Trees and more

Spring is on the way, The trees are showing buds and tiny leaves and the blackthorn is in bloom. It really brightens the day and helps me to deal with the horrible news about tree felling in many places. As was reported recently by the Woodland Trust ‘“#MatureTrees are not replaceable with a sapling. There seems to be no appreciation that the starting point for regeneration or redevelopment should be designing around the nature that is already there.” – Andy Egan, Head of Conservation Policy.

I totally agree with that statement. But many who plant saplings by the roadside to stop the soil from moving and to act as windbreaks, never look after the saplings and many die. What a waste of money and saplings. I had a sapling last year and it was put in the grounds around the complex where I live. The muntjac nibbled the nice new leaves until my son and I put a protective cage around it. But however much I watered it last summer the drought and extreme heat killed it. It will be replaced by a buckthorn but not until the buckthorn is able to withstand all kinds of weather.

It seems that councils are starting to fell trees over night unknown to those trying to protect the trees. I have seen this done before when a whole row of trees disappeared over night in the town where I then lived. Yet trees are so important to us, without them we could die. There are many reasons why they are so important and here are a few ‘Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife’. They also provide places for us to walk and enjoy the outdoor life and help to prevent mental illness.

I have just been out to fill the bird feeders and went to look at the stream that runs along the bottom of the complex. There are very old willows there as well other small trees and quite a large blackthorn. The stream is the highest I have ever seen it and is rushing along looking very muddy. But the trees soak up the excess water and stop the area from flooding.

So be aware of what your council plans for it’s trees. Make sure you protect those you have and get more planted.

Wildlife gardening and hedges

Hedges are another natural growth that are being destroyed like trees in the name of progress and new houses. In my previous home I had a large old hawthorn hedge separating my garden from the ones at the back. It was around 9 feet high, 3 feet deep and about 18 feet long. It was wonderful! The birds loved it and made nests in it and the chorus of their singing could be heard down the road. I miss it but I have compensations where I live now. I live in a block of flats, one of six and we have lots of grass around us and a stream running along the bottom. Many of the residents have tiny borders with flowers and shrubs and some grow veggies in pots and bags. I have a small patch of garden about 12 feet by 2 feet and this is good. I also have lots of pots and grow veggies in bags sitting on a pallet. This morning I saw a muntjac running along by the top of stream.

My aim with the garden patch was to attract bees and butterflies as well as dragonflies from a pond over the back. So plants were put in that attracted bees, verbena, rudbeckias, heleniums and many others. I also have spring bulbs and plants like cowslips. Last year it was buzzing with bees and a lot of different butterflies made visits. My son and I also took over a wild patch and planted it with wild flower seeds. It was good last year but promises even more this year.

You too can have some wild flowers or flowers that attract bees in your garden. But what if you only have a small patio or balcony. You would be surprised what you can grow in pots! You can also now buy packets of wild flower seeds and kits for planting which include pots and compost. Watching the bees and trying to identify them can give you great joy. There are many different bees but I like the buff tailed ones best.

If we are going to lose trees to housing developments (see previous blog) then we all need to do something to make sure we can provide places for the bees, butterflies and other insects. In a small garden you can also get frogs. Because I could not have a pond in my last place, I bought a small kit that came with a bowl, compost and a few plants. This did well and the birds loved it too.

What can you do to help the environment?

Our natural world

As a druid I have always been deeply connected to the natural world around me and as I have grown older I have learned more and more about this world and how everything is connected. I have learned to understand much better how biodiversity works and how every single insect, bird, flower, etc is important. I am a member of our local wildlife trusts and visit a lot of nature reserves and country parks which are often run by the local county council.

What disturbs me at the moment is the amount of scrub clearing and tree felling. I know that one area was cleared and became a bit of a meadow but then sheep were let in to graze and when they left there were no plants to be seen. Some plants in this spot were attractive to one specific butterfly which no longer visits because it’s food is no longer there.

A few days ago I visited this nature reserve and workmen were there busy clearing scrub and felling trees. It made the reserve more open of course but also more open to the chilly wind which blows across the reserve. The Trust states this on their website;’ The loss of any kind of trees from a nature reserve can cause mixed views, but we are confident that the benefit to core designated waterbirds is significant.’ This particular reserve is known for its birds and waterbirds but there are other species of life there in the undergrowth and trees. When you destroy one habitat to provide for another than the destroyed habitat cannot be replaced elsewhere without difficulty. There are two reserves in this area where the waterbirds are important but we must not forget those other species that rely on what is in the undergrowth to survive. We have lost two many species over the last few years and we don’t want to lose any more.

I’d love to read your response to this blog so please comment.

This was one of many piles of logs and branches

Asking too much of our planet

July 28th was Earth Overshoot Day. This is the day when humanity’s demand for natural resources outstrips the planet’s ability to regenerate within those 12 months. ( My daily newspaper the ‘i’ stated that the UK needed 4.1 UKs in order to meet the residents demands on nature. If we carry on like this there will be no ‘us’.

There is plenty we can do as most of my readers will know, recycling, natural forms of heating like solar panels, wind power, heat exchangers, There are plenty of solutions but that means a lot of change and many people are unwilling to change. Meanwhile energy companies are making what can only be called obscene amounts of profit while the consumer struggles to pay the bills.

Thousands of new houses are being built and none seem to have any form of alternative heating. There is also a lack of water for their supply and it seems that planners cannot join the dots and produce plans that take everything into account. Joined-up thinking is essential if we are to survive as a species.

Habitats are also being destroyed and many species of insects are losing their homes. This can be seen when flower meadows are mowed too early leaving no food for certain species. We have to stand back and look at the larger picture before deciding what to do. Can we work together to persuade those in power to also work together to make things better for us all not just the minority?

Waking up?

Will this unusual excessive heat in the UK wake people up to the effect of changes in our climate? I doubt it but you never know. There are too many promises made by those in power but none of the promises are kept. But it is not just humans who suffer when there is excessive heat.

High temperatures above normal cause a lot of distress to our natural world. Every living thing needs water and when there are high temperatures there is often a lack of rain. So the grass is scorched and the plants are wilting and the leaves falling from the trees. But the living animals and insects also need water especially when it is very hot. I watched a butterfly dipping into the water on a lake earlier this week. Hedgehogs, birds and all other animals need water left out for them. Birds love to bathe in the water too and watching them in the past has given me a lot of joy.

There is a wildflower patch where I live but getting water to it is extremely difficult and there has been no rain for several weeks now. I am hoping to get my son to help me with a water hose next week so we can try to save all the plants that are there. I am managing to water my own bit of garden with a watering can carrying two of them on my walker/rollator thing.

But extreme heat cause lots of other problems too. We humans don’t cope with it well especially the older ones like me. Keeping cool is not easy to do in an upstairs flat even if you keep the windows closed as advised to do. But the road outside and parts of the pavement are melting in the heat which causes other problems. Rail lines buckle as do other things like a slat on one of our wooden benches.

So is all of this going to make people think about what we do in our daily life and ask questions about how we live and are going to live? Extreme heat causes crops to fail so no food and so on. Are we in a similar situation as is said in this American Indian prophecy ‘Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money‘.?

Whatever happens, nature carries on

Our world is beset by conflict but the natural world continues to thrive. Spring is here now and it is much warmer. Today and for several days we have had blues skies and lots of sun. The birds are busy and I am not sure whether the starlings have already had one brood although it is a bit early for that. There is a lot of bird song though. The plants are thriving, the bulbs and flowers appearing, many of them coloured yellow to cheer us up and to remind us of Ukraine.

I claimed two free saplings from the Woodland Trust for their climate change programme. My son had one, a crabapple and the other one, a wild cherry, we planted in the garden of the housing complex where I live. The saplings were only small but they will grow over the years.

I am trying not to worry about the world situation as what will be will be whatever I or others do. I am still working with ceremonies for peace and will continue as long as needed. There are lessons to be learned but those in charge are unwilling to learn so we seem to be going towards another disaster at some point. Life can be simple and enjoyable. Walking in the countryside proves that. I for one, don’t need a lot to make me happy. Just listening to the birds and breathing in the sunshine does that. So take care, get out in the sunshine and look to see what you can find in the hedgerows as hibernating insects wake up.

My love affair with nature

Although I am still ‘taking time out’ in many respects I felt I wanted to write about this theme. I originally thought of writing a book with the above title but decided that it would be far too unwieldy and very pricey to publish. So I decided to make several scrapbooks instead. There is an art to making good scrapbooks and I have made many in the past. This time round I purchased three A4 size scrapbooks with a brown cover and brown pages inside.

I pondered for some time about how to do this but decided that taking specific places like my garden and various nature reserves for each book was the best way. Then came the task of sorting photos for printing. I have thousands of photos on my computer dating from when I had my first digital camera. I also have three or four boxes of photos from before that time.

What I noticed when going through these thousands of photos is that very few were of people or buildings and most were of landscapes and the beasties that live in the landscape. I have found photos of dragonflies taken in 2015, hiding away in a different folder than where they should be. But it has been a wonderful experience looking at the photos and remembering when they were taken and who I was with at that time.

Choosing which photos for the scrapbook is very hard though. I love all my dragonfly, damselfly and butterfly photos so how can I choose just one of each kind? It is the same with the photos of birds feeding in the garden and the many pictures of flowers. I need more ‘time out’ in order to do this but I felt I would like to let you know how I was using my time out.

Approaching winter

Officially we are now in the winter season. I have noticed how the trees stand proud against the skyline with their bare branches. I see my hedge getting much thinner with large spaces so I can see through into the garden of my neighbour. The birds are still there but keep hopping out to feed on the conveniently placed feeder. I love the days when the sky is clear and the sun is shining. There is something special about the winter sky and the landscape around us.

But winter also has a special meaning for me It is the time when I take stock of what the year has brought me and look at how I have dealt with it. There has been a lot of sadness and grief this year and that has been hard to deal with but getting out occasionally amongst the trees has helped enormously. I have also looked at what I have achieved or not achieved as might be the case with some things. Are there lessons to be learned from this and can I do better next year. I find the winter months with the shorter days gives me more time to contemplate what has gone and what is to come in the future. I can do the stuff that I have put on one side while I have been enjoying the summer times. I can unpack the boxes still left to do since I moved earlier in the year. Maybe I will find the items I have spent hours looking for but still not found!

I also stock up on food just in case I cannot get out. I am old enough to remember the years of heavy snowfall when nothing stirred so make sure I will be OK if anything like a heavy snowfall arrives and stays with us. But most of all I am looking forward to the Winter Solstice, now in less than three weeks time, when the light returns and the hours of daylight start to lengthen. I have lots of new things I want to try next year so I shall start planning them now, making sure I will have everything I need to do these things.

So a time for contemplation, planning and enjoyment is what winter brings to me.

Dealing with stress

This week has been quite stressful as workmen have been in changing my bathroom to a wet room. The first day was the noisiest day so I went out on a trip to Trentham Gardens which I love. There were some amazing flowers to take photos of and the lake was beautiful. It was a good day to let go of stress. The rest of the week was less noisy but there were delays when materials had not been delivered so I tried to get out up to my local pond as often as I could but all the walking eventually brought on more pain.

One afternoon at the pond was really lovely. The sun was shining and there were dragonflies of various kinds flying around, some laying eggs. Another day I saw the heron but he flew away just as I arrived. Another day I watched young birds in a nearby garden. This morning I saw a wren, a blue tit, a coal tit and several starlings.

This is my way of dealing with stress and with the constant pain that I have. I find being in nature such a healing experience and I always want more even though my trips to the pond are limited by my mobility. I can see that a mobility scooter might be a good idea. I did have one once and it makes a lot of difference to where you can go but you do really need a good one for rougher ground.

My downstairs neighbour looks after  the garden in front of our flats and we have discussed having a bird feeder out there hanging on one of the trees. I think this is something we need to get soon so we can feed the birds in the winter. There are many different kinds of birds in this area because of the pond area and the nearby nature reserve.. Watching the birds will also help when I get stressed.

How do you deal with stressful days? Do you get them often?

Finding the way forward

It has been another busy week with offers of things to do but the best things were the walks in the local countryside. I love being out in nature and love to see the wildlife as I go. Today was a wonderful stroll and a look at different small paths that led away from the main path. Even found a tree to hug as well.

But some of the offers of things to do this week I will have to think about. Writing my latest book has reawakened the ‘spirit’ of search if you like to call it that. I want to look at some of the topics I studied in the past and see how much they have changed. I feel the need to do more ‘spiritual’ work than I have been doing. It is as if I have been taking a break and doing lots of other work like family history and local history. Maybe the time is now right to work more on other things like healing, astrology and so on. I need to get back into a different routine but also enjoy the daily walks which really do fill me with so much pleasure. It is good to have company too especially if my companions think the same way as I do. That is a bonus!

This week is going to be chaotic as my bathroom is going to be turned into a wet room. Tomorrow is the start of the work so I will be going out on a trip to one of my favourite places, Trentham. Hopefully the trip there will help me to make more decisions about my way forward.

How do you make decisions? Do you act intuitively like I generally do? Or do you think long and hard about things first?