Ted will take himself off for a mooch round the garden, but little Pops is always by my side.
I realise I haven't seen them for a while.
I call them.
I realise the side gate is open, which is the cue for instant panic from me that some bugger's stolen them (although Ted would bark his head off and Pops would growl and neither of them did).
I go into the garden and call again.
No sign of two doggy people coming running.
I shout to L in a slightly-hysterical way to come and help me look for the dogs because they are missing, and just as he comes outside Pops appears from the top of the garden with a face and paws and tummy covered in soil, followed a second later by Teddy who is equally dirty, and more obviously so being white.
Where have you been? I ask them in the sort of Very Cross Voice you use when you've been frightened and then recovered.
They exchange a look then Poppy puts her paw up and says 'we've been digging in the compost heap, mum! It's Great Fun! Come and see what we've found!'
So we go back up the garden together, the two dogs bounding ahead with tails furiously wagging, and as we reach the pond I notice a small clutch of white eggs lying on the grass.
My heart sinks when I recognise them. They are Grass Snake eggs.
Oh No! I wail. What have you two done?!
They look uncertainly at me, then at the eggs, then at each other. Ted knows digging up snake eggs is naughty and he looks away, embarrassed, but Poppy just keeps looking straight at me with those big brown eyes of hers and wags her tail ferociously as if that's the secret to dealing with all humans.
I scoop up the eggs which feel heavy and full, shoo the dogs back down the garden and put them into the house, locking them in as I go. Then I return to the compost heap which has an enormous scoop hole dug out of it and find several more eggs lying exposed.
I buried them all as best I could and just hope the little snakes inside weren't hurt and will survive. Grass Snakes have been on my mind all week and I've been keeping an eye out for them but with no success. When M got home he built up the wire around the compost heap so now there is no chance of two small terrier people getting in and unearthing them again.
Needless to say they are furious.
|They are safely buried under all this leafy/ soily stuff|
|Large Skipper on kidney vetch|
|Narrow-bordered 5 spot burnet moth|
|Essex Skipper (note the black under tips to the antennae which distinguish it from the otherwise identical Small Skipper)|
|Volucella zonaria (a beautiful big glossy hover fly)|
|Marbled white with red parasitic mite Trombidium breei which does not affect it|
I'll leave you with a pic of the the dogs, looking content in all this warm weather we are having....
And clean again...for now :-)