Four stings and a dunking

The dunking ground  | lush vs grazed!
The dunking ground | lush vs grazed!

The field on the other side of the little stream is owned by the parish, and at the moment is let and playing host to five ponies who have flattened and pretty much eaten everything on this one poor acre in the last five weeks. The fence on their side is shoddy and in a bad state of repair so they are eyeing up the garden rather too enthusiastically.

Last weekend I  noticed that the filly, who likes standing in and on things (very good in empty water troughs until she gets her legs in a muddle), was standing on the now downed wire so might get caught up and hurt herself, as well as the others taking it into their pony heads to try some sort of hop across the stream.

Plan A:  I waded into the stream in wellies with a lump hammer in hand from a bit further down where it’s got easy access, intending to try and crawl out up the bank and right the post as much as I could. The post point on the stream turned out to be somewhat deeper with thick gloopy sucky boot mud and water overtopped my boots.

To Plan B:  Create a bridge. We’ve got lots of demolition stuff around. I didn’t want to balance on two planks, so decided on one piece of chipboard. Apparently I had been previously lectured on the non weight bearing nature of chipboard,  so at mid point it broke into 3 pieces and I was in the stream. Hauling myself out up the bank (luckily well mown by the ponies) I decided that whilst I was on the field side I’d bang home a few more of the wobbly posts.

I’d forgotten that there are two wasp nests in the stream bank, and one post was being thumped in close proximity to one of the nests. First thing I knew was an ouch on my hand which I brushed away and then three more in quick succession on my body.  I ran up the field hoping I wasn’t being followed by a cloud of ’em, luckily I wasn’t. Damned ponies!

Honey they shrank my shed

Wasp gathering cellulose
Wasp gathering cellulose

We have a number of wasp’s nests in the garden. The most obvious is under the raised pond where they’ve found a crack between the supporting slabs. It’s by a well used path in the garden which is a little annoying. The others have made their home in the stream bank in two places. The activity is getting a bit frenetic. They are obviously still building cells in the nest, the scrunching noise of wasps stripping the shed is quite marked at times. I also noticed yesterday what I think was a predatory hover fly, Volucella pellucens, hanging round the nest entrance.

Bulging squirrels are barely able to make the leap from branch to branch as they’re so stuffed on green hazel nuts. The ground underneath the hazels is littered with shells and clumps of nuts that have been knocked to the ground.

The new borders are aflutter with butterflies enjoying the Verbena bonariensis, Buddleja Gonglepod (which has huge flowerheads) and Echinops. Whites, Tortoiseshells and Peacocks mainly.

Also seen the first flowers on Cyclamen hederifolium – autumn is on its way.

All life goes on around here!