Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rescue 911: Hedgehog Edition

One sunny day, Mamma and I had been out picking strawberries in my parents' field. We were already on our way indoors with a bowl full, when Mamma decided to show me some new trees they'd recently planted. A good thing she did, because next to these trees, on the other side of the fence, is the neighbours' strawberry field. In it we saw this:

A poor little baby hedgehog, stuck in the strawberry net!

We immediately called for Pappa and my brother and organized a rescue. The neighbours were away, so Pappa decided to go check things out closer and cleared the fence with haste (and style).

The strawberry net was attached tightly to the hoglet's spines, so Pappa cut him out...

...and handed the little one to me to get the rest of the net off.

The net turned out to be wound tightly around the poor guy's neck and had to be carefully cut off, with the help of my brother.

The baby hog was so tiny! And completely exhausted after fighting the net in the hot sun for who knows how long, he seemed to fall asleep in my hands as I was checking that we got all the net off. (The red sticky stuff on his fur is strawberry, by the way, nothing serious.)

The baby hedgehog is one of three that live in our yard with their mommy. We brought him (and a plate of water) near the nest and let him go. He was so shaky on his feet and had to take several breaks on the meter-long walk, but he made it home to the others.

The next day we could breathe out with relief, for we spotted all four hedgehogs alive and well, one of them bravely exploring the lawn. The rescue mission was a success!

(Thanks to Mamma for all the photos! She never forgets the camera.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More photos! Of plants!

The balcony grows and thrives. Well, the plant life in it, that is.

The window box I showed to you earlier has developed quite nicely into what I had in mind. Once the ivy grows a bit bigger I'll be a happy girl. If only the weather would be more cooperative, haven't been able to sit outside and enjoy the pretties for too long.

The veggies in their green box are doing well too, it seems. The box seems rather small these days.

Yum yum yum!

(I have no idea if the radishes are supposed to show like that? Should I cover them up or leave them be?)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Weekend by Morrgan

This weekend, it was time for a ladies' sauna evening. Off to a lakeside cabin a group of us fine ladies went and arrived after much (mis)adventure with missed buses, forgotten bags and car trouble.

What a pretty view awaited us upon arrival! After the enjoying the surroundings a bit, there was much sauna and swimming in the lake. Joy.

lizard We even spotted a couple of lizards.

But oh noes! Rain!

Lots of rain! The most rain ever* poured down from the sky!

(Click on the photos for bigger versions, to see how the lake looked like it was boiling from all the rainfall.)

* This may or may not have been an exaggeration.

strawberry dessert Fortunately we were inside the cabin by then, with much drink and foody delights such as this strawberry dessert. Mmm.

The only problem was that the conversation tended to turn into shouting, in order to hear and be heard over the rain and thunder.

Just as dinner was finished and we were ready to head out to the bus stop, the rain ended and we got to enjoy the setting sun on the opposite shore. A suitable finale for our little weekend excursion.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Fishy Project continues

As is probably easy to guess, I have been busy with the new fish tank. It's fun work though. =) Here's the current view from what has already become my favourite spot on the sofa.

aquarium As you can see it's still quite unfinished, but it's getting better every day. (Excuse the thermometers here and there - there's a new heater in there and I want to be able to easily check that it's doing its job properly.) I thought I'd show these work-in-progress photos as well, to see how the aquarium develops.

For the tech-curious: the blue thing in the back left corner is the biological filter I built, a so-called Hamburg Mattenfilter according to these principles. It's basically a cylinder with a bottom, made of blue foam and containing a water pump. I made one for another tank 5 years ago and it's worked well, although for this I changed the design a bit.

The first few fishies were moved today: a twig catfish (Farlowella sp.), a red-finned or rainbow shark and a bunch of upside-down catfish.

This guy or gal, called Red-Eyes Jr, is the red-finned shark. There's only one because they get very territorial as adults, but s/he's still quite young and seems rather social - s/he's quite taken to the catfish and likes to swim along with them around the aquarium.

Here's a couple of the upside-down catfish. As the name says, the swim mostly upside down which looks awesome. :D They're also lively and really fast, they can swim from one end of the 160 cm long tank to the other in just a few seconds. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised that they have been happily swimming around even with the lights on, I didn't expect that. There's 8 of them now, but another 7 should arrive this weekend, making a decent-sized group of them.

That's all the photos for now, more coming later I bet!

(Aaaaand finally an obligatory fish safety bulletin: if you're setting up a fish tank from scratch, adding fish this soon is not a good idea. Fish produce nitrogen compounds that turn into ammonia/ammonium, which is poisonous to the fish. In a mature aquarium, the ammonia/ammonium is quickly changed into nitrite (a litte less dangerous), which in turn is changed to nitrate (fairly harmless). All this is done by certain bacteria, which need to be grown in the tank before fish can be added - this process is called "cycling". In this case, I moved over not only the fish from the old aquarium, but also the mature filter, some sand and decorations - all of which contain the "nice" bacteria that are mentioned above. I'll also be checking the nitrite & nitrate levels regularly just in case, so the fishies will be safe.)

Sunday, July 05, 2009


It has arrived! My new aquarium is here, with its delicious 160x48x48 centimeters and 370 liters (that's about 63x19x19 inches and 98 US gallons for you non-metricians). Yum! =) It was custom-built with special measurements and a stand that goes with our bookshelf, and was brought into our livingroom on Friday (sooner than I expected) by the guy who made it and his son. A handmade aquarium and stand fits a crafter, I suppose?

The new tank is inspected by my giant knitted Pleko. He's quite interested in that big piece of wood, I think.

This is a dream-come-true type of thing. I've been planning and saving up for this for years, and now with the new apartment I'm finally able to get a nice big aquarium for my fishies. I'll combine fish from two of my old tanks into this one, but there should be room for one or two new species as well.

(By the way, the piece of wood in the left corner is heavy. It occured to me, as I was dragging it home through town from the fish shop, sweating and gritting my teeth in the hot sun and with passers-by looking rather amused, that I must really be some kind of an idiot. Why else would I not only do things like that, but pay money for this "pleasure" and be ridiculously happy about finally being able to get this expensive and heavy log? Yeah. Sounds like an idiot to me.)

It is almost as long as me. =)

The wood is scrubbed (ugh) and the sand is washed (UGH). I skipped the last 20 kg of sand and went for "only" 60 kg. The sand looks great, natural-looking with a reddish tint, but it is awful to wash. I've rinsed it at least a billion times and the water is still cloudy. I believe the result will be worth the back ache, though. The good news is, all the annoying labour is done and now it's on to decorating it and other such fun bits! Yay!

Current status: Half-filled and full of tiny dust. Not quite there yet.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

FREEDOOOOOOM! Or, an interesting fishy tidbit.

While impatiently waiting for my new big tank to arrive (oh yes, it's on its way, all 160 cm of it), I have been amusing myself by looking up various fish species and planning what to put in said big tank. I came across this video while looking up info on hillstream loaches.

"Muahaha! Your silly glass boxes can't keep ME inside! FREEDOOOOOOOOM!"

As is often the case with seemingly baffling fish behaviour, it has its roots in the way the fish behave in the wild - in the case of this climbing action, it's how they travel past fast currents. Here's a neat article for those inclined to read more about this behaviour.
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