Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Damp Tuesday

We had a very nice weekend, and I took a much deserved break from my craft work.  We went to a garden centre with the intention of buying a new bird feeder.  Last year I had the most beautiful one, made from natural materials, and hung fat balls, monkey nuts and peanuts on it.  It's the first time I've ever had a bird feeder, and I loved seeing the birdies at first.  But it didn't take long for the big crows and worse still, pigeons to dominate it.  I had pigeon poop everywhere.  Yuk!  It was a daily task, cleaning up all the debris from monkey nut shells, and bird droppings off my balcony.  (We live in an apartment, but I call it my 'house' usually, as it's actually larger than most houses anyway).  It just goes to show, that even apartment living, you can enjoy a bit of nature in your backyard (or balcony!).  As we have a budgie, call me daft if you wish, but I was actually concerned about potentially spreading diseases to him, if I went out there and brought nasties in on my feet.  Within an hour or two of cleaning it each morning, it would be back to square one again.  It was a never ending task.  When the summer weather arrived, we switched the bird house for a hanging fuchsia, but now winter is on it's way I want to feed the birds again.  It got to the point that some days there would be three or four pigeons lined up on our balcony railing waiting to get their daily fix of monkey nuts.  They were queuing up for it!  On the few occasions I did see a little sparrow or blue tit, they'd soon get chased off, so the birds I was wanting and hoping to feed were being bullied away by the ones that need it least.

So, we went to the garden centre with an exact item in mind, a bird feeder that will only allow the small birds in.  We bought one.  It's not exactly pretty, unlike our original one, but I think (and hope!) it will do the job.  It's just a plastic tube which you fill with food, and two tiny holes with perches beneath them.....and surrounded by a metal cage type thing, just big enough for the small birds to squeeze through.

I'm sure I'm not the only nature lover, so I doubt I'm the only person to have encountered a pigeon problem in trying to do a good deed for our little feathered friends.  So if this new feeder does the job, I'll be sure to update and let you all know!  So far, I have seen one bird checking it out, but he flew off without actually eating.  He did go inside, so I suppose they have to learn how and where to get the food out.  I know pigeons and crows need food too, but there's usually no shortage of them in towns, picking up whatever people drop.  The small bird species really seem to be disappearing.  I do see more of them here than in England though.  As a child, the sparrow was one of the most common birds, but I can't remember the last time I saw one in the UK.  Blue tits were quite a rarity, but I do see them quite a bit here.  Magpies are extremely common here.  Magpies, crows and of course pigeons.  The Dutch aren't superstitious about magpies, which is a good job with the number of them about, I suppose!  I still find myself looking around to see a second one after spotting a lone one though, and I'm not superstitious, it's just habit.  Most of my friends would go into almost a meltdown after seeing a lone magpie, so in time it rubbed off on me, that I started looking for another one.  Silly, eh?!

Of course, we didn't only come away with a bird feeder......they already had some Christmas decorations in stock!!!  I'm like a big kid at Christmas, I just love it!  I had for quite a few years a 5 ft tree, yes I use an artificial tree (no shame!), because I don't have the patience to hoover up pine needles every day, and don't want my dog getting them stuck in his paws etc.  Plus real ones either cost a fortune or look bare and straggly.  My tree was never that good even when I bought it, but I couldn't justify using it once and then throwing it out, so I made do for a few years.  Last year, Theo and I just happened to be visiting one of our favourite garden centres after Christmas, and they were selling off all their trees and decorations quite cheaply.  So being frugal that we both are, I was eyeing up this beauty of a 7 ft tree.  We couldn't just buy a new tree though, as we'd need more decorations to put on it, another set of lights (finding twinkling lights here in Dutchieland, well, you might as well be looking for gold dust, they're that rare)....and perhaps a change of colour scheme too.....so we bought the whole shebang!  So our tree for this year has not even been used, but this last weekend we did manage to add to our decorations.  We also have a rather large winter village scene, and a beautiful traditional garland, some Yankee candle ornament sets, some handmade (not by me) polymer clay Christmas teddy ornaments, and of course my own handmade decorations.  But you can never have too much, right?!  At least, I don't think so.....so we bought more.  To think we only went out to buy a bird feeder!

I'm working on a phone sock for Theo at the moment.  It seems all my daftness is rubbing off on him, in that he's starting to realise that not everything needs to be shop bought.  Some things can be handmade, and are much nicer.  When I mentioned making a phone sock for his new man gadget, however, he looked a bit mortified.....crochet.....for my brand spanking new, shiny Samsung thingamajig?  No!  I don't want girly crochet, flowers, sparkles, sequins or whatever other nasties you have in mind......but he's come round to the idea now!  I am under very strict instructions though, in that I can do whatever I want, except 'no pink', 'no sparkly stuff', 'no flowers' and 'nothing else girly'.  That is somewhat restricting!  I can deal with the 'no pink' part (just), but no sparkly stuff???  That's pushing it!  I actually made one, but hadn't sewn it together, and decided I didn't like it, so I'm on version two now.  There were no complaints from Theo, oddly enough, he seemed quite pleased I hadn't girlified it!  But I wasn't happy with it, so I'm starting again.  Although rather basic, once complete, I'll write up the pattern.....I'm just making it up as I go along, but it might help somebody new to crochet out there.  Plus, it makes me feel good sharing, as I've helped myself to enough 'free' patterns in the past (only for personal use), including pretty stitches right through to entire jumper patterns, so if I can help others, I enjoy doing so, and giving a little back.

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