One Man and his Dog

Today Fizz and I were tasked with fetching the sheep down from the top field.

SheepdogA well trained sheepdog is such a joy to watch.

There is a connection between a shepherd and his dog. It starts with choosing the right animal. You need to select a dog that is intelligent and active but most of all it must be eager to please. I would love to show you how this works but…

Obviously I am stuffed πŸ™‚

If Fizz understood every word that I said she would still do the exact opposite. That is her impish sense of fun and playfulness.

In this video I am employing a different sort of connection and half a loaf of bread.

Well it works just the same. Having kept her on the connection for the first half hour I then had to take her somewhere else for a bit of exercise.

FizzHere is a short Robin update.

I am pretty sure that my (soon to be) tame Robin is a male.

The male and female European Robin look just the same and you can’t tell them apart by appearance but they don’t always act the same.

This Robin always takes two worms and then he flies off. He eats the first one. Yesterday when I made this video I was surprised to see him almost a full minute after he had taken the second worm, he still had it and he was flitting around with the worm in his beak and he was managing to sing. Eventually he disappeared under a car with another Robin. I think that he is taking the second worm as a gift and that he is courting and that would make him a male.

Since making this video he has become even tamer and now he sits with me while he eats the first worm Β and then takes a second and flies off. What a nice little Robin πŸ™‚

I will need a lot of worms when they are raising their brood.

Well it has been typical winter weather here and there hasn’t been a lot to see. I could show you some pictures of Haircut. When she came back from the beauty parlour I was careful to keep her clean for the first Β hour but then a dog has got to be a dog…




FizzThere was a short moment in February when she looked almost pristine but you had to be quick to catch it. She is by nature a mucky pup.

FizzGorse is flowering nearby and it isn’t on Easy Wildflowers yet so yesterday I went out to collect some pictures.

I don’t want to spoil you too much because Gorse will probably feature in my next post but it looks like this.





GorseOne last little Robin update, this video was made just a few minutes ago.

On with the wildflowers, this one is in flower now and that is probably how it will be from now on πŸ™‚

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)

Lamium album, The White Dead-nettle

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Description: It looks like a stinging nettle with white flowers.

That is a reasonable description, it does look like a stinging nettle but the two plants are not related. Urtica dioica, the Stinging Nettle is a member of theΒ Urticaceae or Nettle Family and White Dead-nettle is a member of the Mint family.

Unlike the Nettle family the Dead-nettles don’t Β have a sting.

You can’t really confuse the two plants, the flowers are the give away and they start to form almost as soon as the plant appears.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)(White Dead-nettle in February)

Like other Dead-nettles Lamium album has a square stem.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)The leaves grow in opposite pairs.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)The leaves are described as cordate (heart shaped) to ovate (oval with a tapering point). They are deeply veined with a net pattern and the edges are toothed. They are also covered in soft hair on both sides.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)The flowers grow in whorls around the stem and above a pair of leaves.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)The flower is tubular, opening up to a hood and a three lobed lower lip.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Under the hood are four Stamens, two long and two short and just below the anthers you can see the white style with a two lobed stigma.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)The White Dead-nettle is described as having a three lobed lower lip, It has a large central lobe, the two outside lobes are the very small tooth like projections either side of the central lobe in this next picture. They are fairly insignificant.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)The white flower has small green markings at the centre of the Β bottom lip.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Newly emerging flower buds are protected by a five pointed calyx.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)White Dead-nettle is native to the UK, Europe and Asia and naturalised in many other parts of the world.

It is a valuable wild life plant providing a good source of nectar early in the year. It is very popular with bees and is sometimes known as the Bee Nettle. It is the food plant for a number of beetles and moths, including the Golden-Y Moth, the Rivulet, the Burnished Brass and the Speckled Yellow.

Speckled Yellow Moth(Speckled Yellow moth)

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Β White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Β  Β White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Β  Β White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Β White Dead-nettle is edible. Only the youngest leaves are good to eat raw in salads. Once it starts to flower leaves can be steamed or added to soups and stews.

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Taxonomy

Kingdom: Plantae

Order:Β Lamiales

Family:Β Lamiaceae

Genus:Β Lamium

Species:Β LamiumΒ album

White Dead-nettle (Lamium album)Wildflowers in winter.


44 thoughts on “One Man and his Dog”

    1. Thank you Stranger πŸ™‚ I don’t normally go touting for “likes” but I felt an exception was called for in your case. I know that a few of my readers will be pleased to see your comment here. Anyway, I hope that you had a nice time in hospital and the food was better than it is here. I hope that you make a speedy recovery now but take as long as you need, just don’t be a stranger πŸ™‚ and just one eye? Can I call you Patch?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a real pirate now 😊 thankfully not for too long, just a few more days. The food was… Well, I lost weight – so just guess about the food. I’m glad to be back, stranger or not, I’ll work my way up to the top again.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Dan πŸ™‚ Normally I correct obvious little typo’s but I am not sure that you didn’t mean to write “glowers” those Gorse flowers do appear to glow πŸ™‚ You will never see Fizz so clean again.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. That’s so cute that you managed to keep her clean for a whole hour, cos that girl does like her mud. Your flower info is always great. But I really liked your videos today, the sheep coming over but probably most of all….your little robin eating from your hand! You are a patient nature lover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarasin πŸ™‚ That patience is going to pay off. I have fed the Robin five times this morning and each time he has lit on my hand. I still have to get on my knees but he gets braver every day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John πŸ™‚ I am wondering what will happen next. Hoping that my bird will successfully find a mate (He has an edge with his gifts) and that they will raise a brood here. I could end up feeding the whole family πŸ™‚


  2. Your robin diplomacy is coming along well. Thank you for showing us some of it! I enjoyed seeing gorse. And that dead nettle plant- have you noticed the flower with those dark parts looks a bit like a spider’s face? The dark parts look like the larger sets of eyes, if you can believe that.
    Here we are getting another six inches of snow. We have finally gotten above freezing. I plan on trekking up to my woods for some apple twigs for our pet rabbit. He’ll love a fresh batch, it’s been so long since he had a good solid branch to chew on. The things we do for our animal friends! Take good care and thanks for all you share.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Some of the Dead Nettles look as if they are laughing. This is one o my favorite posts. I love how the sheep came running and were all around you. Loved the birds eating out of your hand and the flowers were beautiful. I think Fizz is made of mud. LOL πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Did I not tell you that perhaps one day the sweet bird would eat from your hand. There is something magical between you, Fizz, the sheep and now the robin. Perhaps another robin will join him. You have a way with the “beasties” as you refer to them. I enjoyed the videos.
    I await another Blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome Robin videos! In the sheep video, Fizz’s front and back look so much alike, I thought he was walking backwards. I would call in our sheep by hitting on a feed bucket… they’d come running so fast I had to get out of the way or they would have knocked me down. They were a party-crashing lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joy πŸ™‚ Our sheep respond well to the feed bucket but we still have to go and find them, the fields are a bit big. I know exactly what you mean about Fizz, when I first met her I wasn’t sure which end to pat and which end to kick. It doesn’t really make much difference which end I talk to, she still does whatever she wants, regardless.


  6. Now that Fizz’s character is well-known to us, I giggle to see her fresh from the beauty parlor all trim and neat. Not her style at all!
    Love the robin and sheep videos – my cat liked the robin, especially. πŸ˜‰ She is an indoor kitty, so it is almost as good as the real thing. Your training is impressive, coming along well. I hope he does have a family – how fun to have a whole brood visiting for lunch.
    When do the swallows return? It must be soon, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eliza πŸ™‚ The first Swallow photographs that I took were on April 14th but they started to arrive about a week before that. It took them the best part of three moths to fly down to South Africa so I expect they are well on their way by now. I always used to think of Swallows spending the summer in the UK and winter in SA but in fact five or six months of their year is spent travelling. They are here for about five months so that doesn’t leave them long in South Africa.


      1. I can’t imagine what it takes to do that year after year. And why do they go so far when they could perhaps winter on the Nile instead? Wild life is so endlessly amazing to me.


  7. A great show! I enjoyed the videos–sheep looking like part of the family, and the robin you’ve befriended. I agree–you have a way with animals–including Fizz. Also with showing and describing the details of plants and flowers–insects, too. Thanks so much. I love this blog and getting these snapshots of your life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Elouise πŸ™‚ Today I have been playing a new game with my Robin, holding my hand just off the floor so that he actually has to fly onto it. He is a bit nervous but has landed a couple of times, straight on and off again, it is a just a matter of getting used to the idea. The sooner I can get off my knees the better πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nothing like a good mud bath to keep Fizz young and beautiful πŸ˜‰ As for the Robin, perhaps you have a Casanova on your hand, worming his way in with the ladies :D. The glowers and the gnettles are lovely too πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Stephanie πŸ™‚ I am doing my best to assist Casanova in his courtship. The Robin fledglings were cheeky enough last year, coming into my flat and ransacking my drawers, I am sure they will quickly learn to take food from me πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Although the male and female Robin appear identical (to us) just prior to the breeding season (about now) females are usually slightly bigger than males. Although some mothers are bigger than others :0) This is to give them the additional energy required for egg production.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marc πŸ™‚ A good point but it is pretty much impossible to do a size comparison unless I get them both on my hand at once. Yesterday, I opened my door and saw a Robin but not in the usual place. It was looking at me and singing loudly but didn’t approach. Then a second Robin arrived, my Robin, and took his worm and then flew off with the second. I think that my Robin is already under the thumb. She saw me and called to him to go and get the worms. Now I am not suggesting that the female of the species is always the bossy one but more and more I am inclined to think that from his behaviour my bird is male πŸ™‚


  10. Loved the part about sheepdogs. My shih tzu looked in a mirror one day and thought she saw a collie, and she’s been trying to chase sheep ever since. We’ve had several serious talks about it, but I haven’t managed to convince her that this is a Very Bad Idea. At the moment, I’m trying dog biscuits: We see a sheep, she gets a biscuit, therefore I am more interesting that the sheep. Works well. As long as she’s on a leash.


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