As of February 2016, after 416 posts, and over six and a half years of blogging, I'm taking a break.
I've explained why here. There's plenty of past posts to read, though - hope you enjoy them !
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Amazon US and worldwide but buy from a local bookshop if you can.
Archived posts: The following articles are from the month or year requested:

The geese have started to arrive at Carsebreck !


Last Sunday me and dad went up on a walk on the moors near my house to explore an old abandoned quarry which used to produce millstones 150 years ago. We parked the car on a road nearby, and we we were walking up the hill when we spotted all these birds in the fields opposite. There seemed to be hundred of them all resting in the fields, most of them in one big group. This is really unusual but I worked out what was going on. This is a photograph of just one small part of the main group I saw:

My muntjac deer skull


There are six types of deer in the UK: roe deer, red deer, fallow, sika, Chinese water deer and muntjac. There are lots of deer around my village, but they are all red and roe deer, so it is hard for me to find a skull of the other types. I was lucky that I got my fallow buck skull from the gamekeeper in my village, but I didn't know how to get sika, Chinese water deer or muntjac.

Then in April I got a message through my Facebook fan page from Miss Bowen Hill who lives in Essex in England. She said her dog had found a muntjac skull and was I interested ? I said yes, definitely and she kindly sent it to me !

Stop the cull: sign the petition to save the badgers


This is a short post but it's about something I feel strongly about and I want you to support it too.

This week the Badger Trust lost a court case to stop the government killing badgers. The government want to shoot wild badgers to stop the spread of a disease called bovine tuberculosis, which means thousands of cows every year have to be killed.

I don't have a problem with animals being shot to protect the countryside, and it happens to foxes, rabbits and deer. But there is absolutely no scientific evidence that shooting badgers will protect cows from bovine TB, and it might even make things worse. Shooting badgers for no reason is just stupid.

It would happen only in England. In Wales they are planning to vaccinate (give a medical injection to) badgers. It won't affect anything in Scotland, where I live. That doesn't mean I shouldn't care about it.

There is a very good piece about it on the Huffington Post. You can read more about it at the RSPCA website, and also at the Just Do Something website, and also here and here.

You can show your support by signing this petition (over 15,500 signatures so far) or the one at 38 degrees (over 62,000 !), or email your MP and the Prime Minister about it at the RSPCA website. Do it now !

Researching Ardoch House at RCAHMS


Two weeks ago I wrote about Ardoch House, which was an old country house in my village which was built over 200 years ago but which vanished in the mid 1980s. A man called Mr Forbes from Canada had emailed me telling me about the house, how he explored it in the 1980s and how an old ancestor of his used to work there.

I did a lot of research online, and one of the websites I used was the Canmore database which is run by RCAHMS who are the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historial Monuments  of Scotland. They keep all the records of old buildings, some of which you can see online but some of which you have to  go to their offices in Edinburgh to see.  About a month ago, during the summer holidays, I went with dad to see the photos they had of Ardoch House.

The archeological bones, part 2: the teeth


Two weeks ago I started writing about a box of archeological bones I had been given as a present by someone who was moving to another country. This week I am going to write about the teeth in the box.   There were more teeth in the box than any other type of bone, perhaps because teeth last longer than bone. Some were still in fragments of jaw, and others were just loose by themselves.

You can tell a lot from teeth. They can tell you what type of things it ate, how big it was, how old it was, and sometimes what animal it was. I am really good with red and roe deer teeth because I have absolutely tons of them, but this was more of a puzzle because there were lots of different teeth some of which I had never seen before. It was also harder because when teeth are in a jaw it's easier to tell whether they are molars or pre-molars which are the two types of cheek teeth in animals.

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