Monthly Archives: January 2013

As Years Go By – No. 2

As years go by I seem to be using alternative medicine more and more.

I thought I would have a Category about myself and my health because there doesn’t seem to be a time when there is NOTHING the matter with me!

Over the years a lot of Alternative Medicine has helped me.  Homeopathy is one of them.  I have just written a letter to a newspaper defending homeopathy against attack.   How can people who have never used homeopathy  and do not understand it – how can they say it does not work

Live and let live.  That is what I say. 

I don’t know how people can attack homeopathy when almost every NHS prescription has a side affect – some of which are really bad.


From Julia


Yesterday I saw a male chaffinch chasing on the tail feathers a wood pigeon… I thought I was seeing things.



Why?  Why?  Why would a chaffinch chase a wood pigeon.  Could it be because of this bad weather we are having and some sort of food was involved?

Please let me know why you (yes you, the reader) thinks  this chaffinch chased a wood pigeon – realistic reasons please.




From Fiona –


I contacted you last year about the little female robin that I have managed to persuade to eat out of my hand.


She has now found a mate who has been regarding me with considerable suspicion while she pops onto my hand for meal worms and suet.


Yesterday he became brave enough to grab a piece of suet from me. I am guessing the dreadful weather conditions may have encouraged him .


I wonder if later in the year I will have the whole family eating from my hand? That would be amazing.


It would  be so special if you have a family of robins eating from your hand.  You must let us know.

Thank you so much for telling us about these two robins.  You are so lucky.  I get robins and lots of other birds, but none of them would come onto my hand, but they do zip round the garden and seem to start singing when they see me

I can’t imagine g having two robins eating out of my hand

This does bring up the fact that you are doing a brilliant job of helping our garden birds survive this winter.  It is a harsh winter at the moment for them – with snow, freezing days and long freezing nights.  If these two robins do nest and have young it is because you have fed them and helped them survive.  I think that is almost as good as winning the lottery!

Cheers Fiona.  I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow morning when I trudge out into the snow to feed my wild birds



Doesn’t time go quickly.  In 2010 I wrote saying that the winter of 2010 would the be last winter we had a herd of milking cows on the farm.  I was saying goodbye to the slow old cows.

It was a complete change.  No cows to milk twice a day.  No herd of cows to walk in an out of the fields in summer. 

The farm has changed completely.  We don’t have to have fences to keep the cows in.  We don’t have to have as many grass fields.

We got to know the milking cows because they were here for quite a few years – and they got better looked after than I did!  It was there home.

But, we couldn’t make any money.  The price of milk we were being paid was too low.

As Years Go By

As years go by I seem to be using alternative medicine more and more.

When I go to the Doctors I receive painkillers. The painkillers dull the pain, but it isn’t a cure.

I remember a few years ago I went to the Doctors about knee pain and she said that I could have a new knee when the pain got worse.   I don’t have any pain in my knees now thanks to professionals outside the NHS who have helped me

Chiropracters, Homeopaths, Iridologists, Chinese Acupuncture have helped me keep healthy.

I wonder what my next problem will be to solve.


It’s all been worth it.  All the searching in the old sheds for ‘something’ that would keep the bird food dry during this continual snowfall has been successful.  As soon as I put bird food out it is covered by the falling snow.  This is bad for the starving birds and bad because the bird food that I have bought is wasted in the snow.


I found an old plastic box about 3 foot by 4 foot – without a lid.  I turned it on it’s side.  Now it has a floor, 2 side walls, one back wall and a ceiling.  The opening leads into this covered space.  The snow cannot fall on the birdfood.  I’ve put some birdfood inside this ‘bird shelter’ and it’s been lovely to see the blackbirds, sparrows and other birds concentrating on eating the bird food that is inside it.  It was only there a few minutes and my feathered friends were taking advantage of it.


I have lost my camera, so I cannot give you a photo to show you exactly what I mean.


I have also managed to cover my meshed ground feeder with more bits of wood, plastic and other bits of rubbish.  Now the snow cannot fall through the mesh (well not much can fall through the mesh). Again it’s been worth it because from my kitchen window I have seen a robin and some other birds I could not make out.  Again they were intent on eating the seed and peanuts.


It must help them survive the freezing nights.


It was freezing cold being out in the snow, wind and freezing weather, and at one point I wondered why I was bothering.  But I’m glad I did.


Now I’ll have to get to the shops somehow over the next few days.  Food for us, food for the dog we are looking after and food the these garden birds.


A mixed flock of birds is using my garden as a feeding area.  I see and hear so many as they fly inside or along the hedge.  When I say a ‘mixed flock’  I mean so many different birds seem to unite as one flock and work in harmony getting the bird food.  Blackbirds, blue tits, sparrows, chaffinches, starlings and many more unite together in one colourful flock.


It’s a good job I’ve been here all day today.



Start recycling by putting kitchen scraps out for our garden birds instead of throwing your food  in the dustbin.

Putting out bird food, especially in winter,  can be a life saver for some birds.

Here is some food I put out

  • A lot of birds love fruit.  They will eat  scraps and cores of apples and pears.
  • Put the last of the crumbs from the cereal box out for our feathered friends
  • Cheese – not mouldy but old cheese or left over pieces. I cut mine into small pieces or grate the cheese before putting it out. Birds love this.
  • Leftover plain flavoured rice
  • Bread – I soak it in water first – any type of bread.
  • Stale cake
  • Suet
  • Bacon rind (chopped small)
  • Ham fat
  • Pastry
  • raw grated carrot (I have seen birds on the birdtable enjoy this)

Birds may not come to the food straight away, but they will soon learn to that food is there and check regularly.  You will get the enjoyment of seeing that you are feeding our feathered friends.

Of course you must throw away anything the birds don’t eat or it could attract vermin. 

You don’t need expensive bird tables or feeders – an old container with shallow sides can be used to put the kitchen scraps in.

Give it a go!



One way to feed birds is to plant a variety of native  shrubs or even hedges.  This is natural food for birds.

Next time you are at a Garden Centre – think British bird

A bush needs planting once and provides fruit and shelter for garden birds for years.

Some of the birds that enjoy berry bearing bushes are

  • thrushes
  • blackbirds
  • starlings
  • finches
  • tits
  • robins and
  • pigeons
  • You may also attract waxwings, redwings or field fares – winter visitors

British species support more insect life thatn non native and are more attractive to birds.

Planting bushes in the garden also gives cover to birds as well as providing bird food every year.

One bush is –

BLACKBERRY OR BRAMBLE (rubus fruticosus)  . Native.

If you have room for a bramble patch in your garden it will be used by birds allthrough the year.

Some of the birds that eat the fruit are – starlings, bullfinches, great tits and blue tits.

Nesting – Blackbirds, warblers, thrushes, long tailed tits, finches and dunnocks will nest in the safety of its prickly branches.

Roosting – In Autumn and winter finches and sparrows will gather in the brample hedge to roost.

To keep the bramble bush / bramble patch thick and attractive to brids trimthe long branches each year to stop them roosting


Nest sites for birds are important, but just as important are places where birds can shelter and roost

As well as providing nesting sites, a thick row of hedges  gives birds really good protection against wind, rain and snow.

We have a laurel hedge that has a wooden fence behind it. This gives two fold protection. The hedge stops the bad weather and the fence gives ‘double insulation’.

My laurel hedge is not as healthy as it was. I want to get it sorted, but it’s made me think about planting another hedge for the future.

Some of the hawthorn hedges nearby be are, I’m sure, older than me! They give shelter to a lot of birds.

When I was a youngster we played along the grass verges and hedgerows. The hedges were mature and old then. This would be  about 50 years ago. They were our playground. These same hedgerows are still there – just the same as they were 50 years. ago. So goodness knows how old they are. But it is certain that year after year, after year  –  for over 50 years these hedges have been giving birds nesting sites, roosting sites, food and shelter!

Whoever planted them should have got a medal.

If you plant a hedge it is there for years.

Our laurel hedge is evergreen ( as are all laurel hedges!). Evergreen hedges give protection to birds all year round.

 In the winter months birds can spend as many as 16 hours at their roosts! So providing a bush or hedge is particularly important for the winter months and will surely make life easier for our garden birds. I bet it’s true to say that it will even save the lives of some birds.

 I get a lot of birds roosting in our laurel hedge. It is thick, high and old.  

Some good evergreen foliage is

  • Holly
  • rhododendron
  • laurel
  • Beech grown as a hedge it keeps it leaves.
  • Ivy covered trees are populare roosting sites for birds.
  • A bramble patch is a popular roosting site with sparrows and finches.

As well as giving protection some shrubs and hedges give food for birds as well. More of that another day.