I Found A Common Toad Hiding Behind My Shed

Introduction

During the 39 years I’ve lived at this house I have seen several frogs and toads passing through the garden. I was never able to say any actually lived here. Well now (6th October 2017) I’ve found a Common Toad hiding behind my shed and living here. Continue reading “I Found A Common Toad Hiding Behind My Shed”

Give Dog Tablets Wrapped In Pastrami

DISCLAIMER: I made a unilateral decision to give dog tablets wrapped in pastrami when I administer tablets to my dog. So far there haven’t been any ill effects.

Before attempting what I have done here you should consult your veterinary for advice. I take no responsibility for any harm caused to other animals by using this method. If you don’t like it don’t do it.

Introduction

give dogs tablets
Worming Tablet

If you have ever tried to give medicine to an animal you’ll appreciate how hard it can be to give dog tablets to a dog. Our dog Leo (a Border Collie) is required to take two worming tablets every three months. These are large as tablets go. Large enough to be shaped like a bone. My wife offered one to him. He sniffed it and walked away.

Why aren’t they supplied inside some meaty treat to encourage a dog to just woof them down?

Continue reading “Give Dog Tablets Wrapped In Pastrami”

Mushroom Collection of Autumn 2014

Disclaimer From Helpful Colin:

“I take no responsibility for anyone choosing to eat or use in any way Ceps, Toadstools or Mushrooms of any kind. I am not an authority on Ceps, Toadstools or Mushrooms and do not know if any Cep, Toadstool or Mushroom mentioned on this site is safe to eat or touch. I would advise anyone who touches a Cep, Toadstool or Mushroom to wash their hands afterwards to ensure they don’t go on to contaminate:

  • food (human or animal),
  • food preparation surfaces,
  • any item that will be put in a person or animal’s mouth, e.g. a babies dummy, fork, sweet, chewing gum, cigarette, cigar, pipe, dog chew, dog toy or ball,
  • any part of a person or animal’s body, e.g. eyes, nose, mucus membranes.”

Mushroom – Edible Or Not?

While walking my dog Leo this morning (17th October 2014) I found this cep – toadstool – mushroom under a Silver Birch tree. I haven’t seen one like it before so I photographed it with my mobile phone. Continue reading “Mushroom Collection of Autumn 2014”

Can Trees Be Transferred To Other Formers?

Introduction

At the end of my article entitled: Are Trees Ectoparasites That Grow On Wood? I asked this question: Can Trees Be Transferred To Other Formers?That article discusses how trees may or may not be parasites that grow on wood.

Once a tree is established it is effectively a living entity growing on a wooden former.

I now wonder if the growing part of a tree can be completely stripped from the wood upon which it grows and made to adhere to, and flourish, on another former: e.g. a concrete or steel frame.

Application – Transferring Trees To Other Formers

Why would anyone want to transfer a tree to alternative formers other than the original wooden trunks they grew on? Maybe to create timber of a particular shape. It would have to be supple enough to be fitted to the new shape, but if it continued to grow it would presumably deposit wood onto that new former as the years progressed and its living fibres died to form new timber underneath. After several years that new timber could be harvested with its desired shape.

Are Trees Parasites That Grow On Wood?

Introduction

I have asked myself for some time, “Are trees parasites that grow on wood? i.e. ectoparasites.” (An ectoparasite lives on the outside of its host.) Mainly this is because only the outer layers of a tree are alive. The inner part of the tree – the wood or timber – is dead. It was alive in previous years but in later years it is only the support for new growth. Consider all the old hollowed out trees: e.g. those hollowed out by wood rot. The outer layers continue to grow year on year. It is only when the outer layers are severed so that sap cannot get up the tree from the outer layers of the roots to the outer layers of the twigs with the leaves attached that the tree dies.

Are Trees Parasites That Grow On Wood?

I Found A Good Example

I have recently seen one of the best examples of tree growth behaving like an ectoparasite on the surface of wood in my local park (Alvaston Park, Derby, UK). You can see it here in these two pictures of a linden tree showing the front and back of the tree.

This one tree has two strips of living bark running up it. The front view shows quite a narrow strip running up it, and the view from behind shows a wider strip. The tree has been truncated at the top by the park keeper at some time.

The Oxford Dictionary describes a parasite as: An organism which lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense. So on the strength of that description a tree is not a parasite since it isn’t taking nutrients from a living host at its expense (unlike mistletoe). The wood is dead.

I Found Another Example

trees parasites
An oak tree at Calke Abbey, South Derbyshire, clinging onto the remains of its old trunk.

In the picture above (taken 2017-11-06) you can see another example where the outer layers of an oak tree are being supported by the wood of the inner tree which is still standing. A large part of the original tree trunk has broken away in the past. The living part of the oak looks like a parasite on a dead tree.

Can Trees Be Transferred To Other Formers?

See my article of the same title: Can Trees Be Transferred To Other Formers?

Pine Martens Are Saving The Red Squirrel

Introduction

I found an article in The Telegraph entitled, “Red squirrels are fighting back against the greys, experts claim.” It implies pine martens are saving the red squirrel as well as a grey squirrel trapping program. That was introduced to reduce the grey population and give the reds a chance of survival.

The red squirrel shown in the featured image was seen in Doxford, Northumberland.

Pine Martens To The Rescue

Pine Marten Are Saving The Red Squirrel
A Scottish Pine Marten

Apparently predatory pine martens are saving the red squirrel (see image above) as they are inclined to eat grey squirrels which they find nice and plump. The pine marten can catch the grey because they move slowly. This has been found in a study of red squirrels in Northern Ireland where the pine marten isn’t so rare as first thought.

Goldfinches Eating Nyjer Seed? Yes

Cleaning My Feeder

Spring 2014 is on the way and I want to see goldfinches eating nyjer seed again. So after a wet winter I have cleaned my bird feeders. I’ve only had a Nyjer Seed feeder for two years and have kept it out during both winters. I might not do that next winter since the rain soaks into them through the feeding holes and ruins the Nyjer seeds below the top perches of the feeder. Some start to grow, the rest rot and go mouldy. Any goldfinches that come along can’t eat the seed and in the end it’s just wasted. Above the perches it stays dry so it can be salvaged. In my case I separated the good seed and made sure it was dry by spreading it out on a dustpan in the sunshine.

I completely dismantled my feeders for mixed seed and nyjer seed and washed all the parts in soapy water and then reassembled them when dry.

Here is a good article about feeding nyjer seed to goldfinches from East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

Continue reading “Goldfinches Eating Nyjer Seed? Yes”