As a couple of weeks pass, I am finding more and more that things in the garden are changing. Things are growing and blooming, which is great for extra photos as I see them.
The Iris plants by the pond came out in the last week, very bright and vibrant flowers with an unusual shape and pattern to them.
The wild strawberry plants a month ago looked like weeds, they were growing out of the paving and I nearly removed them, but now today the little strawberries have started to be more noticeable and there is actually quite a lot of them. Something I suppose will not last too long as I am sure birds and things will eat them before they have a chance to be fully ripe.
Finally, these two dragonflies landed right next to me by the pond, after months of skulking around ponds looking for them in my last module and not really getting a successful image. Finally, a week after my deadline for Consultancy, I had the chance to get a close up picture of a couple of them. The same day I also encountered a monster dragonfly, I couldn’t get close to it, not that I wanted to anyway with the size of it!
I was so excited when the Wildlife camera arrived, as I could finally get to see what was eating the foods I was leaving out, its been about a week now where I have been leaving the camera in a few different places to try and find activity, and I will share some of the videos below that I captured.
I started off by leaving the camera on the tall bird table at the bottom of the garden with some food on it, and the first couple of triggers are a magpie, which may seem like common birds but they are actually very cute and quite bold, I probably have a video of one of these most mornings at around 5 or 6, coming to see whats left in the little bowls I have been leaving out.
A couple of videos of this one little one show him eating enough to last him a while, so I left the camera again hoping something else would get a chance for a look as well.
Finally a little Chaffinch came and ate in front of the camera too which I think is very cute, and showed me how the camera works quite well at detecting motion. When the wind picked up, it did start detecting the motion of the trees behind and I did get quite a lot of these empty frames, but the positioning of the camera can help this, so lower to the ground where there is less likely to be any movement is better.
My first night I caught some field mice feeding out of the bowl, which was very cute. Not the hedgehogs I was hoping for, but also not the rats I was dreading. Since we stopped owning farm animals, I have not noticed many rats at all in the garden and this is not something I would want to encourage again.
I moved the camera around the garden a little and swapped the dog biscuits for cat biscuits, however that night, the only video was a large cat eating all the food and then leaving. I did not want to encourage neighbours cats in the garden either, we do not have neighbours where our gardens meet or join, so cats actually have to cross roads and walk a little distance to come here, and if they know there is food they will continue. So I next just set the camera up where it could see quite a long stretch of the garden or hedgerow, with a 20m trigger distance I figured at least I could know what was there and where they maybe go. A couple of nights went by without really catching anything, I tried putting one close to my front gate as I often hear movement at around midnight when I am getting out of my car after my nightly phonecall.
To see them like this without any food or anything being set up there is great as it means this is probably somewhere that they spend a lot of time. I also thought this may be a place to see hedgehogs as I have seen one up here before.
My next steps were to think of how to narrow down things that I was feeding, the cat food does seem to be something hedgehogs like better than the dog biscuits but I do not want to just feed cats. I found a tutorial for making a hedgehog feeding station online, which was basically a plastic box with a hedgehog sized hole in it and a maze made from bricks to ensure that nothing bigger could get to the food. I improvised a little with this, due to all of my plastic boxes being in use for holding fabrics. I found an old case for a boiler that had already been out in the garden a while, I blocked up one end of it and used bricks to seal up the other side, leaving a small hole for an entrance with a little maze, I then found a large tile which made a little roof for it to stop a cat just stepping into it too. There was even a hole in the top of it which I can cover and uncover to put food in and out of it easily. I left the camera with this in view last night, I was not expecting much as I suspect this would have to get used to movement near their homes, but I continue to play around with this each night, which has turned into a bit of a hobby now too, and hopefully I will have more to show another time.
Living in the countryside has its perks, one of which being the large garden we have, full of a variety of different plants, trees and even wildlife. I spent some time walking around slowly, down every hedgerow and round every tree, seeing what different plants I could find that I had not seen before, that would suit my research.
My garden provided a lot of different varieties of plants and flowers as well, and plenty of blossom on the tress, it is a good time to be taking photos now I think especially with the good weather as well. I plan to use these in my book to create some interesting experiments from it.
Following on from the trip to Llansteffan beach, I began to think about the inspiration of fish. I love animals and I always think about the possibility of including them in my work, but in terms of textiles I have always been inspired by architecture and structure. During a visit to a pet store, I saw a great deal of soft floating fish that I found inspiring, I could imagine them being created with interesting fringing or even as a soft watercolour painting in Procreate.
I found the colours in them very vibrant and interesting as well, I thought this would make for an interesting colour palette along with the blues of the water too. I know that I have an aquarium visit lined up next month too so this is something to think about.