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Yesterday, being a much warmer day than today, I was weeding the path (in the foreground of the picture) which was madly overgrown with seedlings and white dead nettle. The wheelbarrow, heaped high, was at the end of the path and I was sitting down (I do a lot of gardening sitting down, better for my back!) and digging out persistent roots when the Blackbirds started with their alarm calls.
They are very vociferous when there is anything about they don’t like. This is usually one the stray cats that appear every so often and need chasing away to restore calm.
So..back to me sitting on the ground peering over the Spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum) (which grows in the path and I always forget to move), round the barrow and up the grass (past the heap of soil which has been there so long it’s now a grassy mound) to see if I can see the offending cat.

What I did see was magical and completely unexpected! Sorry no photo. From round the bushes at the top, skirting the edge of the grass and then skipping across the centre was a stoat! He nosed about into the edges (unweeded) and grassy holes in the ‘lawn’ (we live on clay and have mice and moles too) and was oblivious of me hidden behind the barrow. He then cut across the drive and to the lawn and gardens that side.
He probably explains all the times that I have searched for the stray cat when the Blackbirds are distraught and adamant that there is something about, even if I can’t find it! I’ve even crawled along under the hedge on the field side and sat still waiting to see the cat, but if it was this little fellow no wonder I couldn’t see him in the ivy growing under the hedge.
Now a dilemma! I am thrilled that there is a stoat about, I know we have had a weasel for some time, but this was definitely a stoat and I like to think that the garden is wild enough to support all sorts, but.. they do like bird’s eggs. Is this where my duck’s eggs went? I blamed the chickens or the jackdaws, but it is more probable that this is the culprit. Stray cats are only a danger to the birds if the nest is moderately accessible, but these lithe predators can climb just about anywhere, so may be a problem.

Picture below shows one of the peacocks just coming to see what I have in my hand – just in case it’s cake!

View across the other side of the garden where the stoat went – note the lovely bed of white dead-nettle I haven’t quite got to yet, also the wild Bryony growing through the lavender, nettles too, but one of the Judas trees looks good!

Another shot of the Judas tree – note the blue neck appearing – just in case!

Just goes to show that gardening can be entertaining and informative – and that’s without the plants!

More blog posts by honeysucklegold

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Beautiful redbud tree Honeysuckle and the peacock.

14 May, 2015


Wow! What an interesting bird. Aren't they magnificent? I have to visit the zoo to see something like that. And here I wait for blue jays. :)

14 May, 2015


could the stoat be a problem for the peahens?

14 May, 2015


What a beautiful sight, a peacock under a Judas tree -
i don't blame stoats and weasels for taking up residence in your lovely garden!

15 May, 2015


Wow you have everything by the sounds of things, I love the idea of real peacocks in the garden but something tells me my neighbours wouldn't, don't think my dogs and cats would like it either, lol....

15 May, 2015


Thank you all for your comments and taking the time to read my blog.

Klahanie - The tree is one of three that we have, all were here when we moved so I can take no credit for those, but they are lovely at this time of year.

Bathgate - They are indeed a beautiful bird, we have three boys so lots of posing and showing off with their fan tails! Sometimes to the chickens who are not impressed at all. The idea of Blue Jays however makes our selection of native birds seem a bit tame.

Lori - The stoat would be a problem to sitting peahens, but we only have boys and they go up to roost at night in the barn.

Steragram - The garden is slowly getting to be a bit closer to what I would like, but it's a bit like the Forth bridge, by the time I have actually got round to weeding the last bed there is a lovely patch of dead nettle somewhere else - still the bees love it!

Lincslass - The peacocks are indeed lovely, but very noisy sometimes. They hate any sudden noise, drop the wheelbarrow, airplanes, tractors, motor-bikes and living in the country, not far from an air-base we get plenty of the tractors and planes! The neighbours, the few we have all like to hear them, so they say when I apologise for the noise, but perhaps they are just polite? The peacocks also don't like - cats and dogs!!!

16 May, 2015


What a site it must have been to see the stoat :) It's nice to know they are living in your area.

There were two of those Judas trees in a town centre near here, but the council have just chopped them down - before they flowered ... :(

17 May, 2015


Thanks for your comment Hywel, always pleased when people take the time to read my blogs! I was pleased about the stoat, it's not very often you get to see them up close, usually just a flash as they dash across the road.
As for the Judas trees near you, I expect it's another case of fears of the blame & sue culture and the Council making sure that there is no cause! These do tend to drop branches willy-nilly, only small twiggy ones but you know how people can blow everything up out of all proportion! Sadly we will all soon be fenced off from under any tree in the park, walking on smooth concrete paths through the woods so we don't trip and not allowed near any body of water deeper than a couple of inches (even that can be dodgy!) It's sad that some people won't take responsibility for their own safety at all, perhaps we all need a bubble-wrap suit!!!

19 May, 2015


I know what you mean. Sometimes I think they are over reacting :(
Last year the council mowed the verges near here, and cut away a nice clump of wild orchids. I complained about it. They didn't block any view so why cut them.
I had a reply saying it was cheaper to mow the whole verge than to go around them !
How stupid is that ...

19 May, 2015


Oh good grief! Seeing your comments makes me realize that the litigious bunch is common here too. ....but your comment about the orchids, Hywel... how about lifting the blade of the mower for a few feet!? Probably the only excuse they could find for the stupidity. Perhaps they are missing an opportunity to hire a consultant? Boards and councils over here are famous for that!

24 May, 2015


Thanks Hywel & Lori. It does make you wonder just who is working at the Council and looking after 'our' interests! (Especially after reading one of the questions on here about replacing a Monkey Puzzle tree- you must read it, it's unbelieveable!)
I understand that here in the country the verges do need to be mown, cutting down the cow parsley when it is 4-5 feet tall does at least let you see what coming at a junction, but elsewhere it's surely just down-right ignorance or laziness. I have seen the country hedge/verge trimmers go round patches of wild flowers, so it's not rocket-science!

25 May, 2015


Yes the verges do need cutting in some places, but there's no need to mow away wild orchids.
I left a comment which seemed to annoy one member.

I had a look at the question about the tree. The only thing you can do is laugh abut that !

26 May, 2015


Honey , what a beautiful garden you have , so very close to nature too .
No wonder my humble attempt to show those peacocks in my garden was eclipsed by your lovely picture the one in yours . Are they yours , and did you bring them from the previous house with you ?
Ours are quite well known about 1/4 mile away , but it is the first time that they have made it this far . I think that they are feral .

26 May, 2015


You have a few years of enjoyment,HS,planning what to add or remove.......I just love planning projects gardenwise......My OH literally runs away when he hears the words "I've been thinking"!!!
Loved your Judas tree .......

29 May, 2015


Thanks Hywel - I didn't know whether to laugh or weep about the tree. Points for them insisting that another tree was planted, but minus-points for the suggestion. When you think what you could plant, their suggestion was ridiculous!

Driad - My garden looks lovely from a distance! Up close the grass is full of buttercups, one side not grass but taken over by wild Potentilla which I shall have to killer spray to get rid of! The beds are always full of weeds, either already taken over or just starting to grow. The drive is another story altogether - it needs new shingle, but it's full of weeds and no workman seems interested in dragging a digger bucket down it to remove them, let alone doing anything else more strenuous. Also we need more building work done which involves big machinery pounding new shingle into the ground - so one thing leads to another!
As for the peacocks, they are ours, all four noisy boys, no girls! Yours was not a humble attempt to show the peacocks, I was really impressed, they might just take up residence. Chances are that where they come from has got too many and these are looking for a new home - be prepared for noise!

Meadowland - I adore gardening, OH not at all and he is not allowed to touch anything, even I get confused sometime with "is it a weed", something to do with no labels! I don't do a lot of planning, only in my head, another bugbear of OH's, he likes to see it on paper, whereas I know what I want and if I can't quite do that, I can ammend it as I go along. I know the look of horror when you tell the OH "I was thinking" as HE gets to do any heavy work involved!

31 May, 2015


The same here HS.....heavy work is his domain.....always remember to be VERY appreciative afterwards!!! LOL.......he tells people that,if at all possible,I would be gardening at midnight!!

31 May, 2015


Beautiful garden! I never heard of a stoat... You made me do a google search... Turns out, we have them too, known as short tailed weasels. I saw a white one once, but that was a few years back. Brenda saw a small weasel come out of one of our floor heating ducts once! Never saw it again either... I figured at least they go after mice :)

15 Jun, 2015


Thanks Bowl, I love it when someone says 'beautiful garden'! The theory is there, but so are the weeds! Looks good from a distance but not quite so good closer to. I have never seen the stoat in his winter ermine coat of white, must be impressive, sad to think that these are what provides the 'ermine' for the fur of the British posh regalia of the Lords.
Not sure I would want one indoors, but as you say they would keep the mice down. We had a mouse indoors a few weeks back, OH saw it dash across the room, set a few traps, but have never seen it again - so where did it go?
As for the stoat, about midnight last night there was some terrible screaming from outside which went on and on. Eventually I did get up to see what was going on but saw nothing, so it was probably the stoat and one of the baby rabbits being caught. I shouldn't have disturbed him as if he is going to thin out the rabbits in the front garden - good on him! The rabbits eat things, dig things up and dig holes, so any less of them is great.

17 Jun, 2015

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