Tuesday 22 June 2010

Nature in Balance ... and the Dark-Bellied Dew Lover!

This year seems to have been the year of the natural world, particularly here in Britain, where we have great institutions, good newspapers and the BBC who combine to bring us up-to-date stories of how our local worlds are being affected.

We have had various surveys starting with the Great British Garden Bird Watch in January, then recently the Natural History Museum had a moth, bat and bee survey, and then there’s Natural England’s Wild Day Out at Your Local Wildlife Site .. where the public, especially the children, can see displays, meet the birds, small mammals, insects and reptiles and understand more of the world they inhabit – so many children believe meat, fish, fruit and vegetables come straight from the supermarket .. a pretty sad thought isn’t it?

Constable's "Dedham Vale" of 1828

The United Nations announced 2010 as the Year of Biodiversity – so around the world too we’re all being encouraged to learn more about our natural environment, urging us to protect as much as we can.

We can do so much in our gardens, our locality, when we are away on holiday .. and we need to remember that everything we do affects everything else in this life. The dust under our feet is swept to other localities or lands, across rivers and oceans; the pollution we spread will drift high into the air, or drip slowly through the earth into the waterways and seas.

We are being encouraged to provide links for wildlife, not just preserve pockets of a reserve here or there, odd meadows, splodges of woodlands, tiny copses, but to provide green corridors from one habitat to another. Rivers and canals, those trade highways of the past, can now be a ‘motorway’ wildlife haven .. river banks abounding with wild flowers, damp and boggy patches, feeder rivulets or bournes from the local catchment areas .. attracting birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates.

Tributaries (light blue) and major settlements on and near the River Severn (bold blue). (The country boundary in black, with the estuary and coastline marked out in bolder black)

Invertebrates - did you know this group includes 95% of all animal species – the other 5% include us, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and other mammals? This surprised me. We all know of this particular invertebrate that has been the subject of much research - the Drosophila Melanogaster – the common fruit fly.

This fly has an amazing name apart from being a model organism used in many scientific evolutionary studies because they are easy to take care of, breed quickly and lay many eggs ... in Greek its Linnaean name means .. “Dark-Bellied Dew Lover” – well I had to let you know?! I’m sure you, like me, will look upon the common fruit fly somewhat differently now?!

The Dark-Bellied Dew Lover .. the common fruit fly

Back to nature in balance .. we need to save not just nature reserves, but vast areas of the world in which a wild future is still possible ... conservation works – but only if we want it to. We humans are the dominant force – we can kill or we can cure.

Dedham Vale painted by John Constable in 1828 is a good example .. the landscape looks much as it did then .. the river is the key focus for the valley, its course defined by bank side trees and wet meadows. It supports a variety of riparian (river) habitats.

The valley and Stour River provide a functioning floodplain, good water quality with its water meadows and recreational use, whilst retaining an unspoilt character and healthy ecosystem for the native flora and fauna.

A common toad - bufo bufo - in its boggy habitat

The United Nation’s International Year of Biodiversity asks that through a global alliance, which has to be ratified by all countries, binding their citizens to join together, to protect life on earth – as biodiversity is life ... it is our life.

The global benefits are enormous .. we save species, that saves or creates jobs, people are protected and local economies are boosted alleviating poverty. Scientific studies are understanding the ways nature has adapted – bringing benefits to bear for us .. better insulation, better water repelling properties, medical advances; we are being reminded of the spiritual and cultural value of biodiversity at the heart of so many human societies.

We know so little of this wonderful world, this earth of ours .. only about 10% of life is known – it is estimated that another 90% remains to be discovered: however more species are disappearing every day, up to 130, which in terms of the natural extinction rate is 1,000 times higher – a frightening thought.

Cup Nest of a Common Blackbird

What can we do to protect and preserve, to help and conserve this natural biodiversity within our localities and at other times of our life when we are away or travelling? Remember everything interlinks .. we are one enormous system, sustained by many ecosystems, the welfare of humankind is dependent on the welfare of every known species, two million of them.

This web of life supports us – it nurtures us spiritually .. giving us peace in its tranquillity, its greatness, its power; earth feeds us with an enormous variety of fish, meat, game and crop life; the forests provide fuel and with mountains regulate our water supplies; while the oceans provide fish and help regulate the climate; while the air allows us to breathe and remain alive.

By working together locally – in our cities, towns and countryside we can make small differences and as we know, small ripples can lead to larger influences. Battle lines between conservationists and people have been going on for centuries .. but now we have one huge advantage we can communicate more easily – we can get our word across, through our actions, through our encouragement to preserve and protect.

The hedgehog, who hates being fenced in

Some ideas for conservation and bringing biodiversity back into our lives:

· Open up your garden, don’t wall it in ... so hedgehogs (above), who love snails, and small mammals can move around

· Plant hedging plants – native to your soils & let the leaves lie

· Leave some wild areas .. let the grass grow, plant wildflowers

· Make a pond, or create a damp spot – for dragon flies (left), damsel flies, frogs, toads and grass snakes

Dragon fly to the right

Honeysuckle - that nectar filled, scented plant

· Have a mixed and seasonal garden – different plants – bees like open heads allowing access to the nectar .. honeysuckle, clover, buddleia and lavender

· Specific plants attract specific insects – encouraging pollination; moths are vital prey for many bird and mammal species, including bats – they love buddleia, heather, sallow and

· Put up nesting boxes, bug homes, feeders and rain water ‘baths’ for birds, bats, insects,
butterflies, moths; a woodpile to attract beetles, centipedes, and snails ..

Watch the video to get the bigger picture: United Nations International Year of Biodiversity: video link; then play your part in as many ways as you can .... if we’re here to stay – we all need to play our part.

UN video: International Year of Biodiversity (it's 8 mins long - but well worth it)

Three of my posts that may be of interest:
Plants as Metal Gatherers
The Great Garden Stink and what the Victorians did about it
The Green Corridors of the Iron Curtain

Sara of A Sharing Connection – may have a better grasp on my posts – as she paid me a wonderful compliment.... by writing a post about me – how wonderful is that?! About A Blogger: History is my Story – thank you so much Sara .. it really is appreciated!

Sara’s blog shares photos, stories, ideas and then often poses a question asking us to connect with the world around us .. it’s a fun blog with some serious points - appropriate for this post on biodiversity.

Hi Everyone .. Janice Hunter's blog - Sharing The Journey - and her latest post included a TED video (18 mins) - but it is so worth while watching .. this post is about natural diversity - the TED talk is about human resources/diversity .. using our passions: "human communities depend on a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of our ability ...". We need to feed our spirit, our energy or our passion .. not endure this life and its work. Please pop over (after you've left a comment!) and have a listen .. enjoy - it is thought provoking ...

Dear Mr Postman .. at last the weather seems to be warming up .. the south coast quite often has a cooling wind – sometimes it’s a blessing – in the hot years! My mother has been sleeping a great deal, but when she’s awake she can at least hear .. but now she has a sore throat & I hope that is a not a precursor. I hope she’ll enjoy some of Wimbledon with me.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Sibyl - alternaview said...

Great post filled with so much good information. I thought you made a great point about working together to create real and lasting change. Small ripples really can lead to larger changes and we all can contribute to these changes in a postive way by doing our part. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sibyl .. many thanks indeed. Your comment about working together seems to be resonating around the world at the moment - we're not individuals .. we are also part of this great universe & everything has checks and balances.

I sincerely hope we can change and adjust to realise our full potential and protect this land of ours.

Delighted you're here .. and thanks for the comments .. Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

"We know so little of this wonderful world, this earth, or ours .. only about 10% of life is known – it is estimated that another 90% remains to be discovered: however more species are disappearing every day, up to 130, which in terms of the natural extinction rate is 1,000 times higher – a frightening thought." This statement really disturbs me. I always tell my computer users at work, I can't fix what I don't know. If we don't know what is out there, we can't save it.

Wonderful post, Hilary. Congrats on the write up. Your blog is well deserving.


Anonymous said...

Hilary, I agree with Sibyl. So much great information here! :)

I think one of the biggest things we're going to have to do as human beings is let go of our constant need to be right. As long as people keep drawing up battle lines and choosing sides, the earth is going to suffer.

Like you say, more cooperation is needed on everyone's part so that the hard work of conservation can start happening. That won't happen if skeptics keep pointing fingers at environmentalists... and vice versa.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa .. many thanks .. it’s good you picked up on some of the stats .. I was shocked to hear this – we are all so cocooned in our own little worlds .. we forget about the bigger picture.

We certainly can’t save what we don’t know .. it’s just that we haven’t discovered everything yet .. but are killing the larger things on the way .. the quagga went & no-one realised – a law came in to save it 23 years too late! Also killing or through forms of extermination we are killing so many other creatures .. that we may not think have a purpose – but I bet they’re here for one .. and for every species we lose another 10 or so will go – because of the interdependency.

Great to see you Teresa .. and many thanks for the compliment – appreciate that coming from an author .. have a good rest of the week - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tony – thank you .. just delighted to read that you’re enjoying the posts.

Actually I agree .. I almost put in a bit about battle-lines and how combatative people groups are – it seems to be entrenched in humanity & it’s a trait, as you so rightly say, we could do without.

Co-operation and awareness all the time .. somehow we all need to improve life for everything on this earth ... be more humble, be more caring ... getting into the balance of things. Hopefully we can through our actions get the sceptics and environmentalists to work together ..

Many thanks for your salient comments – it’s good to see you here .. have a great week - Hilary

Dot said...

"We are being encouraged to provide links for wildlife, not just preserve pockets of a reserve here or there, odd meadows, splodges of woodlands, tiny copses, but to provide green corridors from one habitat to another." This is a great idea. I wish more people cared.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Dot .. good to see you - it's an essential .. especially with climate change - if creatures feel they need to move north .. if there's an acreage of wheat .. it's not much good - they can't escape .. they need their type of landscape - but as you realise we need variety everywhere .. and our hedgerow countryside with its twisting lanes, and planted banks are ideal .. while we certainly don't want to grub the field hedgerows out, which we have been doing.

Thanks Dot - me too .. it'd be great if people took a little more time to understand and as you so rightly say care .. Enjoy the day - Hilary

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary, great blog post. I like how your blog is set up. Full of so much great information. Great pictures with every post too!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Suzanne .. that's an honour and I really appreciate your comments. Just glad you and everyone appreciate the information I feel is worth sharing (well what I can fit in!) .. and the pictures seem to provide that extra visual memory link .. so I feel it's worthwhile adding them.

It's really good to see you - enjoy the week - and thank you .. Hilary

Sara said...

HIlary -- First of all, thank you for link and the mention. I really enjoyed sharing my love of your particular brand of history:~)

Now, to this post. I think a love story or a song should be written about the “Dark-Bellied Dew Lover." Even if it the common fruit fly, it's name is just begging for a tale.

I loved your suggestions. One of them, having a wild area in your garden, I am working on...it's still in my mind's eye, but it's getting closer to reality.

I don't think hedgehogs are native where I live. I tried to look this up and rather disturbed to see that there's quite a market for pet hedgehogs. That's kind of scary, isn't it?

Anyway, I enjoyed this post and all the information very much. Thank you:~)

Patricia said...

Hilary, another lovely post and thank you too for the referrals to the TED talks and other links.

I put about 40 pounds of strawberries in the freezer and dehydrator this weekend past, WOW do we know fruit flies and the speed of reproduction!

We are having a day of sunshine - and I can see the bees a buzzing just outside my window. We have lots of bats on our property, coyotes, deer, and raccoons - we live almost right downtown!

We keep our bank natural, though someone planted Morning Glory and Ivy and we have to do big time control to keep it from destroying even the giant Douglas fir trees.

Another great post and walk through the wild side
Thank you
I watched a bit of Wimbledon on line...it plays about 5am here...I don't get up that early!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful post, Hilary! I learn something everytime I come over. I remember hedgehogs from when I was a little girl in England. I had no idea that they ate snails. No wonder everyone likes them! I take it they don't burrow under fences.

J.D. Meier said...

"This web of life supports us" ... you said it.

I find that just watching nature in action always renews me ... whether it's a change of the seasons, an amazing view from the mountains, or new born things.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. you’re right the hedgehog isn’t native to the Americas or Australia, elsewhere though it is found including New Zealand. And as you say ... they don’t burrow – apparently they need a range of six tow gardens to forage in .. hence the ‘not keeping fenced in’!

Thank you .. a song – now that would be good .. I think of the Long Haired Lover from Liverpool – Jimmy Osmond song .. but being practically non musical .. writing a song, or the musical .. I leave to other more talented souls! Fruit flies of the world would be singing their own song as they bustle around!

Oh great .. glad you’ve taken up one idea .. a little patch even – they say that’s enough to help! You’ve got wonderful wildlife already with your birds and squirrels .. so a few more will add to the diversity .. with the bugs and beetles brought in to the new patch.

Have fun working it through .. and putting it into practice .. great seeing you .. and delighted to add the link in. Your post was too good to be true for me?! Happy days .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. thank you .. and glad you picked up on the TED link. It just seems to naturally fit in – improving our natural resources .. nurture our human ones.

Fruit flies .. I think ring true in everyone’s lives .. but dark-bellied dew lovers are slightly different?! Did you grow the strawberries .. sounds delicious! Your garden sounds pretty inviting .. but nature will take its opportunity where it can .. even in urban areas.

Ah .. Morning Glory .. here in England it’s a weed .. but in South Africa it used to be planted and proliferate .. not sure if it spread like it does here .. a different sort. Ivy is pretty invasive – but obviously the flowers provide a lot of nectar ..

Delighted you enjoyed the information .. and bits and bobs about wildlife .. Wimbledon is being blessed by wonderful weather – for a change! Though they did play til 11.00 pm .. had to stop & put the roof up .. so the match could be finished .. can’t play outdoors much beyond 9.15pm ... latest here.

Great to see you & hear you’re feeling better .. have a good day today .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sharon .. thank you so much. Ah ah .. it was you who asked about burrowing under fences – no little hedgehogs don’t. I replied to Sara about this – sorry! Easy mistake on a sunny day?! & they need six town gardens as their range. They love snails and other insects .. but also eat frogs and toads, snakes, birds eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries .. – they’ve adapted quite well haven’t they?! Almost omniovires.

Glad you find the blog interesting .. have a wonderful day ..and get over that bee sting! Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. thank you .. we really do need all of it .. to keep ourselves around. Taking time out with nature has to be relaxing, as we completely slow down and just absorb the sounds and scents around us, feel the air and watch the views .. or the tiny creatures blossom to adulthood.

Renewal is what we need in this rushing-bustling world of ours .. peace just to be .. great thoughts .. have a wonderful summer’s day .. Hilary

Barbara Swafford said...

Hi Hilary,

I didn't know that, "only about 10% of life is known; it is estimated that another 90% remains to be discovered: however more species are disappearing every day, up to 130, which in terms of the natural extinction rate is 1,000 times higher" Every time I visit you, I learn something new. I love all you share.

I noticed today after we watered the grass, the robins showed up; looking for worms I'm guessing. I like how that happens; different birds at different times. They appear to be so wise.

Thank you for another great lesson, Hilary. ((hugs)) to you and your mom. ;-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Barbara .. thanks for visiting .. great to see you .. that’s what the UN film said .. so I guess they know. The other challenging thing is every time one species disappears .. it’s the dependent organisms that also go ..

Aren’t robins just great? .. when I used to help mow my uncle’s lawns .. the robins would always be around checking me out and what little creatures I’d found for them .. they love people! It was lovely to have their company – really quite nearby . They are wise ..
Delighted you enjoy the reading .. and many thanks for the hugs .. we’re peaceful and that’s what counts .. have a great day .. whenever your day starts .. you’re either a night owl, or an extremely early dawn riser??!! Byeee .. Hilary

Claire - Gratitude Connection said...

Hi Hilary,
What a lovely read! I haven't seen a hedgehog for many years, but I remember them from my childhood. Although I no longer live in England, your post has given me food for thought about what I can do in my part of the world. Thanks, I love visiting your blog!

Paul C said...

A year of biodiversity...this is a wonderful overview of how it can be encouraged. So true, about planting certain shrubs etc. which can encourage birds, animals to visit. I am always thrilled to see dragonflies over our little pond, a sign of some health in the environment.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Claire .. thank you .. little hedgehogs - yes wandering around the gardens. That's great if you're going to implement a few changes to help your neck of the woods .. they say every little helps .. well a slogan does?!

Good to see you and thanks so much for the compliment .. your daily gratitudes are a great idea .. thank you - Hilary

Anonymous said...

That's great. Year of Biodiversity. We tape many shows for our kids to watch regarding our planet's fragile eco system. Why waste time watching crap when you can watch animal shows. I like the idea of providing green corridors from one habitat to another. When roads are built cutting through a wooded area I see paths like this going under the road. This gives wildlife a chance to move back and forth without having to cross the street and get hit by a car.

Stephen Tremp

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paul .. many thanks - it is amazing that we can do just one or two small things and they will make a lot of difference to 'our' little habitat - I was really interested to read this .. and to join up our green parts. I loved the dragonflies when I visited my uncle as he had a large pond (built by my aunt!) .. and his wildlife .. I think he got bitten by a grass snake .. who love water .. I never saw it .. all creaturs great and small lead to a healthy local ecosystem. Your garden looks as though it is quite varied .. with the little rivulet, the flower beds and trees and lovely mown grass!

Enjoy the week and summer days - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Stephen .. thanks .. I hope they enjoy this short video and see the world and what’s on offer. Absolutely – there is so much rubbish on .. but some great tv too .. with the wildlife and plant shows – good to hear the kids are seeing how the world really is.

Yes – your point about the roads is right .. they’ve started doing that here now too – but it took a long time and some areas are protected from development because it contains one species’ last known location; one local lane .. they ask us to slow down when the frogs are breeding & having to cross the road into the water meadows.

I thought the point about our rivers, tributaries, bournes, rivulets etc being highways, once they’ve cleaned them up and are healthy again, was interesting .. because of course they criss cross the landscape.

Thank you for coming over to comment - Hilary

Blue Bunny said...

deerist hillree.

i so mutch wishing we had a hedgehogg heer, but we haz onlee rabits, armadiloes, skwirrels, more rabits, snaks, long horn kows, horsies, groundhoggs, and tranchullas. butt they iz all my frends.. wel, not teh snake, acshully as they wants to eet me for diner, and brekfist, and lunch and tee.

adn my jannie loves she natures so mutch!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BB .. zee wud liek a prikkli hedgeinghogg wiv u ... prhaps u shud speke wiv Sara .. as she's zeen hedgeinghogs wher she livs.

At leest u hav fwiends .. yus I ken zee snaks mite lieks to eets u - luks after yourself.

Yore Jannie is a gud woman wiv her natures .. plants and cretures .. Haves a gud day today .. a hot hug from here .. Hilary

Wilma Ham said...

Hi Hilary, I am reading your nature talk with blue bunny and good on you to speak bunny language. I am less clever and have to do my best to read it :~).
We do need to take responsibility for nature, you are so spot on. We dominate it with our destructive behavior and we are losing out big time if we are not careful. nature is resilient but has its limits to what it can endure.
AND it is indeed so sustaining us if we let it.
Nature is more powerful than we think and it is extremely worthwhile to start cooperating with it rather than dominating it.
I am getting to see the value of returning to respecting and cooperating with nature and so far so good.
Much love to you both, xox Wilma

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Wilma .. well I reckon it's good to speak another language! Something us Brits aren't very good at .. and fortunately my very poor smatterings of French, Dutch (Afrikaans), Italian help me with BB lingo! Jannie has her French .. so I'm sure that helps her ..

Just taking a little more responsibility will make so much difference to the birds, insects, bees etc - and the earth itself.

Unfortunately you're right we do want to dominate it .. but nature will reply somehow .. often affecting others. However the natural world looks after itself as best it can and has amazing restorative powers .. not worrying about humanity.

I love your sentence .. "that it is extremely worthwhile to start co-operating with it rather than dominating it" - thinking about what's around us and under our feet .. we seem to have lost the understanding and importance of of each plant and creature's lifespan.

Good to see you .. and thanks for your love to us .. we are trickling on .. and hope all is progressing well your end .. with love and thoughts .. Hilary

BK said...

Hilary, I am certainly with you on that; I will look at the common fruit fly differently now. Dark-Bellied Dew Lover, a much better name.

It is good that we are informed about what's going on in nature as we cannot hope to protect what we do not understand. The matter now is to use the information we acquired and put it into action.

Wishing positive thoughts and love to you and your Mother.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BK .. many thanks .. good .. though I still think when I see darting about over my fruit I'll be thinking along different lines - until I remember!

As we know more hopefully we'll put better practises into action - as I was walking to town & saw the trodden grass (well totally worn out) - I thought well at least I hadn't been walking on the grass in the last few years .. just wish we realised what we're doing. & a bird bath - we could do with one here .. I'll have to suggest it to my buyers, as I move on.

Thanks for your positive thoughts .. and love to my mother .. if she could hear then I'd let her know - but communication is practically impossible - other than a few kisses and sort of hugs for a bedridden lady .. it is quite tricky!

Great to see you here .. thank you so much - Hilary

Will Burke said...

Damn, you put a lot of time into your posts! I think that the inter-dependance of an ecosystem is fascinating, and teaces so much about all aspects of life. Thanks for the deeper look!

Joanne said...

Wonderful post, with lots of great information. It's amazing how even the smallest of efforts make a difference. I ring my garden with flowers to encourage bees, which will pollinate my vegetable plants too. And a zinnia garden brings hummingbirds, monarch butterflies, gold finches. Lots of beauty, from just a few flowers. Happy summer to you, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Will .. I presume that's a plus!! Thank you .. appreciate the sentiment. I love putting together my bits and pieces and ringing the changes - so it's always great that it's appreciated.

I know you'll give your little one a headstart in this area .. and that's really all - each of doing our small bit .. and they'll ripple out.

Have a great weekend .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joanne .. many thanks - sounds like your garden is well endowed and with the right amount of plant mix .. and then the veggies . to pick and eat - delicious.

Your birds, butterflies and the gold finches - so lovely to sit quietly and just watch nature at its best .. blissfully peaceful.

Thanks - sounds like your summer garden is the place to be .. lovely to see you here - Hilary

Karen Lange said...

I learned some new things today thanks to you! My garden is open, but I haven't seen any hedgehogs yet:) Don't know if they frequent this area; will have to look into that.
Blessings for your weekend,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. great to see you .. and an open garden is good .. you shouldn't find any wandering through .. they aren't usually found in the States. But all other creatures who like to roam or forage around will enjoy the space.

So no worries re looking for hogs in hedges .. you can concentrate on other things! You too - have a great weekend .. it is so peaceful and sunny here at the moment .. bliss .. and makes such a change - English summer sun. Happy days for you and the family .. Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

Hi Dear Hilary,

so gald to make it over here. I see Bb is here made it here ahead of me. He does love you and your blog.

"we can kill or we can cure" I so want to cure, and am doing my best but can be doing more. We are looking into solar panels for our home from a local company, to burn less oil from our planet.

Our backyard here is not opened up, because coyotes might eat our dogs and cat. We do have a wet area out front, and toads love it, and the mosquitoes.

Great food for new thought here, Hils, on what flowers to plant for bees to best enjoy. I LOVE that idea! It all makes a difference, and adds up.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. I never know whether BB will make it across - he usually does .. he's a pretty good contributor!! Doesn't like snakes tho .. do they slither in too if the garden isn't enclosed .. as your back area is?

I see coyotes are like jackals .. great scavengers .. so anything easy is a target prey - please look after the cats and dogs!

Solar panels - that will sure be interesting to see how much you save .. good to hear about the damp area for the toads and mozzies - the bats and moths will love them = good fodder.

So with your plants you're certainly doing your bit .. and you've got your trees ..

Hi Jannie ..as you're saying think native all the time - what's right for your area .. & uses little water .. enjoy the weekend .. and have happy days during the holiday - sounds like the brief break was good news .. hugs from here .. xoxo Hils

Susan Blake said...

Hi Hilary! Wonderful post! This summer time would be a wonderful opportunity for parents to take kids to farms and farm stands for a bit of "where food comes from" education!

As for biodiversity - I'm at the lake house and so far have had a visit from a bear, a raccoon, deer all the time, ducks, eagles, otters - our little world up here is full of life! I have to remind myself that I am the visitor here!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi SuZen .. ah the Lake House .. and you have connectivity! Great to see you .. and how wonderful to be by the lake .. and see the wild life at work and play. Sounds glorious .. and peaceful .. though I know you're hard at work 'doing the maintenance' .. et al. Lovely though to have your breaks and just watch nature at its best ..

How right you are - it's the inner city kids that need the comprehension.. but there are more little farms opening up even within the urban environment and schools are getting involved finally .. however then we have health scares - a quite serious one fairly near here .. making it more expensive for entrepreneurs to open farm, fruit and veg businesses up for the public. It's swings and roundabouts ..

But we all need to learn "where food comes from" .. as you say - thanks for the visit and enjoy your wildlife haven .. with thoughts and hugs - Hilary

Davina said...

I had no idea that only 10% of life is known. That's unbelievable. I wonder what else is out there? And, what else hasn't evolved yet? If I had my own backyard I could see myself putting in a pond. My step mom is very much into gardening and landscaping and this would be right up her ally. I do have to be honest here though, lol... I don't see the fruit fly any differently :-D

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. nor did I - til I watched the video. I too wonder what else is out there .. they're discovering lots of things at the depths of the ocean - I hope we don't kill them before we get there.

Me too .. if I had my own garden .. I'd be doing things to help nature along - one day I will I am sure. Good to know your step-mom is an avid gardener .. and perhaps she'll enjoy the post?

Sorry about the fruit fly .. I love the name though .. Dark-Bellied Dew Lover .. as I was unhappy with some flies yesterday .. the name popped instantly into my head! Made me think slightly differently - they go shooed outside.

Enjoy Sunday .. when it comes round .. late night owl!! Hilary

Blue Bunny said...

deer hilree, i bin misssing yoo these 2 last days. i hops yoo is well.

i lieks my new saler hat!

and i lieks yoo. pleze say helo and give a hugs to hardwik and yor mom.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hellooo deer BB .. I bin fines .. lots goings on & I am wels tanks u.

Gosh .. ur saler hat is difrent .. it luks v smart.

Dat'z gud .. I alwayz tinks ov U in Texas .. just v buzy .. & my Mom cannot again hear ..zo she en Hardwick R v close .. zo communications (long word!) is v v dificult ..

We are fines .. en zo pleesed to sees u .. v hot here .. up to 88 degC .. almost Austin wever?! Too hot fur bunnies .. keeps kool ..

Happie Munday .. & luvs .. xoxox

Keith Davis said...

Hi Hilary
Fantastic collection of info all in one post.
It's rather like reading an abridged version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. LOL

Couple of things caught my attention.
"Honeysuckle - that nectar filled, scented plant"
I've been thinking of buying a honeysuckle. It has to be gorgeous to look at, highly scented and not too rampant - not sure which one to get. Any ideas?

Your map shows Solihull - where I live.
Dudley - where I'm working at the moment.
Birmingham - where I've worked for most of my life.
Great to see familiar places.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Keith .. many thanks .. yes - there was a lot of information - just there so I put it in! Also the references I thought were useful and people may come back to refer to them - or new readers later on ..

Honeysuckle .. I don't know! I'd ask the garden centre for the hardiest one, and most native to Solihull! & the one best for nectar, bees, insects, etc

I thought that the map reflected the green highways (if they're well maintained) - and showed how far rivers spread out .. especially if we take into account all the local streams.

Very glad you can spot your neck of the woods - looks like you'll be getting some of Bristol's nature spreading north to Birmingham!

Good to see you .. glad you enjoyed it - and enjoy your honeysuckle .. lovely easy growing plant .. and the insects and bees will enjoy too ..

Thank you - wonderful weather we're having .. Hilary

Liara Covert said...

As you point out, familiar institutions and media paint a picture of how things are. Another way is to sense your way to the truth. My neice recently lasked me, "how do you get the weather report since you have no t.v.?" I reminded her its also possible to experience nature for yourself; to step outside and feel the temperature, to lick your finger and sense the wind direction, and employ the senses that allow you to have faith and trust yourself. Some farmers still do this and human beings have innate capacities to reconnect with the Earth in ways that boggle the imagination.

Patricia said...

You have been on my mind all day - I think you are moving right now? I am concerned you are not taking enough time for yourself - care giving fatigue kind of sneaks up on you if you are not careful
Thought I would check in ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. how right you are .. we used to do that as children & I still do it if kids are around .. and we’ve always looked at the skies .. see what the insects and animals are doing, when the plants flower etc .. Our climate down here on the Channel is very different to just a few miles inland .. Beachy Head sends the clouds inland .. so usually! We have better weather than elsewhere.

If we could tap into those senses we know we have – as you say here .. there are so many ways we could learn a lot more about our world .. good to see you – thank you for coming by .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. thank you .. not quite yet – preparing as they say .. don’t worry .. things are sorting out – not easily, but all will be well!! Mum is fine and yesterday she said I was doing a wonderful job .. and always there for her – so she can still talk! Did all night the other day apparently!! That’s an obtuse sentence?! I give her a big thank you hug .. so we’re well. Extremely grateful for your thoughts .. Hilary

Ana Goncalves said...


I have noticed that too; the high coverage of nature programmes here in the UK and community led initiatives to get people involved in the basics of gardening, food growing and much much more. It is wonderful that it is all blooming, as that is what nature is for, to grow into the hearts of people, for it is part of the world we live in.

It is wonderful that there is so much going on and real representation from organizations such as the United Nations that are opening up more awareness about the environment.

Some of these principles are also permaculture integrated to allow for nature to take it's course.

Great post. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ana - thanks for coming by and commenting .. the coverage on the media certainly seems to be directed towards conservation and community led schemes now-a-days .. much more than in the past as you say.

I love what you say about nature growing and growing into our hearts .. opening up our senses, as well as nurturing us with its goodness. Let’s hope we can maintain it and return its compliment – that’s so important in this day and age.

Certainly peoples around the world seem to be sitting up and taking notice .. somehow we just need to increase this participation .. the UN have a lot of initiatives – which they are trying to progress .. but co-ordinating countries with different agendas is obviously not easy.

The UN Exposition year in China – Shanghai - May – Nov (I think) .. will prove interesting and open up more windows into their world .. Radio 4 will be reporting more on it during July ..

You’re obviously fairly knowledgeable in this field .. and I’m really grateful for your comments .. I’ve done a few other posts on living walls, and picnicking on Sydney Harbour bridge – the coathanger bridge .. they greened it for the day!

Enjoy our summer sun .. and have a great weekend .. and many thanks for the extra thoughts – always great to get .. love them when people participate and join in .. makes it so worthwhile – I’m very lucky here .. all the best Hilary

Liara Covert said...

One learns that one cannot capture beauty in a photo or anything else, and keep it forever. IN truth, beauty is inside. It is not external.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. you're right .. one minute it is there and the next second it's gone .. and our beauty, love and trust are in us ..

Thanks for sharing this and reminding us that we are all beautiful ... Hilary