A feast fit for a king

Since moving to the pretty Suffolk countryside we have decidedly more wildlife around us. Including a frog in the loo and a big scary wolf hiding behind the bunny hutch!

Deer2We were used to seeing cats and dogs, having pet bunnies and guinea pigs and the odd fox roaming the streets in the evenings. But here we have a family of deer (Mum, Dad and baby) who visit our garden almost on a nightly basis. They squeeze under the gate and stay for a couple of hours before heading off again.

Next door to our garden are very cute Bantam hens, which can be very vocal! We have a wonky-donkey down the lane, as well as a field full of alpacas, which peer at us over the wall on our walk to school. And pheasants! I’ve never seen so many. It’s like they play ‘Frogger’ with you when you drive down the lane. It’s a miracle I haven’t hit one yet.

There are also of course horses, dogs being walked by country folk wearing posh wellies, bunnies and hares bouncing across the fields whilst birds of prey circle above. And badgers snuffling around in the hedgerows after dark – not to mention the owls who decide to become ‘all chatty’ at some ungodly hour of the morning! Oh and bats. Lots of bats in the evenings at certain times of the year. I recently learned that there is such a thing as a ‘bat detector’ which apparently makes a funny noise when there is a bat in close proximity. On hearing this Mr G got all excited and immediately started searching online for one. As we know Mr G loves a gadget! Quite why we need a bat detector is beyond me as we can see perfectly well the bats that fly over our garden. I don’t need a little device to beep at me telling me so. And even if I couldn’t see them, what would be the use of knowing they are in the vicinity? It’s not as if I have a craving for bat pie.

Lane_2Anyway, we also have typical farm animals in the fields too – lots of piggies (oh why do I like bacon so much), cows and sheep. So as you can see, we have a real menagerie here, which is truly lovely. But unfortunately some of the animals do become road kill, which is very sad. On Sunday evening Mr G and I were driving home (after enjoying the sunshine in a beer garden with friends) and spotted a deer, rabbit and a pheasant dead on the side of the lane. I said to Mr G, “There’s a feast fit for a king just lying on the roadside”. Friends be wary when I serve up venison burgers at our next BBQ!

 

 

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Incey-Wincey Spider

When we moved to the countryside I understood that there would be more creepy crawlies around and I’m OK with this (kinda). I know I have to try to overcome my intense fear of spiders. Even though I am absolutely petrified of the eight-legged (eight! Do they really need that many?) arachnid, I keep telling myself that I need to get a grip and overcome my fear.

That’s all well and good until I came into very close proximity to a GIANT house spider, which obviously spends most of its time down the gym!

I was reading Amelie her bedtime story last night when something big (the dude I’ve just described above) caught my eye. Amelie’s room is very pretty and has lots of old wooden beams which I now realise are perfect for spiders to take their night time stroll along. The beams are brown, as are most spiders – so this isn’t ideal.

I’ve read that you can pass on your fear of things to your kids if they see your reaction, so for Amelie’s sake I tried not to look at it (whilst also trying to keep an eye on it). I knew it had to go, so I calmly told Amelie to carry on reading whilst I went to get some ‘spider- getting’ equipment (I’m thinking harpoon!) I quickly glanced at matey-boy on the beam to ensure he was still there (he was) and Amelie saw me. Thankfully she isn’t as scared as me and helpfully said: “Wow, he’s massive!” Yep, let’s not talk about it shall we. Just carry on reading sweetheart and I’ll go and get something to catch it in.

As much as I hate spiders I can’t bring myself to kill them. You have to interact with them more if you kill them and I’m not up for that! If you hoover them up I’m scared they will hang on to the inside of the nozzle with their EIGHT legs and then crawl back out as soon as I turn it off. If I were to try to squish it with a book for example, I’m sure the bigger ones could probably catch it and throw it back at me! (See, my fear is totally reasonable).

So, a few deep breath’s and a bit of a pep talk to myself, I make my way to the kitchen to get the tools I need to get rid of it. I’m armed with a pint glass (anything smaller wouldn’t have gone over it) and a sheet of card. Come on Jen you can do this!

My heart is literally banging out of my chest and I’m shaking as I approach the beefed-up spider. I hold the glass up, but nope that’s as far as I can go. All thoughts of remaining calm for Amelie go out of the window and I’m running out of her room shouting for Mr G to come and help.

Mr G is used to the “Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” scream from me which usually means he needs to come and get rid of a creature of some sort – be it frogs in the loo, a big bad wolf outside, or tarantula (not far off) in the bedroom. So he usually comes running with a pint glass and a piece of card to catch whatever it is.

To be fair to (wimpy) me, Mr G also took a deep breath before catching the boot wearing, muscle bound spider.

I appreciate that spiders eat the horrible flies and they are very talented with their web spinning skills, but do they have to look so scary and have so many legs and eyes? What is that about? And only recently I found out that they also shed their skins. WHAT!?!?!

So it seems my move to the countryside is not going to cure me of my fear of spiders. But hopefully from now on we’ll only get the lazy sort that don’t frequent the gym!

Oi! Mickey! Get yer own chocolates!

In an earlier post I mentioned that I’d already bought the large round tubs of Christmas chocolates and have stored them in the loft to stop me from scoffing them before Christmas. Well, this weekend it all went horribly wrong.

The loft is actually a large space under the eaves of part of the house and is much more accessible than the ‘proper’ loft. Having no willpower when it comes to chocolate, I had stored the tubs at the back, behind several suitcases, boxes of shoes (I have a silly amount for a creature that only has two feet), Christmas decorations and boxes of ‘stuff’.

On Sunday morning Mr G decided to do some sort of DIY thing in there and had moved some of the boxes, which were barricading in the tubs of chocolates. Amelie and I were in her bedroom, busy making a rocket (this wasn’t actually on my weekend to-do list) when Mr G shouts: “We have a mouse”.

I climb into the storage space (it would make a brilliant den if we didn’t have so much stuff) and see lots of specs of purple plastic all around the tubs of chocolates. The mouse had chewed all around the lid trying to get into MY Christmas chocolates! Cheeky, little mouse! (I’m being polite here; this isn’t what I actually said).tub of chocs.jpg

Thankfully we were able to save the chocolates, as he hadn’t actually gotten into them (Huge sigh of relief from me). But a little part of me would actually love to see Mickey on a massive sugar rush.

But this presents me with a problem. The chocolates are now being stored in the larder. This is in the kitchen. There aren’t any suitcases and boxes to stop me from seeing them every single time I go in there. I am seriously panicking about this! Where am I going to get the willpower to stop me from munching the chocolates before Christmas??? But when is the official start to Christmas? Is it the first of December? Is it when the shops start to put Christmas stock on their shelves at the end of August? If this is the case then we are well and truly in the full swing of Christmas time! So “Merry Christmas everyone” – let the chocolate munching commence!

Big bad wolf

I was outside saying goodnight to Muffin (our pet bunny) and closing his hutch up for the night. Basically putting him to bed and making sure he was nice and cosy. As I was chatting to him (he’s a good listener) I heard a loud rustling. At first I thought it was Muffin until it dawned on me he wasn’t moving. I then realised the loud rustling sound was coming from behind his hutch in the space between the hutch and the fence.

I feel I need to set the scene so you can fully understand my nervousness. It’s pitch black here at night as there isn’t any light pollution. It is also very quiet, eerily so sometimes (I’m sure I’ll get used to it), so the rustling seemed very loud. I assumed (imagination running a tad wild at this point) that it was some sort of huge (possibly killer) animal out to get me. I was a good mummy and made sure Muffin was OK and locked up before legging it back inside to shout Mr G to come and ‘sort out’ the wild animal that was prowling around outside.

He could hear the tremor and urgency in my voice and came running, grabbed the torch and gingerly looked round the back of the hutch. Then, something happened that totally stunned me – he laughed!!! I couldn’t believe he was laughing when faced with the wild (and deadly) animal. He bent down and when he stood up he had something in his hand. A toad. He was scrambling about on the gravel which in the silence and the pitch-black of night seemed much more sinister. It did!

ribbit

After Mr G had eventually stopped laughing (at me) Mr Toad was set free in the garden so he could go off and terrorise other poor unsuspecting country folk. I went inside and had a glass of wine to steady my nerves.