Friday, 19 February 2016

Spring Nectar

The bees are out. 

Green flower power

It's the early flowering in this unusually early spring, as our Mediterranean Buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus) produces its anonymous wee green flowers. 

The Buckthorns are buzzing with bees - my wee black bees, and big bumble bees. Spring has sprung.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Donkey Tears

Arran the donkey has a swollen eye.

A week ago, the swelling completely closed the eye, and he looked very dejected. We started washing it with a tea made from thyme (the local treatment for eye infections) and called Vicenç the donkey vet. By then, Laialuing had also developed a similarly swollen eye.

With the help of Vicenç we managed to get the swelling down so that he could use fluorescent eye drops to look for injury in the eye. He found a tiny spine. This means that the probable cause of the swelling is the falling spines from Pine Processionary (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) larvae. These spines have a barbed end like a wee harpoon, and cause stinging and a rash. Perhaps because of the mild winter we have a serious outbreak of Pine Processionary nests across the Croft and neighbouring land, so the donkeys can easily be infected. 

We are looking into ways of controlling the Processionary population but the blighters live at the top of our tallest pine trees so they are hard to reach...