Go to the Talks page for news about not one, not two, but three talks - on Birch trees, the Isle of Purbeck and organic farming. Something for everyone and so good to have these to look forward to.
.. that's, Can wildlife and modern farming co-exits? Peter Thompson gave the answer as a resounding 'yes' - given the four Ps - Payments, People, Planning and Passion. And it's happening right here on our doorstep, with farming 'clusters' which are turning away from
ploughing on bare earth to a range of conservations measures that not only benefit farmers with increased yields, but are massively beneficial to wildlife.
Meanwhile, try the earthworm challenge that Peter issued: take a shovel-full of soil from your own garden and see how many earthworms there are in it. If you've got 16, you're Doing Your Bit!
Go to Talks/whatyoumissed for the full story, and links to the organisations spearheading green revolution.
Keep on running to stay fit - but keep an eye on the ground and you may be like Archie Thomas who found a new variety of apple when out running 'in the Nadder Valley' according to BBC and The Guardian. which also has a photo of the golden apple.
Two other media items: one with a mix of good and bad news about farmed animals.
The other closer to home, about how you might be right if you think you've seen a swallow, as an increasing number often of juveniles, are staying put in the UK. Not, sadly, with very good chance of making it through the winter.
Peter Thompson's talk to over 30 members via Zoom last Thursday (19 November) really cheered me up. Many local farmers both in the Nadder Valley and round Martin Down south of the Chalke Valley, have formed into 'clusters' to undertake wildlife, soil and water conservation initiatives on the 'landscape' scale necessary to make any significant impact. There are now at least 140 such clusters in England. A fuller account of this excellent talk - our first 'virtual' evening meeting (but more to come) - will follow.
But more encouragement meantime via Maggie Paul of Nadder Community Energy, who recommended the film, Kiss the Ground, 'Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson, it's an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis.' There's also a book, for those without Netflix.
There's a complementary film, Living soil. made by the Soil Health Institute in the US, which is available on YouTube.
Woody Harrison who like me initially tended towards despair, concludes, ' I'm not giving up. So you shouldn't, either.'
For several years now, I've found it's not unusual to find a lost or exhausted honeybee and have to try to resuscitate it - this one's sipping a drop of honey I put on a flower for it. It gives me such a kick when they fly off purposefully.
The Wildlife Trusts' Action for Insects booklet is full of ideas you can work on now to help insects next summer. It's downloadable here, one of two ideas for helping insects from the RHS in this month's Wild about Gardens bulletin.
The other is that is a good time to be planting hedges, so why not forget the yew and the box and try some from a list of the 'ten great choices of native flowering and fruiting shrubs for hedging.'
Chairman Peter Shallcross's monthly update includes some fascinating detail from Andrew Graham about how our native mammals and amphibians hibernate. Even in this mild weather they're hunkering down, as I found when I began heaving bags of rubble from garden works out to my car to take to the 'dump'. I found a toad and now feel guilty that I just had to move him, but put a big heap of 'strulch' on top of him, and will add some decorative bark to that.
I'm very fond of my apparently several toads - I found this one in a stand-off with a large slug, detected 'heavy breathing' under strulch I'd used to compost a rose, and saw one just looking out of his splendid 'hole' - realising exactly why that favourite dish is called just that! And I found a tiny newt in my parking bay which I took to a neighbour who has a little pond - it went straight into a cosy crevice.
But how do these creatures get to my garden? I've found newts, toads and frogs even before that new pond was created.
Read about my theory in the Field Trips/Whatyoumissed account of the Nadder Invertebrates Survey on 19 September.
But how amazing, I'm not sure I had any idea of what a lamprey looked like. I should have been there. Maybe next year ...
The National Gallery's 'Picture of the month' celebrates nature and the symbolism of flowers and insects. This is a lovely series, whether the subject is nature or not.
swift nest on my own house and it's true as she says, that when the parents home in to their young, the other swifts - the younger ones that aren't mated - just disappear. Now I know they just go upward till I can't hear them any more. Read on ...
Those of us with gardens could help support Tisbury's bat population - remember Peter Shallcross's report back in the summer (15 August summary on this page and the full report on the MoreNews page, with stats)? The RHS's 'Wild about gardens' campaign this month features an item on 'Welcoming bats in to your garden'
They say, 'Often wrongly thought of as pests, bats are in fact highly efficient natural pest controllers, eating hundreds of tiny insects every night, including many of the pests that can be damaging to some plants. TV presenter Chris Packham and garden designer Juliet Sargeant share how we can help bats this autumn.'
Some of the advice would only be relevant to larger gardens, but there's probably something for everyone and 'every little helps'.
The pages now display photos of moths taken by Andrew Graham. This one's the Puss Moth, looks very soft and cuddly.
This blog is updated usually every 2-4 days, depending of course on what's happening, as also other pages independently or linked from blogposts.
If it's not me, Elizabeth Forbes, website editor (keen but ignorant), I'll say so.