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" Squirrels and Raised Beds "

Date & start time:      9 - 12th April 2020.

Location of Start :     By the red phone box, Loweswater, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited :          The garden, the valley and the Lake.

Walk details :              Relaxing walks so we're not measuring them !

Highest point :           Seeing specific wildlife for the first time in a long time.

Walked with :              Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                    Changeable, sunny and overcast, often different every few hours.

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The weather here has been better than for friends "up north" but not as good as for family "down south".

There has been some lovely sunny weather but often tinged with either high cloud or a cool breeze to take the edge off the temperature.

Still it's dry and I've had lots of chance to get out into the garden in addition to daily dog walks.

With all activity that does that mean I've exceeded my daily allowance of exercise ?

Perhaps that's why I feel tired at the end of the day !

On Friday I noticed movement in the Ash tree.
Brilliant . . . the return of a red squirrel to the garden.

The auto focus couldn't cope with the branches and he wouldn't stay still long enough to manually focus.

Scampering up the tree, hind legs tucked up for another leap.
Clearly a red despite the blur.

This must be a visiting red as we've not seen one in the garden on a regular basis since 2018.

We didn't see him but he returned the following day as I noticed two opened hazel nuts on the bird feeder . . . that's got to be a good sign.

- - - o o o - - -

In the garden . . .

New spinach plants in the octagonal bed.
Rhubarb is growing well but will appreciate water soon.
Dougal inspects the raspberry bushes.
Shop-bought cauliflower are now big enough to plant out.
Potatoes in pots . . . no digging, hopefully a meal in each pot.

- - - o o o - - -

Saturday the weather in the afternoon was stunning and Ann and I headed off for the lake via the 'stone field'.

Dylan first up onto the rock in the field above High Park.

Doubly golden in the afternoon sun.

There's a lovely view from here . . . we could sit and day dream for hours.

I've mentioned them before, but these cup marks on the rock are really standing out in the low afternoon sunshine.

They are thought to be simple versions of the neolithic "cup and ring" marks which dates these indentations to 5000 years ago

when early man was sitting on the rock and or finding time to sharpen spears or just daydream too.

[ No-one can really explain their purpose . . . but that theory is as accurate as any I've heard.]

- - - o o o - - -

Crummock Water looking south

across the lake to Rannerdale Knotts,

High Stile, Haystacks and Gable.


The sky is beautifully clear

and the clear shallow water allows

a view of the stones beneath.



- - - o o o - - -

A second golden moment as we pass the deep yellow daffodils at Muncaster House.

- - - o o o - - -

Saturday and Sunday I seem to have spent a lot of time in the greenhouse.

Various bought-in plants are growing well, the other pots are seed that are freshly sown by myself.

The "next tray" of spinach has just started to sprout.

Up till now the greenhouse has been set out with staging . . .
. . . which means it is easy to lay out seed trays.

I decided that I would like to build an internal raised bed with earth, replacing growing tomatoes in pots with growing them in the soil.

It would also allow me to inter-plant with salads and, being under glass, we should get a better crop plus an extended growing season.

First clear the decks and build a wall of timber.
Empty a compost heap into the base
plant tomatoes and lettuce . . . job done.

It looks easy when you see it in three photos.

It took a day to clear the space, cut and fit the timber, line it with cut recycled plastic sacks as a damp proofing and drop in a few bags of autumn leaves.

Day two saw multiple wheelbarrows of compost, last year's grass mulch, some ex-mole hills from the fields and finally a few bags of fresh compost

in order to bring the level up to the mark . . . planting the veg was a  real relaxation after that !

By the end of the afternoon on Monday, the sun had gone in for our walk
. . . making photos of primrose and blackthorn a little subdued.
In the evening we had baked potatoes with cottage cheese . . .
. . . someone wanted to lick out the empty pot !

- - - o o o - - -

At this time of self-isolation and social distancing

a lot of folk, including us, have been talking to family and friends

using programs like Skype and Zoom for conference calls.


This Easter cartoon was sent by one of my family

just after we had all met up on a five way internet link up.

It sounded vaguely familiar.

- - - o o o - - -

Ann and I are delighted when you share your thoughts and photos . . .


Hi Roger and Ann.

I never thought I would see our Dawlish as a ghost town, few people and very little traffic and on a Good Friday.

We have been in self isolation for 34 days and only go for a walk after 2300 when most folk are in bed. Missing being in the Lakes at this moment in time we should have been moving from Dockray Meadow Caravan Club site to Borrowdale for the next 21 days.

Hopefully we will be able to visit later in the year.

Dawlish seafront and railway station . . . that's the English Channel beyond.

Dawlish Water as it passes the Lawns.

Thought I would share this poem (below) with you, it was posted on a local forum here in Dawlish.

Many thanks Ann and Roger for all the great pics and please keep yourselves safe.  

Steve & Michelle Dawlish, Devon.

- - - o o o - - -

Hi Roger and Ann. Really enjoying reading your local walks. Since moving from Frizington to Mawbray on the Solway Coast in Jan 2018 we've been back a few times to the Kirkstile Inn and Lanthwaite Woods. Seeing the photos brings back both happy and sad memories. We used to walk our 2 Border Terriers several times a week in the Woods. We lost Bracken in Oct 2018 aged 14 but still have Mac who is just 15 and nearly blind, but he still enjoys half hour flat walks.

I've nearly finished my 3rd round on Wainwrights (only 39 to go), so hope to do some more later on this year.
Kind regards, Hugh & Sue Templeman

- - - o o o - - -


Sure missing not being over in the Lake District due to the covid problem. Who knows how long this situation will go but at least I can look at your website.

So here in British Columbia, it is easier to move around the country with not as may restrictions on travel, so not far from my house there are bighorn sheep, just the ewes and lambs, the big males with the big horns are up in the higher hills.

Anyway, here is a picture of a ewe with its lamb, part of a group of 20 or 30 sheep. The lambs are almost as big as the adult sheep now and because the new grass is starting to push up we have more food for the flock.

Hoping to be over as soon as possible.
Dave Whalley, Oliver, British Columbia.

Hello Ann and Roger.

Your many wonderful posts since quarantine began have been so welcome. How you can manage to make every photo fresh and interesting (in spite of the views not being new to you) is amazing. As I'm sure you have learned by now, the lovely little flower Roger thought might be Scilla siberica is in fact Chinodoxera lucilea. I have a few of them in my yard, but in my extreme hot/cold climate, they don't spread as readily here as scilla. I love that intense, true blue. Right now,

I'm trying to beat the predicted rain/snow to get some lily beds cleaned you know the wonderful bob Dylan song "Everything Is Broken" ? Gonna make it the theme song of my farm :-)

Hugs all around, including to the doggies. Margaret H, (Wisconsin).

- - - o o o - - -

Dear Roger. Thanks for your message and I’m pleased you were able to include the photos I sent.

Yesterday I managed to do a local walk alongside the Malton to Castle Howard road and then on Broughton Lane, a green lane linking the Castle Howard Road and the village of Broughton. Here are a few photos including one of the gallops at Musley Bank training facilities.

I’m sure your idea to construct a raised bed will be successful. Early in the season I normally place frames within my raised beds in the garden. Covered with glass it’s a great way of obtaining early crops and giving seeds such as carrots a good start. We are eating lettuce leaves already. Some of my tomato plants are almost ready to be transferred to 7” pots and I believe I’m about two weeks earlier this year than normal.

All the best to you and Ann. Chris & Linda (Malton, Yorkshire).

This makes interesting viewing at this time.

John Grayson.



Click here or on the picture to run the short video.

[ It should open up in a separate window.]


My thanks to John and everyone . . . RmH


- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . some serious thinking by the next Climate Change Summit delegates.

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Previous walk - 6 / 8th April 2020 - Local and the Millennium Plaque

A previous time up here - 4th August - Return of the Squirrel

Next walk - 13 / 14th April 2020 - The Boathouse and the Cutter