The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Duck pond drama

Posted in Wildlife | 14 comments

I‘m back. Broadcasting from Danny’s laptop. First of all a huge thank you for Danny taking up the blogging reins – I really enjoyed his posts and his meals and the endless cups of tea. There is no photo as D’s laptop doesn’t have the upload software. So you have to just imagine these scenes. The best photos of course. My slimline wide screen friend is waiting in A&E at the Newmarket Computer Company. She will be examined tomorrow and a prognosis delivered to my phone. Hopefully she will be fixed by an outpatient procedure rather...

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Sometimes I work in enchanted places

Posted in Wildlife | 10 comments

Sometimes I work in enchanted places

Laptop still crashing after ten minutes so here is a post that I’ve been trying to put up for the last  couple of days. Caroline provided the photo which I just had to include …     I’m very lucky. Over the past few years I have got to know a lot of people and observed hundreds of different lifestyles through my decorating work. If the job is a long one, I become a fly on the wall. Listening mainly to my DAB headset sports radio as I work but sometimes looking beyond my brush. I have been employed on a large estate for...

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Pigeons and doves

Posted in Cottage tales, Wildlife | 8 comments

Pigeons and doves

I’ve always liked pigeons. When I was at university at Hull in the seventies, I lived next door to a pigeon fancier. Northern England is the mecca of pigeon breeding and racing, although there are pigeon fanciers all over the UK. Each evening my neighbour would let his pigeons out for exercise. As one they would fly in a giant wave above the houses and disperse in large groups in different directions. They would curl back to rejoin the group and then leave again. Some pigeons always stayed in this hub. Were they the leaders or the...

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Jackdaws love nesting in our chimney

Posted in Wildlife | 25 comments

Jackdaws love nesting in our chimney

I was walking back to the car at dusk this evening and passed a very smart building with two smallish standard trees either side of the large front door. I spotted a neat nest of twigs in the branches, and a glimpse of a tail feather. A pigeon was sitting on the nest, she looked incongruous like a miniature partridge in a pear tree on a noisy, dirty road in Newmarket. We have two similar nests of twigs in our garden built by the wood pigeons. More Laura Ingalls Wilder than chic Frank Lloyd Wright, they are still beautifully made and seem to...

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Work and holidays

Posted in Wildlife | 7 comments

Work and holidays

Yesterday I didn’t write a post. I took a holiday from everything and spent a day with Seraphina. Lunch and shopping in Saffron Walden. Tea and cakes at Audley End. Perfect, as we both needed some time out. So this evening I’m sharing something very special. I’m showing you a few shots of the house where I am working at the moment. It’s the quintessential English country house set in an acre of garden and has a good, calm feel. Here, time has stopped still. The job involves repairing and decorating the outside at...

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Update on Einstein: the pigeon trapped in our chimney

Posted in Wildlife | 9 comments

Update on Einstein: the pigeon trapped in our chimney

Danny woke me early. “I’ve an idea. If we block off the sitting room end of the chimney, I could run a tube from the exhaust of the car down from the chimney pot. Carbon monoxide. The end would be quick and he wouldn’t suffer any more.” Perhaps it was the effect of the heat wave. The hot, fretful, sleepless nights had finally taken their toll. The idea was crazy. Our chimney is high – a good twenty five feet above the ground. It would be impossible to get a tube in the chimney without a cherry picker. And who has...

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Explosion

Posted in Wildlife | 4 comments

Explosion

I’ve noticed the movement. A tiny flicker, just enough to intrigue. The numbers have been growing over the past few days. Initially just the odd one or two. Now the grass is full of them. So are the borders and even the driveway. They’ve even hopped into the kitchen. Slim baby frogs searching for rooms to rent. Only the pond is still. “That heron has altered the eco system in the garden. He ate the fish that ate tadpoles. The lawn is heaving with baby frogs. We must be treading on them each time we go down the...

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Wildlife pond

Posted in Wildlife | 12 comments

Wildlife pond

I’ve had a thing about frogs for years. At university I was actually called Frog. I like to think that this referred to my fondness for this amphibian rather than a similarity in legs, feet or grin. When I moved into the cottage, my mum raised frogs and toads in aquaria in the kitchen. The pond was well stocked with koi in those days and few amphibians visited. Each August we released the frogs into the garden. Tiny, precious creatures that would disappear into the undergrowth or swim courageously in the pond with perfect breast stroke....

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