It was over to Marks Mansion this morning, to finish laying the stepping stone slabs at the bottom of the garden.
I'd just got off the bus and was taking the shortcut when I spotted something on a grass verge by the road. It was a Hedgehog, a large one, and it was laid out flat with all four legs splayed. Fearing the worst, I stroked its nose and it moved and soon curled up in to a ball. It was alive ! I checked him over (I'm 99% certain it's a male) and there were no maggots, which may have indicated an old injury, and there was no blood, which may have indicated a fresh injury. But why was it out in the open in hot sunshine ? And why had it been laying flat out ? I couldn't leave it, so carefully put it in my bag and took it to Mum's.
We put it in a cardboard box with some water and dried cat biscuits while we decided what to do.
I'm not going to name all the wildlife associations that I called. They all do a great job. But it appears not many of them work weekends, which I found very strange. One of them even told me they weren't interested as they had no room to take in any more hogs. Another very well known association doesn't even let you speak directly to anyone at weekends, you have to call back during week day office hours. Several times I was referred to local Vets, and they all said their surgery hours were now closed. After calling every one I could think of, I tried one more Vet which is very near to where Mum lives. They suggested as the hog wasn't in any apparent pain or suffering, was drinking water and eating food, that we should keep him over the weekend and get him checked over by an association or vet on Monday morning.
Well the Lady of the Manor had no problems with that at all. We had already both got quite attached to our little hog. We called him Spike, and set him up in a little run on the patio. We don't want him in a cardboard box all weekend. Spikes temporary home has a shallow dish of water and another of food, and we made him a den out of a couple of house bricks, a few old terracotta tiles and a big bundle of leaf litter.
He made straight for the den when we put him in, and for the rest of the day we checked on him hourly by lifting up one of the tiles. It didn't take him long to curl up in the leaf litter and fall asleep.
I did take a little vid clip of him snoring, but for some reason I cannot upload it to this blog post.
When I left Marks Mansion later in the day, the Lady of the Manor was already planning on what to give Spike for his tea ! One of her friends on another forum recommended we soak the cat biscuits in water and mash them up a bit, and also recommended we feed Spike some mashed cooked carrots.
At this rate Spike isn't going to want to be released back in to the wild !!
Because Mum's garden doesn't have hogs visiting, we cannot release him there. All we can do now is look after him until Monday. Let's hope the little man makes it.
So while Spike slept and snored, I went back to Operation Garden Meadow.
When I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was planning to plant a small meadow, a very dear friend of mine messaged me to say he had some left over seeds from the Kew Garden 'Grow Wild' project and would send them to me. I was expecting a couple of packets of seeds, but look what I received instead.......
Ten packets of un-opened seeds, plus two Bee 'hotels' and a really useful guide !! I'm absolutely over the moon. Thank you so much Derik. The coffee and cake are on me when we next meet up. Knowing I had more than enough seeds for my patch at the bottom of the 'estate', I couldn't resist sowing some seeds in a pot so I can get a little show of them this year, rather than having to wait until next year to see the meadow flowers.
After that I finished placing and laying all the slabs for the stepping stone path. Because of the slight slope of the garden, I've had to position the slabs in to the soil like mini steps, ascending downwards.
At the top of the garden the plant 'mind-your-own-business' has considerably spread. I really love this hardy little plant. It's mat forming so suppresses weeds, and it's fast growing too. I know it's not really a native wild plant, but it will certainly do well planted in between the slabs while I source some native saxifrage and other low growing and spreading hardy plants. I placed some out today around one of the slabs, and am really pleased with the effect.
So it was a very interesting and productive day. I'm back at Marks Mansion next week to maybe help Mum dig over her patch, and to maybe dig over mine before covering it with membrane again until next year.