Friday, 22 June 2018

A shout out for Chickweed Wintergreen

Gosh I can't wait to show you what I found in Clochandighter Woods this week ...

Come here and look at these pretty white flowers!

They do look a bit like wood anemones, but they bloom later, in early summer, and have oval leaves and pointy petals. Just like little stars twinkling in a galaxy of greenery, don't you think?

The plant is called chickweed wintergreen.

You won't come across chickweed wintergreen in the southern parts of the UK. It likes our cooler Scottish temperatures.

Rather insultingly, I feel, the website NatureGate describes chickweed wintergreen's sexual reproduction as "quite inefficient'". Well that's as maybe, but it seems to be doing OK here on the fringe of this pine plantation, ignoring the sex business and happily cloning away without so much as a word of encouragement from Sir Ian Wilmut.  And anyway, plant sex sounds rather boring doesn't it? All that hanging around waiting for a pollinator to show up. Not nearly such fun as us animals have! Might I mention here this hot wee spaniel I met in the park the other day? Phwoar, she was gorgeous. AND she smelled a like a bitch in a state to enjoy a good time, if you know what I mean....

What's that Gail? I am straying off topic? Well OK, so that's enough for this Flower Friday. Must hurry away and find something new for next week!

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Mind the gap!

So I just received this 'postcard' from Gail, who is away in London on business for a couple of days.

"Hey Bertie, look at these two handsome Sibes I met on the train from Luton Airport into London earlier this evening. And they were SO well behaved too. For a moment I almost forgot I was missing you. (Just kidding!)
Sending fond kisses, Gail."

Monday, 18 June 2018

On and off piste in Glen Tanar

Shall I let you into a wee secret?

It seems that when Gail was looking for a small to medium sized terrier to replace her beloved Hamish the Westie, one key criterion was that the new dog should have legs long enough to enable him to yomp over our heather-clad Scottish hills without difficulty. Apparently on a couple of occasions Gail tried taking Hamish across the upland moors on paths less trodden and ended up carrying all 22 lb of wriggling white fluffiness for much longer than she would have wished.

Little did she know that the bouncy wee puppy she selected to follow Hamish would grow into a strapping fox terrier, tall enough to exceed the official breed standard height to a degree that would disqualify him from Crufts.

In truth we rarely venture off piste on our walks, but yesterday Gail decided on a cross country route which she claimed would be just fine, given all our recent dry weather, and would avoid a long walk through a boring stretch of pine plantation.

Have you any idea how hard work it is, traversing lumpy tussocks of moss and heather, in between which one's paws can sink suddenly and unpredictably into squelchy boggy gullies?

Not to mention that these places are tick heaven.

Frankly I was most relieved when we finally regained the 'boring' forest track.

And happier still when we ended the walk on a nicely soft, smooth and paw-soothing grassy path.

Irrespective of leg length, I am thinking Hamish had the right idea insisting at times on being carried.

Oh and please note that despite my height, I actually weigh a couple of pounds less than Hamish did.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Flower Friday and a Bouncing Beach!

Gosh I had a bright idea this week.

Did you know that Gail has volunteered to do some wildflower monitoring work for a conservation organisation called Plantlife

I confess I was a bit surprised 'cos Gail's flower identification skills are er, frankly, er, shall we say 'basic'?

Well apparently she is persuaded you can teach an old dog new tricks, as it were, and so, being a cooperative wee chap, I have decided to help her by posting every week on Flower Friday about a wildflower I have sniffed during that week.

I'm just going to do one flower at a time, so Gail's poor brain doesn't get overloaded. 

Today I'm showing you the sea rocket, which I came across a few days ago, while roaming around beach at the St Cyrus National Nature Reserve, thirty miles down the coast from Aberdeen.

It must be quite a hardy wee thing, this sea rocket plant, 'cos believe me it's never warm right by the North Sea, even in June, and not every flower wants to be sprayed with salt all the time either. 

Pretty though, don't you think?

I'm told that the thick and fleshy leaves are edible and rich in vitamin C, although I must say I was not tempted.

Oh and finally, I do want to tell you something else about the St Cyrus Nature Reserve, even though it has nothing to do with plants.

Apparently the area just back from the current shoreline is a raised beach. It used to be the actual beach, when the land was weighed down by ice in the last glaciation, but now the ice has melted, the land has rebounded to a higher level. A display in the Visitor Centre tells you all about it.

I do like the idea of a Bouncing Beach.