You’ll not get many if any people that work in the countryside to agree with re-wilding. Its another one of those subjects turned into something emotive, something that its no longer so easy to get the activists to embrace the full story. I wonder if the web has aided tribalism? …. of course it has.
A myriad of life can exist in a multi-purpose landscape, goodness how difficult it would be to fight ones way through sheep walk turned to hawthorn scrub. Nor do I want to have my progress straight-jacketed into pre-cut walks and pathways. Nature and all its little participants is very clever, theres a habitat for just about everybody, barring of course the hopeful additions that we heard Chris mention yesterday, Lynx, goodness what else and oh yes he tells us bears and wolves! Oh dear, how silly. I always think it a bit corny when an army of kids are enrolled to march upon The Palace!
In a practical real-life situation it has been the fifty years of excessive drainage on upland areas that to my mind has caused great harm, eradicating the upland sponge that minimises flooding. Likewise for decades farmers were paid to eradicate old hedges. How silly and blind!
Another point that I’ve never heard anyone speak of is the universal municipal spraying at any feature of grassed pathways, ie signposts, lampposts, fencing, kerb edges, all of these are microhabitats for tiny things which in turn would be a source of food. I’m talking about the nooks and crannies that have been rendered useless, not neccessarilly a complete re-wilding as per recent experiments. Here of course I am assuming the insect count is down compared with unsprayed, I must be vigilant here, as a great byword of mine is ‘don’t assume’, which is probably the most basic and elementary understanding in any rational and scientific treatment of any subject or situation.
Good quality front gardens are in great decline, concrete slabs, block paving and gravel as standing for cars has eliminated I guess a full half of what might have been a convenient hop off point and source of food for garden birds. A decent garden much like the washing line is becoming a rare thing. Even rarer is the ability to allow leaf litter to remain, to be adding an extremely beneficial upper organic layer that returns soil to what it should be, it was never intended to be naked.
I wonder to what extent ‘nature’ is taught in schools, I know in my early 1970’s UK Secondary School it was poorly dealt with. I could do a far better job myself. If art, practical handicraft (ie wood and metalwork) have been near eradicated and music in great decline at state schools then what of nature study?
My usual hobbyhorse of diatoms is a no-fail way to get kids interested.
… these are the things we have lost that insects, bees and butterflies crave as their winter locations, our slick modernity offers them nothing. No tree is allowed to weather and decay as nature intended, offering a multitude of opportunities for new insects and molds and organisms to appear on the altered now declining tree, a home for bats perhaps; a tree or at least some trees surely must be allowed to follow its natural cycle that can offer a new feast and home to so many living things. In the liability culture and ‘tidy’ malaise that seems to be taken up by everyone from municipal gardeners to householders all must be cut down, levelled and rendered sterile, all trees young, exemplified by the dreaded ‘rowan’ of municipal planting. Likewise our habitations and structures offer next to nothing for the tinier members of the natural world.
So what do I do to counter this ignorance of ecology, this ignorance of the living world? I allow things to decline and rot, I create jumbles of prunings in quiet areas of my garden, I stack same length cut limbs and branches from small trees say eighteen or twenty four inches long topped with roofing felt and a couple of bricks at many places at the perimeter of my garden. I allow bees to take over the various nest boxes if they so wish, which reminds me I’d better get another birdbox made and installed this weekend.
Each autumn I often can find say six nests dotted around this medium size semi-urban garden and also know each nest box generally produces two clutches a year; my garden is alive with the sound of garden songbirds, all it needs is common sense and to read a little to pick up the basics, all gardens should be like mine! But how many people nowadays enjoy the contents of an instructional or non-fiction book, especially kids, so much lost!
A great thrill a few years ago was seeing the queen bee fly in her flightless workers one by one piggy back into the commandeered dry and waterproof birdbox I’d made myself, theres lots of thing I make myself, its my particular mindset and approach to life, its the way I was brought up.
For bee and insect and butterfly overwintering I sometimes wrap up bundles of umbellifer stems with string and place them in unvisited parts of wherever. I specifically allow leaf litter to remain, essential for healthy worms and soil, the latter being much more complex and beautiful than most people realise, likewise the blackbird for instance craves to turn over a mature long established leaf layer. Daily I feed birds at my own garden and the location for my list below.
A location nearby which was once a pit heap wsaste ie spoil heap, then a waste infill site is now reclaimed and wooded and since moving here thirty years ago I’ve introduced two dozen native north British species over the last twenty years plus, at 7th May 2021, this is all done to help insects and therefore bird life.
foxglove (wild collected seed)
teasel (from an old pit site a mile away)
common spotted orchid (from a nearby pit yard two miles away)
round leaved orchid (from motorway services)
avens (geum) from Beacon Hill (now being much over-exploited by greedy holiday lets)
red campion (silene) from Wooler
cowslip (from the motorway verge at the Seaham turn-off, relevant to my wife Christine)
unwittingly … thatching reed
yellow flag iris ( lots and as botanists say ‘successful’)
common polypody (ie a common fern, at the stonework of the outfall, my wifes ashes etc)
round leaved mint
sweet chestnut from seed (failed, too much shade)
wood sorrel (failed, I think doomed to failure anyway)
goatsbeard … now gone due to overzealous cutting of verges, lets collect more seed this summer etc
snowdrop seed five years ago and waiting
blue whelted thistle
knapweed (very useful for hoverflies)
marsh marigold – latest addition May 2021 – I’m sure will thrive.
my wifes ashes
So far a list of thirty items!
And I’m sure theres more but cannot recall; each of the above would be a deliberate effort with wild collected material. I shall try again with the round leaved mint, I know of a roadside location where I can obtain complete rooted material, its wonderful for bees, as is the glorious, valuable and much unappreciated knapweed. Likewise I need to get back over to the donor pit yard for the common spotted, ten years ago I had hundreds and now much dwindled to a couple of dozen. I would have thought the reclaimed / disturbed land would suit them.
All done by me and cost nowt …. no app no screen no signal !!! Its what my Dad would call ‘good with his hands’.
Summer 2020 has shown few wasps in this garden, even with a plum tree full of fruit, ie north east England. Its no use asking anyone, there will always be someone that has a wasps nest somewhere in their garden and so hence to them there is no decline. I never knew I would lament the lack of wasps.
Anyway, heres a link below to the stark and obvious fact of insect decline.
I also wonder if theres a similar decline to the inhabitants at soil level and beneath, these being utterly vital to soil health and fertility. What a web we have weaved with our endless desire to be modern progressive and productive. I’m seeing far fewer in fact hardly any owls this year 2020 and fear birdsong has diminished; I’m a country lover and have spent many decades enjoying nature, I’ve a little bit of an idea what I’m talking about. My own garden has been described as a haven, including its variety and general jumble of intersting perennials, I garden deliberately to create locations for insects, small mammals and those desiring to over-winter safely or at least with a chance of survival. My neighbours are hopeless. No longer can we see open work dry stone walls in our semi or urban environment, all the nooks and crannies have been eradicated either by excessive modern design (housing and environment) and the eradication altogether of a nature friendly environment by means of concrete, paving, gravel or tarmac. Just to set seal with the modern onslaught on living things, that insects and invertebrates cannot survive the Local Authority (Council – call it what you will)… zealously spray weedkiller at the base of any and all fenceposts, telegraph poles, margins of concrete and tarmac, all are a valuable niche habitat. Out local ‘nature reserve’ / pit heap now has total width mowed access tracks where once wormwood, snapdragon and various umbellifers, wild carrot etc thrived. Now, I do not see any bees, diptera, butterflies, hoverflies etc.
I am afraid I do not share David Attenboroughs optimism.
On the brighter side I’ve now turned my microscope toward the tiny gnats and midges that end up on my windowsills, the wonders, complexity and sheer beauty are indeed worth beholding, for instance the irridesence of the wings of a gnat, I so far haven’t tried to identify species, one of the few areas of knowledge I do not have at least one book available somewhere in this house…. NO… I recall I do indeed have at least say five or six atlases or compendiums that may reveal some classification of flying things that only a microscope can fully reveal. Another microscopic revelation is the head of a crane fly ie ‘daddy long legs’ ….. bizzare and fascinating!
Its my personal opinion chemtrail aluminium may play a part in all this insect and invertebrate loss, already we read of alzheimers in bees. Also we need to fast track the too long wait for peer reviewed papers, for the latest data and analysis, for news from experienced hands, we haven’t the time, I’ve said this for years.
Bee decline 5th Sept 2020. Again these last few days the sad spectacle of bees clinging mostly immobile to flowering shrubs after a wet night or moderate rain shower is baffling to me, sodden black lumps that i doubt can recover.
I’m no expert but what is stopping foraging bees from reading the forthcoming weather / impending rain and not seeking safety? Its horrendous to see them moving so slowly, clinging on but signs of life hardly there. I need to know more of this but theres next to nothing online, so perhaps a beekeepers association will help me.
Last night at a favourite place here in North East England I was able to get out onto one of my unfortunately less regular opportunities to take a walk and a beautiful patch of round leaved mint I’ve known for near three decades had the same situation of stranded obviously unwell bees clinging, luckily this time sort of dry-ish and not sodden to black as seen on the Balotta (only light rain shower say an hour previous) one flower stem having three stranded bees all within an inch of one another. I note also I could not see any pollen sacs, as is often the case lately, as if they are not collecting anything. I noticed the same at a local reclaimed landfill / nature reserve nearby, a place I’ve introduced two dozen north British plant species, busy bees in bright sunshine but no pollen sacs, is there nothing for them to collect (or unable to collect) on a thirty yard patch of flowering heather?
A cutting from my aunties Balotta psuedodictamnus of thirty years ago thrives here and each late summer attracts lots of bees and suchlike, a valuable fill in. Again the other morning stranded immobile bees, seemingly alive … but just ! Certainly theres less hoverflies and less butterflies this summer.
What are the reasons for my seeing these poor bedraggled specimens, I’m sure I’ve not seen anything like it before ? I’ve read already a couple of years ago that beekeepers are having to add supplementary feed to their hives each winter, adding more than they used to. People seem reluctant to realise all these downturs and the dreaded two or more like three year peer review for scientific papers is far too slow in this age of terminal decline, amazingly my words were echoed on bbc r4 a few weeks ago that climate change scientific papers and reports need to be fast tracked.
See my previous post on the same subject ie bee decline.
I wonder of chemtrail aluminium and the probable to highly likely dementia connection, one can find online the possibility of such a problem being discussed, bees and chemtrail aluminium and dementia. With less air traffic there are far fewer chemtrails these last few months but for instance yesterday was an obvious ‘aluminized sky’ (my term) drifting in and well concealed as when viewed on NASA Worldview; last Monday 31 August (a UK Bank Holiday) the chemtrails were numerous and obvious persisting throughout the day, slackening mid afternoon, at least obvious if your mind is open to these things and not blinkered and brainwashed by general media. www.Flightradar24.com allowed me to log the flights, even to predict approaching flights with a high chance of success as leaving a chemtrail streak in the sky THAT IS NOT JUST A CONDENSATION TRAIL. Note contrails last only a minute, the dreaded chemtrails linger, drift causing haze and at extremes v definitely alter the cloudscape. These are observable facts. For instance here in NE England listed below (not a complete list) most were from Germany heading stateside, for instance flight KLM641 Amsterdam to NY; flight .
Chemtrails observable overhead morning of Monday Bank Holiday 31 August 2020, NE England in order of appearance:-
0750 UTC flight SK539,
0820 UTC flight DLH9LY,
1009 UTC flight KLM31,
DLH430 (Frankfurt to Chicago) i need to check,
AAL71 (Frankfurt to Dallas) i need to check,
1019 UTC DLH456,
wow ….. 1202 UTC KLM641,
another v obvious chemtrail 1300UTC flight UA988
The above only a brief observation whilst I have other things to do. I shall check each Monday and see if this is a regular routine. In my thirty months of chemtrail observation I have been vigilant to see routine and regularity to this unrequested chemtrail activity.
I never speak to anyone about chemtrails now, the type of person that refutes my observations has probably never had an original idea in their entire lives (I’ve had many) never given the subject any direct consideration and yet theres a kneejerk ‘they know better’ !!!
cov19 has some good to it in that carbon producing personal mobility has undergone a serious rethink and definite alteration in peoples mindset and practices, this is exactly what we need and i think this would have been the only way this could have been implemented.
cov19 here in the UK has been poorly handled, the disjoint twixt governemt pronouncements on testing and the inefficient reality is abysmal. The Boris Johnson / Cummings comedy act was a disaster from the start, Cummings has propelled himself by hoodwinking and clever nonsense to a position way beyond his abilities, universally hated, he is a quite nasty piece of work.
What with trump over in the States and the lamentable Johnson / Cummings gruesome comedy act and cov 19 and the forthcoming Brexit shambles (ask any Nissan worker at Sunderland) anyone exporter or importer (ie better stock up on tinned food)… plus the really not impressive performance of Rishi Sumac a man much complimented but in reality too young, too inexperienced and really nothing to demonstrate any particular ability … all things add up to one hell of a dire winter waiting ahead for us all. Economically we have been held back far too much.
One big important point hardly anyone mentions is how CRUDE the cov 19 statistics really are. Its all lumped together as one ill-defined mas, yes there are deaths but overwhelmingly a big proportion are those in the twilight of their years that no way could they ever could fight the cov19 virus, it would be sad to see them in the struggle, the ventilator etc. Sadly their death inevitable. But why should these frail folk God bless ’em weigh down the stats and make the UK cripple itself willingly, shoot itself in the foot. Theres probably more citizens die on the roads yet we still go driving. BBC r4 in their excellent ‘More or less’ radio programme with Tim Harford has done as always excellent work on unravelling government stats and spin. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qshd
Witness the fiasco of the official start this week of HS2 Midlands rail link, if ever a pointless project it is HS2, again there needs to be a rethink, the cost of it and a now altered travel pattern for everyone. The misery this has already caused now has no justification that we are a cov19 society. Increasingly with the worlds business and encounters are digital, what are the mysterious goods that the Government thinks it will need transported along HS2 ? Existing infrastructure I’m sure could withstand a few more carriages if need be.
Rambling today yes, but theres too much going wrong at once that i can not let go unmentioned.
To tie up this post here luckily NASA Worldview has captured some of the mornings chemtrail shenanigans, my guess is that data is collected mid / late morning perhaps noon and here on my computer we can access NE England from say 2pm. The lines are chemtrail, it is not contrail and will grow / expand and add we are told aluminium, barium and strontium to what we breath and what is deposited on the earth; remember that fine particle aluminium is an incendiary, my guess as to why California burned / burns the way it does …. they have had this for years. The trajectory matches the aircraft and flightpath as found from http://www.flightradar24 and direct observation of the skies above.
….. how do we now add pics and files with this crappy new ‘editor’ format ?
This new ‘block’ obsession by WP at first glance is utter garbage, is trash, overcomplicated nonsense; but luckily a day later I’ve been able to post an image so as long as i can do this its sufficient for me. Next problem is trying to find how I can access my library of pics already here at WP. I must admit wanting $220 for a years return to ‘Classic Editor’ is lunacy.
And the day previous, as what I’m starting to call ‘chemday Mondays from Europe’ there is as per last week evidence of chemtrails over North Sea, Holland and Germany to eastern England. ie 7th Sept 2020 and the link is … https://go.nasa.gov/3jYs5Fc
Clicking the above link you will also see chemtrail further west along the English Channel.
Most days you can find chemtrail somewhere around Europe or the UK. Be warned NASA Worldview is only a snapshot for late morning / lunchtime and probably in my opinion only provides a one third chance of finding chemtrail by this means.
… cleaner skies will mean more immediate climate heating, oh dear. And my previous post and link for Sam Carana ie Arctic news blogspot focus on the huge release of methane from what looks to be an earthquake in the Arctic. Yuck.
Driving thro my nearby town tonight (NE UK) was a trifle upsetting considering how we still mingle for shopping and for instance many small businesses such as car repair seem to still have human interactions; I cannot help but feel pub and restaurant closure ie trifling but valuable human interactions will create a whole bundle of frustrations and eventual anger. I’m okay, I pretty well live the exact social distancing lifestyle that the Government would so wish us all to pursue, but I’m not sure the average person would wish to live as I do. In fact I know they would not and could not.
Boris has promised vast amounts of citizen wage aid, but be warned he will want his price ie stringent shutdowns as and when he thinks fit.
My heart bleeds for front-line Doctors and nurses … despite the pure lies and blindness of Government Press Briefings … we hear several times over each day from NHS frontline workers that the correct PPE is not present and is pathetically unsuitable, short of the decent minimum.
And where is TEST-TEST-TEST which we were implored to pursue? Its a bit like UK ‘Foot and Mouth’ in that all the hard lessons learnt from the experience of 1969 were ignored thirty years later.
A term seemingly forgotten is bio-security, quite handy actually, its what we all should aim for. Something else we should aim for is NOT to excessively stockpile, methinks there will be much waste, lots ending up in the bin, after all … its difficult to get excited at the prospect of yet more pasta based meals. Luckily I’ve started to get into Indian and Pakistani cooking, I’ve a couple of excellent charity shop books here and once you are ‘tooled up’ ie have the necessary herbs and spices you are able to create so much beautiful taste and often without using meat of any form. Heres so far my rock-bottom must have …..
mustard seed and fennel seed.
cumin seed with hot fried sweet potato ‘twiglet sized’ pieces.
try supermarket jars of Indian sauce (try Saag Masala) … you can use red onion, leek and broccoli for an instant meal. Garam masala is part of the toolkit as well as additional coconut milk. I also make my own chapati and Peshwari nan … all v quick and simple.
Besan flour too can make a simple bhaji or vegan burger which is wonderful with say an onion chutney.
I also use Ajiwan seed in my trad brit suet crust or for my nan bread mix.
I also enjoy a sea food pilaf (ie white wine, smoked haddock, mussels, chicken, rice, chicken stock).
a beef skirt casserole with chopped parsnip and carrot for flavour, don’t forget a couple of cloves, also Kalo beef stock ie low salt.
as a treat, crushed chilled raspberry with carnation, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg.
try to add fresh garlic and ginger wherever possible, fresh diced fig also fine chopped red onion, leek, spring onion; fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. This is all as can be termed ‘Natures Medicine Chest’.
I don’t know if some words were altered and even the original Daily Telegraph copy leaves something to be desired in how it reports the impending possible/ probable loss of a great variety of horticultural material, ie bred named forms, diversity, varieties treasured, things kept going for generations, the product of clever hands and minds. In other words anything that is produced for a ‘mass market’ seems to be squeezing other more knowledgable specialist approaches. I found the article via MSN and clicked to the Telegraph original. It certainly could be better worded, to be clearer, to make the point far better; the loss of specialist growers and the lack of younger people to take on such a precarious business with often a low financial reward. Reads as if the writer possibly had no real understanding of the subject.
What they really meant is the nationwide network of SPECIALIST ENTHUSIAST plant nurseries is declining. The prospective not particulary knowledgeable or even totally unknowledgeable customer finds it easier to go to the big commercial garden centres where its often bought-in and all designed to sell and sell quickly. I can appreciate that position. That is good news in avoiding pot bound con-jobs, worst case recently was my unknowingly bought a £30 shrub from an unknowledgable so-called garden centre (non-specialist) ie a buyer-in of all material only to find half of the lower pot bound rootball sliced off to leave a disc four inches thick in a eight inch deep pot!
In other words the specialist growers are finding both that no-one wants to follow on after them and fewer people nowadays hunt out their specialist plants, that the general non-specialist garden centre ie plastic furniture, ornaments, novelties are one-stop shopping centre for most ordinary occasional gardeners; plants and shrubs are dealt with as if any other bought-in product. Like it or not we live in the here and now.
Its called the pushing aside of ‘knowledge and experience’ … things that if not presented or primarily existing within the screen are seemingly irrelevant to much of the population. Its not only the young apparently middle aged folk also seem bewitched by online activity.
I’ve said this for years, the ability to work with soil, to nurture, to create a worthwhile and ‘intelligent garden’ are quite rare and increasingly rare. An interesting illustration is my patch of the English lake District where its very difficult to find a small scale garden that instills any sense of depth or age, everywhere everything is never older than a decade. ie retirement then infirmity scupper what can be achieved over decades as the garden, the plot itself determines the winners and losers.
postscript: its hard to get the point across of basic soil husbandry with many people, ie how to garden. Each autumn I treasure the leaf fall as nourishment for the myriad soil inhabitants, worms, algae, mold, bacteria and its also an insulating blanket for the impending winter cold. Note bulbs by the end of September already are showing significant underground development, in waiting for the spring push. Likewise buds on trees by the September are set and waiting for the Spring dash! Yet so many unwitting households adore their silly garden vacuums and love to hoover away all that is set by nature to help them! And yes I’m aware of excessive leaf fall and the possible plague of midges, point taken. The so called ‘garden compost’ so beloved of the bbc r4 GQT I am most sceptical of, its not inherent in any truly natural system of organic soil development, can throttle off self sown seedlings in the established flower garden, is much over-rated in fact, most certainly it will kill off all your crocus! I build my compost heaps for the mice. I remember a customer trying to loosen up a v heavy clay soil with annual mulches of sand … my suggestion of a top dressing of FYM to aid worm and soil life development went totally unheeded. She had no realisation of Nature and nurture, establishing the right framework to aid her little assistants underground, yet lift up any lump of FYM and the life is teeming from under.