A Game of Toads …

Don’t run over that random stone in the road!
Chances are, that in some areas over the last few weeks, it has been Bufo bufo aka The Common Toad AND more likely than not, the random stone, wasn’t one Toad, but Two!
The much smaller Male Toad, on top of the larger Female Toad.
And this is known as travelling in Amplexus.
Basically, it is mating time and they are en-route to their breeding ground.
You will even get Triple Amplexus, two males.
And on the odd occasion, the Female may well have picked herself up & kissed a Frog.

The breeding ground, can vary, Garden Pond, Lake, Woodland Pond, Roadside Ditch etc
If you see the surface bubbling away, then you may be lucky to see dozens of Toads underneath, in Amplexus and Spawning away.
You may hear them too, but for that fantastic sound, then nighttime is the best.
We have a few Amphibians in the garden here at Tulloch and you can here them at night, but, the best sound comes from the Forest Pond, on a still night, it is incredible to hear Bufo bufo echoing across The Glen.

Over this last month, we have seen many on our travels, I never tire of this time, Nature and Spring are waking up.
I will give them a helping hand across the road if I think they are in great danger.
Oh and remember to keep your Dogs away from them!
Sharing a few Toady images for you
– Karen – x

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Lurking Under The Surface

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Watching For His Mate

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Triple Amplexus and a Passer By

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Just Hanging Around

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Nearly At The Pond

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In Amplexus

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Watch Where You Step!

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At The Roadside

 

A Squirrel In The Chicken Coop…

A quiet Sunday and McTufty decided it was time for lunch, which meant time to visit Tulloch.
Because it was quiet, McTufty took a good look around, including going into the Chicken Coop!
McTufty fancied a change for lunch, so wanting a lazy Sunday, opted for ground feeding & Sunflower Hearts instead of Peanuts.
But, McTufty wasn’t the only one!
The Chickens had made the same plans.
A new and unusual friendship was soon formed…

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Venturing In …

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And Taking A Look Around

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Who’d live in a house like this?

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Lunch on the ground

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McTufty Keeping A Low Profile, Hoping The Chickens Wouldn’t Notice

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You’re A Funny Looking Chicken!

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Lets Lunch Together & Have a Wee Blether

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Time To Say Farewell for Today…

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…And With A Swish of the Tail, McTufty Was Gone

Going Through Changes …

Christmas and the eve of New Years Eve has given me some time for reflection, the changes life has brought in 2018 and the changes which lie ahead for 2019.
And Christmas is a quiet affair this time, just doesn’t feel like Christmas to be honest. The absence of my dear Father is probably greater than ever.
Boxing Day Morning, took a phone call from one of our closest friends, who sadly broke the news to me of another old friend who passed away on Christmas Eve, he was just 46 years old, could have knocked me over with a feather and my thoughts are with his family.
2018, I will not be sorry to see you go, though yet I hang onto you, for you are the last time I spoke to Dad.

And there have been other big changes too!
When I hit half a century in August, it was also the start of another new era…
I now have a new camera (Hope you are sitting down), am now shooting with an Olympus! (For those interested – OM-D E-M1 Mark II)

No, I did not think that I would be saying that either, but there you go.
To cut a long story short, I haven’t totally said goodbye to Nikon, have still got one body & lenses, but the D5 & the D800 have gone to new homes.
I was in two minds about all this, but am absolutely loving using The Olympus (McOly), once I got my head around the menu system (Still doing that ha ha), it is a breath of fresh air and a joy to use and you may not realise, but you’ve been looking at Olympus images for the last couple of months now.
I scoffed when my Camera Dealer was prepared to bet me that I would leave Nikon within 6 months, he wasn’t far wrong and am looking forward to shooting more with it.
I will then see what happens when Olympus upgrade & Nikon release the Z8!

Nature has changed this year at Tulloch too, Curlews were drastically down in numbers this time and there are less Deer this season, as yet not the usual amount of visitors round Tulloch Garden, hopefully we will see some once proper winter arrives, just so mild the now.
We are usually so lucky to have thousands of Geese flying over, now they’ve been flying south of Kindrogan summit, with only the odd skein passing over us.
Fieldfares arrived early, then them too absent again.
One solitary Brambling feeding here for 10 days now and one Siskin, who, is a few weeks early.
Pleased to report that some healthy looking Greenfinch have reappeared, though some Chaffinch now seem to be carrying a similar illness to Trichomonosis and here is some  Info from BTO
Christmas Day afternoon, about dusk, feeding & bedding up the Tulloch Menagerie , when a Woodcock flew low over the house & paddock, fantastic!

I will leave it here for now, with a song choice to match and I wish for better changes for us all in 2019, walk your life & make it count.
I’ll be seeing you next year – Karen – x

Kelly & Ozzy Osbourne – Changes

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The Dunnock & The Holly

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Sunrise

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Floods

 

I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden …

Monday – Barclay was at his Spa Day today and returned pm looking & smelling lovely, shame it doesn’t last long.

Some nice visitors and a surprise visit from Scotland For All. Good chat and I await to see if TWSG warrants a mention with them.

Tuesday am, Windy and cool again. The gallery signs ended up staying down as they constantly blew down!
Straw & Hay just refused to be swept up this morning.

Was in a miserable mood this morning, which was no good for me or the animals and because it affects them, that made me more miserable.

Pet Lamb managed to seize the opportunity and get into the house, so him and Barclay ran amok and our Dutch guests continued to have breakfast and seemed oblivious to it all. I had warned them it was a mad house!

We had (Please note I said HAD), a lovely climbing Rose on the Kitchen wall. Pet Lamb had been having the odd nibble, but nothing too damaging, but, along came McKenzie and he decided he was partial to it as well. Thing was, his nibbles lot bigger than Pet Lambs! Then, today an eating competition of said Rose began between them, which resulted in McKenzie getting the very last flower from it!
We are now just left with bare wall & few twigs!

Lovely visit from a friend this afternoon, who spoilt me with a bouquet of stunning Peonies and some delicious local Strawberries. Felt very blessed.

Wednesday, I do believe Pet Lamb has gone off Parsnip!! Was doing Grocery Shop, so ordered him some Kale. McKenzie on the other hand, was very keen for Parsnip.

Thursday am, stepped out with Morning Coffee to destruction! Gates half knocked over, wooden stag planter was knocked over and beheaded and a chewed up wicker bird feeder (Sorry Dawn)

Sky engineer came this afternoon. Barclay went crazy! Pet Lamb chased him out of the paddock & McKenzie left a fresh pile of manure near his van, then Bruce decided to go for a full spur attack! This all happened within about 10min and I’m sure he thought he was visiting the Beverly Hillbillies or something!

The longest day, but I was in bed by 8pm.
Our recent guests had suggested I look into Mindfulness, they thought it would be beneficial for me.
I mentioned this in a Facebook post and got great support & advice about it.

Friday morning, woken by the Farmer and the Poodle!

The Poodle has found the pony muck and began to eat it!
The tame sheep was butting the doors wanting to be in the house. I gave him some kale to pacify him, he just came back for more!
Car wouldn’t start.
Everything was in absolute chaos.
I text Alistair two say about car and that I was so done in, then went to beat the hell out of some butter & sugar, which would result in a sunken Lemon cake!
Then, I heard a “Good Morning” echo through the hoose.
Alistair had actually driven back up to Tulloch to see to the car and see that I was okay.
Now love shows itself in many forms and this was one of those forms.
Was cross with Alistair for making the journey, but yet was so happy to see him.
I was stood in what looked like a bomb site, whilst emptying Kitchen Bin, bag had split over the floor, baking ingredients everywhere, I spilt me coffee and had me arm stuck in fleece pocket instead of sleeve.
Alistair was laughing and just laughed & laughed.
It was a priceless moment and his wee surprise visit made my day.

As did the dozen or so bikers who would shortly follow to visit TWSG … AND … they thought the Lemon Cake was delicious!

Found a poor dead Blue tit fledgling on the lawn this morning.

I hadn’t told Alistair, but McKenzie likes to play with the hosepipe and there has been a couple of rips appear in it. Today whilst hosing the yard, the almighty of bangs. The hosepipe had exploded! I do not know who got the biggest fright, sheep, pony or me! But do know that I was the one who was soaked! Said hosepipe is now in several bits.
This is a mad house!

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Loch McBasil

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Seat in Tulloch Meadow

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Feeling blessed with my beautiful peonies

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Before…

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…After Sheep & Pony attack!

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McKenzie got the last flower!

Half a year gone ….

And you are gone.

Over half way through June.
The year is going by far too quickly.

We have two lots of House Martins nesting, on a night in bed you can hear them chattering, tis lovely.
Swallows diving in and out of the stable, but nae as many as last season.

It has been hot, can you believe way too hot, then Thursday Storm Hector paid us a wee visit and yesterday was torrential downpour, the yard was about flooded!

And we now have a Pony living at Tulloch! Two mugs broken and a Garden Parasol demolished this last week! And as I’m sat typing this, Alistair reckons he’s messed up the Sky dish too!
He is a proper Thelwell character!
Am hoping that all the animals will get on together (Eventually)

I can’t say I’ve had time to enjoy this Spring. Work is nonstop and that is why I have now blocked off Airbnb and am taking no more bookings. Still too soon to say if I am finishing it forever, but certainly come August I am done for now.
Exhausted and really struggling to cope, never mind not getting any Photography done and I need to be and WANT to be.
And The Wee Scottish Gallery is coming into its own, yet lots more to do there too.
Just work, work, work, hence behind on this journal too, it HAS to change.
On a positive note, oh boy, the sleep, the Gravity Blanket is awesome!

And talking of Photography, am (Can you believe), looking at trying something other than Nikon!
I think I have decided to trade in one of the McNikons!!
More on that if/when etc

Mum came up for flying visit this weekend, waved her off again this morning, far too short.
But, your ashes are now with me Father and I do so hope that you can hear me talking to you.

I want to wish you Happy Fathers Day Dad and to tell you that I miss you every day, as does Mum.

There is a huge void in our life’s, which try as we might, it will never be filled.

Life is changing again but more on that on a future post.
Just want to talk to you again
Karen x

Spring Lambs …

What a manic couple of weeks! And way behind with my journal. It has been nonstop busy! But … the joyous news is … that I have been sleeping! The Gravity Blanket seems to be doing its stuff. I have still woken during the nights, but managed to pretty much fall right back to sleep again. I am nae very good at explaining things, but the gravity blanket is the most amazing feeling. I have my fathers legs , now those of you who know , will know that this is not necessarily a good thing, yet this weighted blanket makes them feel so light and I’ve had no aches during the night from them.

18th April – Saw my first Lambs of the Spring.

Lost me phone in the evening. I’d left it in the Fridge! I know, well, don’t know, so please don’t ask.

Haven’t had a Brambling in the garden this winter, but this morning (Sunday), heard a noise and there was one in the Cherry Tree above the feeders.

Woke in discomfort, this was due to the Poodle & the nest he had made out of me Gravity Blanket. Told him I would look at getting a kennel for him today!!!

Trying to integrate Barclay and others, McQuack nae impressed and puffs himself out at Barclay! Also, think Barclay fancies the Tame Sheep!

Tuesday 24th April 7.30pm – The first Swallow has arrived, but a summer it doesn’t make!

Wednesday 25th The Tame Sheep has it in for McQuack and chased him down the glen!

Thursday 26th April – 4.31am, woke to Bruce cock a doodle doing! Wtf!

6.30am Bruce’s song was replaced by that of a Song Thrush, beautiful

Saturday 28th April – Beautiful but frosty and a covering of fresh snow on the hills.

Alistair in earlier tonight, so we headed off to the pub for tea.

Sunday 29th April – Cool start but beautiful & it soon warmed up.

Visitor sat out with Coffee enjoying the sunshine, when McDuck appeared off her nest and without warning, pretty much beat the hell out of Bruce the Cockerel! She soon had him literally pinned to the grass and was showing no mercy! I had to intervene with a stick, then Bruce turned on me! The visitor just sat drinking his coffee taking it all in!

1st May – Seriously, where is this year going to?!! May Gosling, but still no sign of Ducklings yet, surely can’t be long now? Though Muscovy do take 35 days.

2nd May – Another manic day and just as manic tomorrow. All will be revealed (Hopefully) at the weekend. It was a downpour last night and the river was in full flow this morning.

Looking out onto more new born lambs as I type this.

All in in all, it’s been a stressful couple of of weeks and the Tulloch menagerie are still running amok.

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McDucks Downy Nest

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Alistair & McQuack

Gravity …

Continuing on Saturday 14th, was just thinking about Bedfordshire, when we notice the outside light come on, there was a pussy cat visiting Tulloch. All I saw was it’s wee white paws. Barclay was beside himself!

Sunday 15th – And 2.10am wide awake, oh and cramp thrown in for good measure. WHAT? Was Loch building yesterday, does that not warrant a wee bit of extra sleep at least??! AND I had taken two sleep Gummies!

Struggled on throughout the day, but come 3pm I could do no more. Tonight I would move back into the marital bed after having a few nights in spare room. Don’t think it really matters where I sleep, I still struggle.

Monday 16th – Awoke at 4, but nae up til 5, this was good. Had woke earlier with a hand across my face, but Alistair said this was due to the fact he has been able to spread out the last couple of nights! Mixed weather, but milder at least. Great progress with the Gallery extension. I mounted prints for best part of the morning, then it was website work and hopefully getting SEO sorted.

Noticed McQuack spent most of the day swimming on Loch McBasil, which saying that Muscovy Ducks are different to other Ducks and usually don’t do ponds etc, am impressed. McDuck was late off the nest this evening for her break. She is doing ever so well, I’m counting down the days til Duckageddon, so she surely must be.

Woodpeckers, Wagtails & Siskins all very active.

Tuesday 17th – And up at silly o clock, laid in sunroom for a while listening to the rain on the roof, 5.30am, could feel sleep coming on, so away back to bed I went, Alistair would get up and Barclay would join me. And 15min later, ”twas no good, up again!

Still a downpour and we got wet in said downpour.

Exciting progress with the gallery extension today, an entrance has been cut through. Gives us a much better idea of the finished project. Whilst Jim, Dawid & I were stood admiring their work, main door crashed open and tame sheep ran amok through gallery!!

Delivery this afternoon and … did you heed my words and take shares out in insomnia industry?? I hope so, as the Gravity Blanket has arrived! So heavy, that Alistair had to carry it upstairs for me, but I have every faith in this product and it will be worth every penny if I get some decent sleep. *Watch This Space*