Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.


There are many wonderful, magical facts that are learnt about animals and birds over a lifetime – here is one that I recently found out about: powder down. Like moths and butterflies which have fine like powder on their wings in the form of overlapping scales, birds produce a dusting of waxy like powder over their feathers which is called powder down. In the case of birds the powder is designed to help waterproof their bodies from the rain. Occasionally, we are able to see this when a bird flies into a pane of glass usually twixt the end of one day and before the dawn of the next. A friend forwarded a picture of a bird imprint in powder down on to me when they found one on their office window.

Powder down impression

Powder down bird impression

Powder down imprint of a bird on a pane

Bird impression in powder down on a window pane

Country Quips:

    • Our life on Earth enables us to glimpse the beauty of Heaven.


Wonder why they say that perennials are best planted in October? I have been trying to fill up some of the bare patches that developed in the garden borders due to last years extended cold and snow bound Winter. So many plants withered and died. I don’t think that we have ever lost so many at once before. So there has been a need to purchase more and hopefully find some that will weather a little better than before. This not only means they need to be able to withstand the cold but also the ever changing weather patterns – whether we are experiencing lack of rainfall, blustery winds, torrential downpours or any other unusual combination of weather conditions.

It has been very dry this year in England and trying to plant out deep rooted perennials has proved to be very difficult. Some of the roots have required not only depth but half an arms length in several directions. The easiest of the gap fillers has been some of the more common of the Spring bulbs.

I am hoping for a wonderful garden of Eden next year … I hope that these new plants all take and do not disappoint!

One plant that I have always wanted to introduce into the garden is the perennial or everlasting sweet pea. As it is known for its length of flowering time and the quantity of flowers produced it was a popular flower during Victorian times. I have bought five small plants which have been placed by two of the apple trees to hopefully eventually form a pretty backdrop to the far border … all they have to do is Winter well this first year and then they should be sturdy enough to bring years of beautiful colour … I do hope that they survive.

Everlasting Sweet Pea

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Peas

Perennial or Everlasting Sweet Peas

‘What a big belly you have!’

As I have said before, October is a very strange month. The other day I was greeted with a large, round, female spider nearly ready to lay her eggs. This particular spider is more at home in a bush but somehow had gained access to my kitchen. Perhaps she senses that there is a very, very cold spell on the way as they are not noted for venturing indoors very often. Time will tell … I hope that it isn’t a portend to extreme weather …

Araneus quadratus - female full of eggs - October 2011

Araneus quadratus - female full of eggs

Sober October

It is important to be optimistic especially in the month of October. This month takes more than it gives; hates more than it loves; curses more than it nurses: it is a month that is often feared. Whether it’s the damp, the dark nights, the wet, the wind or something that is indefinable the chances are if you catch a cold or a cough in October it will last nearly up until Christmas!



This is the most wonderful Indian Summer with temperatures soaring not only in the tail of September but the mouth of October. October 1st it is claimed has been the hottest on record and in the Midlands has nearly tipped 30º Centigrade which is around 86º Fahrenheit. Phew! It is magnificent. I am so glad that there is no air conditioning – just plain old-fashioned windows – so that I can embrace every last second of Summertime even as we are well into Autumn!

Country Quips:

    • The longest journey is often caused through the shortest argument.