A woodland walk in Balbirnie, Fife

I hope you’re up for another walk along the margins of Balbirnie estate in Fife. It was a mild and relatively calm day, I’m not really keen on walking near trees when the wind blows hard – as it often does here. It’s just too dangerous.

Balbirnie Walk

We were ambling along quite happily when a crashing noise alerted us to the group of deer that we would never have noticed otherwise as they’re so well camouflaged.
Balbirnie Walk

Just to the right of centre you might be able to see the white behind of one of the deer, if it wasn’t for their scut you would never see them.
Balbirnie Walk 3 Deer closer
There were three of them but I just managed to snap the one below as it shot past.
Balbirnie Walk ,  Deer

Today I wanted to take some photos of the garden which is looking so colourful at the moment, but my camera had run out of juice. By the time it was fired up again the flowers I wanted to snap were in half shade, maybe tomorrow we’ll have the sunshine again. If I don’t get a photo soon the wind will have blown off the ornamental dwarf cherry blossom!

Reasons to be Cheerful

Let’s face it, there haven’t been many reasons to be cheerful recently in the UK anyway. But this morning I spotted a red squirrel not far from our house. He was just sitting on the grass by the edge of the woodland. That’s the third red squirrel I’ve seen since we moved to our more rural location in Fife. Or maybe I’ve just been seeing the same one each time. I hope not, they did say on Springwatch that red squirrels are beginning to move back into areas that had been taken over by those pesky US grey squirrels. Apparently it means there must be pine martens around, but I’ve never seen any of those. Of course I didn’t get a photo of the red squirrel.

So as you can see I’m trying hard to see some optimism in the world, not an easy task given the Brexit vote and the fact that the Dutch news channels are calling the UK a banana republic. That’s putting it mildly I think. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the horror of that outcome, especialy as the whole Brexit cmpaign was based on lies, it’s not what I call democracy.

Another reason to be cheerful is the fact that Michael Gove has been well and truly trounced in the Conservative vote for PM. It has long been a puzzle to me that that man isn’t in jail, given his lack of monetary honesty and nasty habit of charging his luxuries to the tax payer. It was no surprise to me at all that he knifed Boris, not that Boris is an awful lot better than Gove.

I’m always happy to spot deer out of a back bedroom window, which I did not long ago. This one was munching away in an abandoned smallholding at the back of our house. I suspect that the deer might be the reason it is abandoned as they can easily just step over the fences. Sorry the photos are a bit grainy. I had to crop them to show up the deer.

Deer 2

Deer 4

Deer 5

Deer, garden and dogs

A couple of weeks ago we saw four deer together close to where we now live, that’s the most we’ve seen at any one time, the same day one jumped out of the undergrowth right in front of us, it was being chased by a dog but luckily its owner called it off and it was an obedient dog.


But now look what has happened, I knew it would snow, just as everything was growing nicely in the garden.
snow 2

As you can see it had already begun to melt away by lunchtime. We got about three inches of snow which I know is nothing compared with other people but I’m longing for the spring and as it’s March it should be getting warmer, not colder. My new fruit trees are all showing signs of growth too, I suppose it could be worse, they could be flowering and frosted flowers would mean no fruit at all. The two bird boxes which I’ve attached to the fence have been getting interest from the blue-tits, I hope some of them decide that they are just the sort of des res that they are looking for.

snow 3

So it was a day for indoors, I actually baked Joan’s Muffin Surprise and also some treacle scones, the only kind I’ve had much success with in the past. I’m going to try cherry scones soon though.

Here’s a photo I took a few weeks ago whilst out on a walk. I was amazed and a wee bit trepidatious when I saw this woman coming along the path with a whole load of loose dogs, not a lead in sight. She had nine dogs – seven Border collies and two Border terriers, but I had no need to worry because she was top dog and she had them under complete control, which is more than can be said for a lot of dog walkers. God alone knows what her house must be like with that lot though!

dogs 1

By the way I was checking the spelling of trepidatious (or trepidacious as an alternative) and found this thread. I was surprised it was first noted only in 1904. That’s the sort of thing that interests me but it might not anyone else. Own up if it does.

Swallows, Deer and Garden Update

I was showing my sister around our new place today and we were looking at the garden from the kitchen when we suddenly realised that there were birds swooping and circling all around the garden. The swallows have arrived, they definitely weren’t here yesterday. What is that saying? something like – one swallow does not a summer make. Well umpteen of them were swooping, in fact in Scots you could say that there was a wheen o’ them, meaning a lot. I suppose that means that it is really summer, but not going by today’s weather it wasn’t!

Unfortunately they move too fast to get a photo of them, but a few hours later I was upstairs, still trying to unpack books and find places for them, when I realised that a deer was walking very close to our garden fence, I rushed to get the camera and was lucky that it was in no hurry to move on. Then I spotted another one following the first one. We’re certainly more rural here than in our old place.
Deer 2
The one above was a bit of a contortionist so it looks really weird. But the photo below looks more normal, I’ve seen more deer than ever before this year, often just standing in fields or lying down in the sun by the edge of fields.
Deer 1

I was thrilled to bits to see them but I suppose I’ll eventually get blase about them.

And here are some garden update photos. I’ve been busy trimming the grass edges and I’ve used the excess turf to make an oval in the grass, roughly the shape and place that I want to put a rockery, eventually. That’s going to be a long term project. You can see that I’ve begun to put the bones of the garden in place, in the shape of small trees. It’s beginning to feel like a garden already.
garden 1

The photo below is of the garden beyond the circle, we have decided to put some sort of structure on those concrete blocks, probably a summerhouse as that was what was there before, it’ll make a nice focal point. I suppose I should have taken my washing line down!

garden 2

Beyond the fence is the land where the deer were walking.

I’ve just looked up that quote and it turns out it was Aristotle who said it.