Happy 7th Birthday Max

Friday 17th July 2015

It was Max’s 7th birthday today. As a treat I took him down to the beach at Hamworthy in the morning (Jez stayed in bed). We had some sun and some cloud, but as you can see it was very breezy.

Kiteboarder

Max was a really happy boy though.

The birthday boy was happy to be at the beach

There were even more jellyfish washed up along the beach today. I think they were a mixture of blue jellyfish…

Possibly a blue jellyfish

And the smaller compass jellyfish.

Compass Jellyfish?

Walking around Ham Common I came across the first ripe blackberries of the year.

First ripe blackberries this year

There were also hundreds of Common Red Soldier Beetles on both the cow parsley and the ragwort.

Common Red Soldier Beetle

In the afternoon we had presents, although Max was more interested in his chew.

Never mind the toys and card, Max has got a chew.

Here’s a nice photo of the birthday boy.

Max on his 7th Birthday

Just before he tried to chew the ear off his new toy.

Try not to pull it's ear off just yet please Max!

And of course Jez had to get in on the act as well.

Jez tries out Max's new toy

But it was all too exhausting for Max.

Tired out

Until the cakes appeared though – at which point he woke up again!

Max's birthday cakes

I hope he enjoyed his birthday.

A year ago today

It was, of course, Max’s 6th birthday, and here he is with his cakes.

There were doggy and human birthday cakes

A fairly gentle day today

Sunday 21st September 2014

Well, that said, I started the day by baking bread, making ice cream and making a chocolate cake. The latter was because I wanted to use up the cream cheese icing I had left over from last week. I choose to use a Devil’s Food Cake recipe, and then fill it with blackcurrant jam and some of the cream cheese icing, before topping it with the icing.

Chocolate Cake

I have to say it was a great success and I’ll be making that again!

Max is still on very short walks and Chris took him out round Creekmoor Ponds a couple of times today. In the afternoon I took Jez over to Canford Heath. I thought I would give her a treat by taking her up the Red Brick path, but Jez, being Jez, had other ideas. First off, she decided we were going down the Red Brick Path. And then we went under the road and followed the footpath in the direction of Hatch Pond. We never got that far though. After a few hundred yards Jez decided she’d had enough and lay down.

Jez is having yet another rest

It took me ages to move her on again, and when we did move we headed straight back up the Red Brick path to where we’d joined it and then back to the car. So that was my walk for the afternoon.

A year ago today

We went to Upton Heath where we met the cows.

Getting to know you

A birthday lunch

Sunday 14th September 2014

Today was the day of Jezebel’s birthday lunch. I invited Dad over. It was a bit strange, as today is also Pat’s birthday, but as she is now living with her son and has family staying locally I assumed that they would take her out to lunch. So it was just me, Chris, Dad, Jez and Max today. As we had not had cakes on Friday I made Jez’s birthday cakes today. I tried out a new recipe for Strawberries and Cream cupcakes. The cakes have diced fresh strawberries in them, and are then decorated with a vanilla cream cheese icing.

Strawberry & cream cupcakes

They were a big success: really scrummy. I will be making those again!

After lunch Dad and I took the dogs around Creekmoor Ponds for a walk.

Creekmoor Ponds

Max is still limping badly at anything other than walking pace, so I have increased his Metacam dose a bit (on the vet’s advice we were giving him less than he can take for his weight).

I may not be finding many fungi on the heaths, but they seem to be thriving around the Ponds. I found these by the side of the path, but have not managed to identify them yet but I’m pretty certain they are of the Amanita family again and so poisonous. The Birch Bracket Fungi are also growing out of control this year, and there were some lovely specimens like this one.

Birch Bracket Fungus

Dad went home late afternoon, and I packed him off with cakes and leftovers. Then I had a bath and settled down to an evening of TV.

A year ago today

We went for a walk on Upton Heath.

View across Upton Heath

A timely walk in Wareham Forest

Sunday 31st August 2014

Jez went out for quite a long walk with Chris and Max this morning while I made blackberry ice cream.

Today I made blackberry ice cream

I think it will go quite nicely with apple pie.

As she had had a long walk this morning, I wasn’t really expecting Jez to come with me and Max this afternoon, but right at the last minute she decided she wanted to come too. I took both dogs out to the Sika Trail at Wareham Forest as it was fairly warm and sunny and I knew there would be lots of water there for them.

Unfortunately, the weather might have been quite nice, but my photography was not up to scratch, despite the fact I had the EOS 6D with the 70-300mm lens on it again. Which just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how good your equipment is, if you’re not a good photographer you will nearly always get rubbish photographs. I do have 4 to share from today though.

Firstly we have Max on the path.

Max in Wareham Forest

Jez is hidden in a water-filled ditch behind that long grass to the right of him!

And here is Jez, herself, if the Dragonfly Pool.

Jez in the Dragonfly Pool

Walking along the bottom path this little patch of heather caught my eye, with the sun nicely behind it.

Heather

And lastly, this is the view as we headed back to the car. As you can see, by this time the clouds were gathering and the sun was starting to go in.

Wareham Forest

We got back to the car park and Jez had a little rest before we got in the car to come home. We must have left a little while after 4.30pm. Which is why I say our visit was timely, as at just before 5pm the first calls were received by the fire brigade about a large fire at the landfill waste tip just outside Wareham (along the same road as the Sika Trail). If you are in the UK and have seen it on the news you will know that it’s a huge fire that is expected to burn for several day. So we had our walk out at Wareham just in time.

A year ago today

Jez spent a lot of her walk lying down again.

A lot of Jez's walk was spent lying down on the verges

Time for some Macro photography in the garden

Wednesday 30th July 2014

But first we had to go on our morning walk. As it was another fairly hot, sunny day we headed to the River Stour at Cowgrove. Jez seems to have got into the habit of coming on morning walks again, so she came along too.

This is a view along the river where we play.

River Stour at Cowgrove

And here is Jez in the water. The river has dropped about 3 inches since last week and Jez is struggling to find water deep enough to wet her back.

The river is so shallow now Jez can't find water deep enough to cover her shoulders

As we walked on round the path I spotted this lovely little wild orchid.

Wild Orchid

And then it was back to Eye Bridge and the car park. But not before I took this photo looking down river from Eye Bridge.

River Stour from Eye Bridge

When we got home I busied myself making some sausage rolls for lunch.

Making suasage rolls for lunch

And then in the afternoon I took the EOS 6D out into the garden with my 10mm lens fitted to try my hand at macro photography again. As usual the oregano was the best spot for visiting insects. There was this little Mint Month.

Mint Moth on Oregano

And this hoverfly (Eristalis tenax).

Hoverfly (Eristalis tenax) on Oregano

And, of course, the bees.

Bee feasting on Oregano

I had my biggest surprise over the other side of the garden, though, where I spotted a Banded Hoverfly. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one before. They are the UK’s largest hoverfly at around 2cm long.

Belted Hoverfly

I was pleased with today’s results. I am still having problems with the focus, but my experiments a few months ago with depth of field seem to have paid off.

A year ago today

It was pretty wet. Max and I went to Upton Country Park.

A change in the weather

Max and I are back over Upton Heath

Sunday 27th July 2014

Jez has been in a funny mood today. She thought she wanted to go for a walk in the morning with Chris and Max, but Chris tried 3 different locations to get her to walk for more than a few minutes, and each time she wandered around and then went back to the car. So in the end he bought her home. Meanwhile, I got on with baking rolls for lunch and making some strawberry ice cream, which you can see here churning away.

Churning Strawberry Ice Cream

Jez didn’t want to come out in the afternoon with me either (I’m wondering if she’s a bit off colour after her walk in the heat yesterday afternoon), so in the end it was just Max and I that went over Upton Heath.

Upton Heath Panorama

We started off up the Roman Road, and as I was walking along something caught my eye in the undergrowth at the side of the track. At first I thought it was two very light coloured leaves, but on closer inspection I discovered it was two Large Emerald Moths.

Large Emerald Moths

I’ve never seen those before, so got quite excited. At which point the battery in my camera gave out, which is why all of the other photos are taken on my iPhone.

Insects seem to abound on the Heath at the moment. We hadn’t gone far before I spotted this gorse bush covered in a huge web. What I don’t know (and couldn’t see) is whether it was made by spiders or caterpillars.

Web covered gorse

Max and I went up to the Viewpoint (where I took that panorama), then round the back of the hill before coming down to the lower heath. Once there Max went in the deeper pond in the centre of the heath (he’d already been in his favourite pond near the Pits).

Max in the deep pond

After that we walked back along the Roman Road to the car.

You will be pleased to know that Jez perked up in the evening and was keen to go for a walk: very keen to go for a very fast-paced walk. Poor Chris!

A year ago today

Guess what! We were on Upton Heath, where it was a bit wet.

Slick Boards

A wet Easter Sunday

Sunday 20th April 2014

I felt so sorry for all of the people who had planned Easter Egg hunts down this way today. It chucked it down with rain for most of the day, and certainly from noon until mid-afternoon. Oddly enough it brightened up and we had some sunshine around teatime, but I digress. S

So as it was Easter Sunday I cooked roast leg of lamb for lunch. Well, for Dad, Pat and I. Chris doesn’t like lamb so I cooked him a port chop. This was the lamb just before it went in the oven.

The lamb ready for the oven

I have to say, it was very tasty. So tasty, in fact, that Dad couldn’t wait for us all to sit down and I caught him sat at the table nibbling it.

Caught sneaking a nibble of the lamb

We did all manage to sit down and eat eventually, though.

Easter Sunday lunch

I have one more photo from today (sadly, I forgot to take a photo of the Simnel cake I made). Of Max and Pat of the sofa.

Max is in seventh heaven

A year ago today

We went for a walk on Upton Heath, and on the way home I managed to take my favourite photo of Max in Creekmoor Ponds.

Max in Creekmoor Ponds