how some people in Vermont are trying to live more in balance with nature, whether by growing their own crops on a small scale or by using more environmentally friendly methods in large scale farming (though that is counterbalanced by the farmers who are moving into more intensive farming).

It's a fascinating book that makes climate change real in a very specific place and time, in a way that is understandable and observable. It isn't just happening in Vermont of course, all round the world nature is changing with the climate and we don't know what the ultimate consequences will be.

Early Spring by Amy Seidl published by Beacon Press (2009)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Looking closely at lichen

I find lichen totally fascinating, though I know they are notoriously difficult to even begin to identify to species level. So I'm resigned to just enjoying them! What particularly drew me to this lichen growing on the sea wall at Musselburgh was the way the light was shining on the fruiting bodies (the darker yellow, disc like structures) - click on the photo for a larger view!

The green plant in the photo is a moss, I can only identify one moss to species level and it isn't this one! I like the contrast between the colours of the lichen and the moss.

Lovely to hear the skylarks singing at full volume today!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

winter haiku



snowdrops -
winter continues
without you

(in memory of my Mum who passed away a few days ago)

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Computer woes

Our computer has lots of problems at the moment and everything is so slow it feels like time wasting. So I won't be blogging until we get this sorted, hopefully early next week at the latest! I won't be on Facebook either though Twitter is okay and if you order from my Etsy shops then I can still deal with the order.

Back soon!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham

Subtitled 'The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal' and beautifully illustrated by Jake Blanchard, this is an interesting look at this relatively common but very elusive mammal.

Barkham looks at various aspects of the badgers lifestyle and how it has been treated by humans through the ages, from being hunted and baited to being revered on one hand for their looks and personality and a figure of hatred on the other, for their suspected role in spreading bovine TB. Badgers have given their name to various places in the UK and have their place as characters in fiction from Wind in the Willows to Rupert Bear, yet most people never see them!

Badgers are very intelligent - I love the detail in an early chapter that a badger has been observed lining its sett with a waterproof sheet before making its nest!

Barkham visits people with different opinions to badgers, from animal rescue workers (including Brian May, former guitarist with Queen who has his own badger rescue centre), scientists researching badger ecology, people who feed the badgers in their gardens and people on both sides of the badger cull debate. He investigates the efficacy of the badger cull in reducing bovine TB in cattle and after a very even handed discussion he comes to his conclusion.

Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham published (2013) by Granta Books

Saturday, 4 February 2017

haiku

robinsong
in the woodland
first snowdrops

***
and delighted to be honourably mentioned in the Irish Haiku Society Haiku competition! Congratulations to the winners and other mentioned writers! 

Friday, 3 February 2017

Show the Love

I think this is the third year of Show the Love - the Green Hearts campaign which encourages people to make and wear green hearts on Valentines Day to show their love for nature.

The campaign is lead by the Climate Coalition, which is made up of a number of environmental charities including Woodland Trust.

I still wear the heart sent to me two years ago by World Wildlife Fund, it was made by Annette in Guildford, who loves 'the planet'. It's now permanently pinned to my coat....

I've just come back from a lovely lunchtime walk round Corstorphine Hill - the first snowdrops are out and many birds are singing in preparation for spring (including robins, great tits, blue tits and blackbirds). I took some photos of the snowdrops, but can't share them on the blog as yet as we have some computer problems which prevent uploading and saving. The computer will be fixed soon and then I'll share some photos! The photo above is an old one.

Climate change threatens to disrupt our seasons (and we already see signs of this in some plants blooming earlier than they used to and some birds nesting earlier). If seasons get out of alignment then some birds won't be able to breed at all - if for example caterpillars start coming out earlier but migrating birds are unable to change their arrival dates to benefit from this change and instead find themselves facing a food shortage. 





Thursday, 2 February 2017

World Wetlands Day


World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

The theme for World Wetlands Day 2017 is Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction. This theme was chosen to highlight the vital role of wetlands in reducing the impacts of extreme events such as floods, droughts and cyclones on communities, and in helping to build resilience.

World Wetlands Day is also an opportunity to enjoy the wildlife value provided by wetlands such as those as Musselburgh, near Edinburgh. The photo above shows The Firth of Forth at Musselburgh with the tide in. When the tide is out this is a place where hundreds of waders gather. The Lagoons at Musselburgh, slightly inland from the Firth of Forth, are vital places for waders too. These are ponds made where formerly ash from a nearby power station was buried. Now that the power station has closed down the remaining active ash lagoons are set to be converted to more lagoons for waders.