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Monday, 8 December 2014

No room at the inn?!

 You may remember here that I told you we had built a bug hotel for the insects to shelter in over winter?  Well I can't tell of course whether or not there are any guests resting inside but what I can tell you is that I have a colony of ladybirds who either couldn't get a booking there or perhaps thought Bug Hotel? No Thanks! and are now residing in our bedroom window!

We have a dormer window and the curtains hang on dormer rods as you can see above,

There is a narrow gap between the window frame and the hinge of the dormer rod just the right size for a little group of ladybirds to settle!  If you click on the pic to enlarge it you may be able to make out the little colony as a dark line.  I am surprised that they didn't choose the other side since the side they have picked is the side whose window is left open a little all the time except when we go out and it must surely be rather draughty.  But maybe that makes for easier entrance and escape.  Last winter we had ladybirds in the corners of the window frames and I had to be careful not to close the windows tight but to leave them on the locked but ventilated position or I would have squashed the little dears and there was a small group of them actually on the curtain who didn't seem to mind being swung backwards and forwards every time we opened or closed the curtain.  They are ideal house guests since they make no noise, they require nothing to eat nor do they leave any mess when come the spring they just disappear.

I notice too that in the compost bins there are many woodlice and a few snails settled in round the woodwork of the lid and first storey who don't seem to mind that the lid is lifted at least once each day letting in the cold air!  Maybe the bug hotel just wasn't large enough for them all!

 The bird table is a hive of activity what with the birds and the squirrels, who are so cheeky and get house points for perseverence.  We don't want squirrels to eat all the food and leave none for the birds but they too are wildlife and who are we to decide who shall live and who shall starve?  They can't help being squirrels can they?!

I also have a healthy number of spiders in the conservatory to judge by the cobwebs.  It is unheated so I don't spend much time out there and they can stay till the spring when they will be evicted during the course of the ritual known as spring cleaning.

So as you can see we do our bit for wildlife here even to the extent of sharing our home with them if there is no room at the inn or the inn is not perhaps to their liking!

Nothing to do with insects or wildlife but I did breadmaking workshop on Saturday.  I used to make a lot of bread and was pretty successful but lately my bread isn't as delicious as I might wish so I enrolled on the course and spent a happy and fun filled afternoon with 6 other students at Emma's bakery in the Real Food Shop in Exeter.

 We produced a 100% wholemeal loaf each, a foccacia embedded with olives, some Greek rolls called Daktyla topped with sesame seeds and a small loaf of soda bread - all of them organic.  I struggled home on the train with all my bread still warm from the oven and we enjoyed the foccacia for supper, I froze the Greek buns and we are both eating the wholemeal which is amazing since Mr M never normally touches wholemeal!  I have to say the soda bread (which contained seeds) has been made into breadcrumbs and the squirrels are enjoying that!  It was far too dry by Sunday and we could only eat so much bread on Saturday evening!

It was a fun afternoon and I learned that one of the reasons my bread is so dense normally might be because "wetter is better" and mine was always on the dry side when I mixed it, not to put the salt near the yeast until you are ready to mix it all together and the slower the rising the better the bread and the better its keeping qualities so no need to put it somewhere warm at all it just takes longer.  I am planning to sign up for the Improvers workshops in the new year and am inspired to bake more once we have eaten what we have!!


  1. How wonderful you have a little colony of hibernating ladybirds...we didn't see any round our home and garden this year which was rather sad, despite our attempts to encourage them and provide various bug hotels etc....for them.

    The bread looks great - sounds like it was a fun workshop.

  2. Your bread looks so delicious! I can almost smell it.

  3. Ladybirds (ladybugs we call them) are such great little things to have residing in one's garden. In one's home - not so much.
    Your breadmaking adventure had great results!

  4. The breadmaking workshop sounds really good fun. I use a bread machine, and usually exactly the same recipe all the time too... I could do with branching out a bit!

  5. Awe that's brilliant having little ladybird lodgers, do you know I hardly saw a ladybird at all this year!! I have a bug hotel too and I often wonder if anyone is in there!
    V x

  6. I found you in your online home! It is so cosy and caring, and I just love those bug hotels too!!! Thank you my dear for your kind words and presence, I can smell the warm bread mmmmmm:~))

  7. Your bread looks amazing. I usually make bread crumbs and put them in the freezer for anything I need breadcrumbs for......
    Think I might seek out a bug hotel for the garden, but saying that wasps took up residence in my bird box!
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  8. I love the whole process of bread-making - very therapeutic. It's sad that it's so impractical to do it for one person.

  9. I can't now shake the thought of a Trip Advisor for bugs. Perhaps the ladybirds read a bad review.

    That bread looks scrummy!

  10. A bread making course sounds wonderful. I love to make bread but it does always feel like a bit of mystery to me compared to other cooking and baking.

  11. I love the cosy bug hotel. I would have enjoyed the bread making course and the greek buns. x

  12. Where in Dorset are you? I should love to meet up, after we have moved to Ferndown!

  13. That bread looks delicious! I still have the sourdough 'beast' going strong in my fridge if you fancy another go at that! C x

  14. Your garden is a real wildlife haven!
    Your baking looks wonderful.
    I let Silve know you asked after her, she will no doubt be in touch.


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