Tag Archives: Nature

Horse manure as fertiliser

We finally got our allotment after what must have been a 2 years queue. This is how the allotment area looks like (not how our plot of land looks like though 🙁 at least not yet). We would certainly like our plot to look somewhat like that, but it will almost certainly requre a lot of work. Now that the little one is coming out quite soon, I really wonder if we can keep the land at a respectable state!Anyway I went to a stable where my colleague keeps his pony and horse to collect some horse manure as fertiliser for our allotment yesterday. Apparently the horse manure is cleared out together with the horse bedding everyday. My colleague is currently changing the bedding twice everyday! Because his horse has strained one of her muscles or tendons. Really high maintenance to keep a horse is it not? Which in a way makes me a little more committed to do well on the allotment. As surely I can afford to spare some time for the allotment as well?Fortunately the bedding my colleague use for his animals is made up of straws and hays. Because if sawdust or wood shavings are used instead, the manure and bedding mixture is not going to be suitable for use as fertiliser directly. Whilst the horse manure is good to use as fertiliser, the sawdust or wood shavings are not crop friendly. Apparently when wood breaks down in the soil a nitrogen deficiency occurs, which stunts the growth of crops. There are ways to combat this, like adding nitrogen fertiliser. But we obviously are not interested in such extra activities :)Bags of “black gold” that look almost like soil were dug from the bottom of the manure and hay “mountain” yesterday. Very satisfied. Will work on the allotment in anger from next week once we get our car this coming Tuesday!

Feeding the tame Robin, on video!

Finally recorded down the tame Robin on video. Quality is a bit poor, I know, as I only have a mobile phone that can record video 🙁 Initially the Robin didn’t want to feed from my hand, which you’ll probably notice, my chasing hand 🙂 It was too busy looking at the tub of meal worms which was located just below my feeding hand. Bad idea. In fact it actually flew to the tub, rather than to my hand! But nevertheless, it finally feeds from my hand! Hurray!

Finally tamed the Robin

Tame Robin

After more than a month of patience, the Robin is finally tamed! It feeds off W’s hand, and my friend’s hand too, but not mine! How annoying! W rightly predicted that it will feed off her hand today, as it is very cold today, and naturally the Robin will want more food. BTW we are going to see heavy snow fall over the next few days. Very unusual weather. I hope it’s not going to disrupt our travel plans too much tomorrow though *finger crossed*

Coffee grounds keep slugs and snails away?

Got two bags of coffee grounds for free from Starbucks to be used as organic fertiliser for my garden. But apparently they are also good for keeping slugs and snails away from plants, according to that branch of Starbucks. Brilliant, if that is true, as the bloody slugs in my garden have devoured quite a few of the Marigold plants we planted this Spring already. I have tried using beer to attract slugs into a trap with good effect a couple of weeks ago. But looks like the slugs are coming back with a vengeance once again. Really annoying. Weather has not been good already recently, has been raining for most part of the week, hence have not been able to keep a hawk eye on my plants. Looks like I’ll have to get some beers again, ho ho ho.An interesting observation when I cycled home recently. Saw quite a few snails crossing the cycle path after rain on a few occasions. Fair enough, snails prefer to crawl on wet surface. But makes me wonder why they bother to cross, to the opposite side which in my opinion is essentially the same. Furthermore, it’s a “long” way for them, and it’s dangerous! 🙂

More Robin photos

These are photos taken two days ago when the lighting conditions were better. Roger had been very cooperative, posing for me to do the photoshoot for more than a quarter of an hour 🙂 This was of course because I had not given him all the food he was hoping for in one go. He’s a clever bird. He knows that I will give out food and so had patiently waited for me, while tidying his feather at the same time. A very cheeky bird indeed.

RobinOriginally uploaded by arctanck


Great day out bird watching

It was a great day on Saturday. Weather was good, and we spotted many birds along our walk to Burghfield. Even the Robin knew that we’d have a good day and told us about the good news via our friend J (well it is a little joke between P and J that she knows how to intepret a Robin’s message :)) Here’s the list of birds I reported on the Berksbird website. One of the highlights was spotting a Grey Heron attacking a big fish and then later swallowing the fish. The fish was so big that we could see a kink in his neck! Fascinating. Another highlight was spotting a Kingfisher flying past us at close quarter. P suspects that the Kingfisher has a nest nearby, as he later showed us some Kingfisher nesting holes on the bank of the river where he spotted Kingfishers in the past. All in all a very fruitful day.

Robin’s breeding hotspot

It’s the third time in two years Robin has been nesting in our area. The first time was in my backyard. The following two times were in my neighbour’s. The reason we managed to tame the Robin quite easily last time was because he needed a lot of food to feed his young, as I later found out. This year we even manage to hand feed the Robin using dried meal worms.This morning it’s the first time we saw one of the young Robin. Looks literally like a ball, even bigger in size than his parents! Maybe because the parents have been working out a lot fetching food for them lately. They seem to keep flying in and out of my backyard all the time throughout the day. In my view their work rate is just as amazing as the bees. Even such small creatures can demonstrate loving kindness. Isn’t it fascinating?Looks like all of them will be leaving the nest anytime soon, as I think the young Robins are learning how to fly now. Hope they will have their next brood here as well, as they can have multiple broods in one year.

Thoughts about my travel business

I’m really pleased to receive the positive feedbacks on the website for my small travel business venture to Malaysia. They mean a lot to me, as I have spent just so much time on the website. I don’t claim to have created the website from scratch, but it is so much work to get the website to look the way I want. It is such a relief to know that these effort has not gone wasted.I think the content for the website is quite important. I remember when I initially showed to some people their remarks were just so so only. After working on the content, it seems that people are now starting to appreciate the business we are working on. I guess the passion and confidence in my own business does help too. And I genuinely believe that tourism is the best way forward for Borneo if we want to keep the rainforest and the biodiversity there. You probably have no idea that there are many people out there who want to turn these forest into oil palm plantation for biodiesel. In fact one of my close friends has some land in Sabah that has just been turned into an oil palm plantation recently! It was an act my friend is not particularly proud of, even though the land he bought used to be secondary forest, rather than primary. Bio-fuel cannot be a direct replacement of natural fuel source. People really should conciously cut down energy wastage. There’s no excuse for not doing that and people should be ridiculed for being ignorant. People need to start realising the consequences of their actions.Circumstances change from time to time. What was acceptable years ago is now frowned upon. Seems a bit strange sometimes but nothing new. Guess we just need to keep updating ourselves so that what we now know as mistakes are not repeated again.

Going green, is it worth it?

I am reading the New Scientist magazine and there are yet several more articles on climate change. One of the article raised the question that most of us would probably have considered at one point. Does it make a difference whether I walk or drive? Or if I leave my tv and computers on standby rather than unplugging the power? Or if I just “forgot” to recycle? The conclusion, as you might guess, is: of course it does!It may not be significant if one person does it, but if everyone else does, then it would make an enormous contribution towards reducing our carbon footprint. Of course the obstacle is to persuade everyone to change their habits. If only everyone can do their bit and help, then this would probably be the most significant contribution you can make to the society and the future generations.

Ladybird

These days Robin is not coming over for mealworms as frequently as before, when he has his children to feed. It’s likely that he’s not short of food now that it is summer (I think) with plenty of insects around.Talking about insects, we recently bought three berries plants, Holly, Raspberry and Blackcurrant, to help boost our garden as a “prime” destination for birds to come visit for food. In fact we have also put up an open fronted nestbox to tempt robins to come nest in our backyard. Anyway, holes are appearing on the leaves of the Blackcurrant tree. After some searching on the Internet I gather that it is aphid that is doing the damage. Remembering from watching Springwatch that ladybird can help control this pest, think I’m going to add a ladybird log tower to my backyard as well. It is indeed fascinating to know that I can grow my own ladybird. Or you can even buy adult ladybirds to put into the log tower! 25 for the price �20, anyone 🙂 And they are not guaranteed to live in the shelter you provide!