Stuff

From One Day To The Next

Looking for the Okçular walking and cycling guides? Then click here.

The British will tell you that the dis-United Kingdom doesn’t have a climate it has weather! Much the same seems to hold up here in the mountains where weather comes and goes with a randomness induced by these very same mountains. The locals tell us that the two ends of the lake have different weather – when it’s raining there it’s sunny here – and we are only talking a handful of kilometres.

Between the ‘weather’ we admire the beauty of the masses of wild almonds that are in bloom. They grow everywhere in the hedgerows and at the edges of fields and leave the impression that we are in the middle of a candy floss forest.

J has been beavering away on her vegetable plot adding peas, beans, potatoes, coriander, parsnips, Swiss chard, parsley and cabbage to the onions and garlic planted earlier. A new plot has been cleared and made ready for melons, tomatoes, etc. Now we just have to hope that the wild pigs don’t decide to pay a visit!

In the process of plot preparation J was delighted to find that we will have some of the amazing Rhinoceros Beetles for company. If these wonderful creatures interest you here’s a link to a post I did a couple of years ago – any bug capable of lifting the equivalent of 60 tonnes has got to be worth time. click here

I’ve been doing what I do best and using even more rocks to create steps and improve the way up to the cabin.

Finally, to tie the title to the rest of this mundane prattle, here’s the day after the storm pictured above:

‘Still Life with Trees and Lake’

Whatever you are doing, enjoy life whilst you still can. Alan Fenn

Incredible Okçular!

A Little Light Relief

. . from all the crap that is going on in the world. A reminder that there is still beauty to be found . . if we look closely enough! Taken this morning in my garden in Okçular.

Robber Flt

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Rhino Beetle – Oryctes nasicornis

I know, I should get out more often! As it happens, J and I are off to hunt for Blue Slugs in the Kaçkar Mountains in a few days – now that is something for me to get my teeth into!

Alan Fenn, soon to be somewhere else for a while!

Stuff

Habitat

harborne groundsBack in June of this year J and I were in residence for a Summer School at Fircroft College in Birmingham. Fircroft is one of those fine old houses that have extensive grounds with plenty of mature trees and shrubs – it’s a very pleasant place to be. So it was that as we wandered the gardens one day J spotted a strange-looking construction. On closer examination it proved to be a stack of wooden pallets stuffed full of all sorts of scrap building/household materials and garden waste. It had obviously been there a while as all sorts of plants had colonised it.

‘What is it?’ asked J. ‘A habitat.’ said I, knowingly. ‘I want one!’ said J. ‘Really!’ said I, filing that one away in the bottom drawer.

Izmir mimosa acacia retinodesFast forward to this past week. We used to have a rather large Acacia retinoides, known locally as İzmir Mimosa – we rather liked it! We also rather like (amongst other things) Oryctes nasicornis – the European Rhinoceros Beetle which in its turn likes İzmir Mimosa. Last year the tree began to shed bark and looked decidedly unwell and so a week or so ago I began adding to our store of winter logs. As work progressed the culprits and their handiwork became apparent . .

rhino beetles

male and female Oryctes nasicornis – the European Rhinoceros Beetle

the culprits and the crime scene

fortunately wearing gloves – the business end of a rather large scorpion that was sharing the grubs’ tunnels

As J and I stood and contemplated our own mortality where the tree once blossomed, she looked up and said, a bit too brightly for my liking, ‘This will be the perfect place for one of those habitat things!’ For someone who worries about the onset of dementia she seems to do remarkably well remembering things/projects I need to be getting on with.

A few days ago a tractor delivered five pallets and the project commenced . .

invertibrate habitat

always knew that builder’s stuff would come in useful one day

Spike the hedgehog

Spike doesn’t like being photographed

habitat hedgehog house

Spike’s basement flat

high-rise des-res coming along nicely

ever wondered what to do with those nice containers that the single malt comes in? or the little hessian bags from Şirince wine shops? or those old walking boots?

There’s still a bit of work to do to finish off, frog and toad halls, mouse and shrew holes – that said, this has been a fun project for J and me. You too could create something similar to attract all sorts of beneficial creatures to your garden – with natural habitats vanishing or being sanitised you could add your drop to the bucket of conservation. Here’s a link to download a pdf from Cheshire Wildlife Trust that will get you started.

If you are not impressed by what you’ve just seen, then in the best ‘Blue Peter’ tradition, here’s one I made earlier:

pallet habitat

. . not true! This was made by Cheshire Wildlife for a RHS garden show

Happy condo building!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

ps in case you wondered where Spike’s place actually is . .