Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Baby hedgehog's mealworm munchtime

Nom nom nom! Must admit, the dried mealworms I put out for the birds do smell surprisingly appetising! I scatter them on the raised pebbled border just outside my back door.

The yummy smell comes as a bit of a surprise, actually. It's in direct contrast to the infernal stench of the "Maggot Factory" at the end of my lane when I was growing up, where maggots were bred for the fishing and angling trade. The horrific stink that wafted over the fields to my house at the edge of the village was truly gut-wrenching on hot summer evenings!

But these days, I didn't realised these little dried buddies' aroma would attract the baby hedgehog so close to the house. This delightful close enclounter happened yesterday lunchtime. I saw the little hedgehog toddling along towards me over the concrete patio. As I went out with my mobile phone to capture him on camera, keeping downwind so he wouldn't ball himself up in fright, he clambered up onto the mealworm-scattered pebbly "bird table."

There his little face took on an expression on bliss. Gourmet fare! All for free! The photos here show him enjoying his outing to my humble local restaurant. One of his parents visited again in the afternoon, but didn't venture quite so close. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Hedgehogs - why can't they share the hedge?

The title here is stolen from a groan-worthy funny that was doing the rounds of the social networks recently.

Today my own family of hedgehogs was doing its own spot of social networking!

I regularly see a pair of adult hedgehogs, a male ('boar') and a slightly smaller female ('sow'), snorting and snuffling and chasing one another round the garden in the late spring evenings.

Today I saw the little product of all that frantic noisy courting.

The young hedgehog here is hardly a baby. Baby hedgehogs have soft, flexible spines. But it is certainly a youngster, much smaller than the adults. Adult males sometimes kill their male offspring, so either this one is a lady, or a very lucky little lad!

It was wandering around the garden at 1pm, early this afternoon. It sniffed at bird food, clambering  through the leaves and stems. Now its found its way along this particular hedgehog friendly ramble, I hope I see much more of the family in the summer days to come! 

Can't wait!

These cute little critters can hog my hedge just as much as they like!

The young hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus, the European or Common Hedgehog) exploring my garden

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I'm NOT a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie world!

Was just going to throw this catalogue (should that be cata-lol-ogue?) advertising clerical gear in the recycling bag when I saw this photo again and had to share:

I guess it's pretty much par for the course in "forward" churchy thinking, but seriously? Blue for a boy and pink for a girl (with icky sweet shorty-short sleeves)? In the 21st century, what were they thinking?

OK, so yes, I do own and wear a pink clerical. Yes with short sleeves. In fact I still have the ones I've had since I was ordained in 1999, made before I was a probationer c1996, hand-stitched by a company in Yorkshire and made to last!

But I also have a blue one. And a yellow one. And a green one, several black ones and one of a weird washed-out shade that was dyed like that accidentally when my washing machine broke and the shirt found itself unexpectedly stewing for hours with non-colourfast band t-shirts, socks and other more colourful fabrics!

This photo made me laugh. One of those slightly manic, others-might-despair sort of laughs. Nice shirts, though, no doubt. Just saying. Suppose we should just be grateful to be pictured at all! 

On the same theme, this wonderful photo that's been doing the rounds of the Facebook-Tumblr-Twitter-sphere. You've probably seen it by now. It's an advert for Body Shop challenging society's idea of ideal female beauty and perfection. It's powerful and so spot-on. 

Sadly, the advert was apparently banned when Barbie INC, who own the rights to the Barbie imagery, decided it didn't reflect well on them. That's why it's now being shared and reblogged all over the social networks to stop the usual "pretty in pink" message being the only one getting across to vulnerable men and women who feel pressurised to conform to society's phoney norms.

To misquote the lyrics of Aqua's European hit "Barbie Girl":

'I'm NOT a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world,
Wrapped in plastic, it's NOT fantastic.'

It won't be fantastic, till we all learn to value everybody for who they are, just as they are, and give each other a little respect. Not damaging each other with stereotypes, labels and unhelpful nonsense pushing people into 'little boxes made of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same' (Malvina Reynolds, lyrics to "Little Boxes" a hit for Pete Seeger in 1963).

Rant over. Pink shirt alongside the blue in the closet.