Let The Tails Continue – Part 2

Before attending University, I also wrote a trilogy of stories, with my friend Poppy, the cat, about two baby hedgehogs called Itchee and Scratchee. The books were inspired by the hedgehogs that visit our garden on a nightly basis. We are lucky enough to see them from early spring through to the end of October or early November depending on the weather.

Four years ago we had two of the tiniest hoglets we had ever seen turn up on a freezing November night. We brought them inside and put them in a box with some cat food water and a blanket to keep them warm. Unfortunately, during the night, one of them died. The next day, however, another one arrived. We named them Itchee and Scratchee.

I then researched on the internet about how big they needed to be to survive the winter. Ideally they needed to weigh at least 750 grammes. We weighed Itchee and Scratchee on a kitchen scale and Itchee, the smallest one weighed only 110 grammes, whilst Scratchee weighed in at 230 grammes. There was no way that they would survive the winter outside so we decided to bring them into the house.

That evening we bought a rabbit hutch that we found on Gumtree from Tredegar in the next valley over. We cleaned it and put some straw in for bedding and placed it in our lounge next to the radiator. We also put some cat litter into the lid of an old shoe box, hoping that they would learn to use it. Fortunately, they were clever enough to do so. We fed them on wet cat food, crunchies and meal worms and a bowl of fresh water for them to drink. After a week they had doubled in size so we were obviously doing the right thing.

We kept blankets on top of the hutch which could be folded down to prevent them having too  much daylight. My friend Poppy, her kitten, Mini-me and her brother Tyger then decided to sleep on top of the hutch.

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One morning, when I looked in the hutch, there was a bright green lump of jelly in the litter tray. At first I thought it belonged to the boys, some sort of Alien Goo which they used to like playing with. I later found out it wasn’t, so I researched on the internet and found out it was a sign of intestinal worms. If left untreated, the hedgehogs could have died.

Once again, I returned to my computer and found a hedgehog hospital a few miles from our home, in Pontlanfraith. I rang them and they asked us to take them over as soon as possible. Itchee was infected but Scratchee needed treatment too because they had been caged together. After a series of antibiotic injections, they were kept in an incubator where they stayed until March. They were then released back into the wild.

hedgehog hospitalfor bookbaarbPopsBabyHedgehogsFramedfor book

Since then, our hedgehog population has thrived. We now have at least 15 seasonal visitors every night. They have their own plate of food which unfortunately the rats are partial to as well. We have seen a rat and a hedgehog sat side by side munching away many times. We have also gained a new black cat, Bagheera, Baghee for short, who is fascinated by our spiky friends. We are looking forward to the hedgehogs returning in the next fortnight. Last year the first ones were sighted on 16th March.

Baggy and Hedgehogs

All the books are available on Amazon – take a look by clicking on the images.

 

Return of the Hedgehogs

School for Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs book 2 long picture

Me and Poppy welcoming Itchee and Scratchee home.

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Baby Hoglets, drawn by the children of Deri Primary School and Lorna Card’s grandchildren (Tir Y Berth), and their new friends, the Owlet triplets, drawn by myself.

One evening, a couple of years ago, during the summer, we had a surprise. We were sat in the lounge, the back door was open, and we heard a strange scratching noise underneath the table. Upon investigation this is what we saw…Spiky on the books

A cheeky little hedgehog had made his/her way inside.

The TARAGGAN Tale – Bargoed

Doris and her six hoglets

***  Doris and her six baby hoglets  ***

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The TARAGGAN Tale

A concrete jungle atop a mountain,

You made it beautiful, you made it bountiful.

 

Red and yellow and pink and blue,

A rainbow of colours and an Eco-loo.

A green-fingered glory with quite a story,

About those who have tended it and those who inhabit it.

 

A haven for the hedgehogs, who help keep slugs away.

After dark those spiky balls will all come out to play.

There’s Brychan and Gwladys and Doris and her brood,

Tummy’s grumbling they’ll wake up and search the grounds for food.

 

In the daytime welcome feathered friends, like Cheeky and his mates,

Who fly around and feast on fat-balls, nuts and juicy gnats.

And don’t forget Mice Manor, where voles are welcome too,

And the great Buggingham Palace, with creepy crawlies running through.

 

Buzzing bees and pollinators visit for the wildflowers,

And the sensory garden full of herbs with healing powers.

 

The bottle greenhouse is impressive, it’s the biggest of its kind,

Aluminium tool-sheds are packed with tools for you to find,

To till and sow and work the land

And grow great things by your own hand.

 

New potatoes, old potatoes,

Red and orange Tiger tomatoes,

Russian Kale and cabbage green,

Big orange pumpkins for Halloween.

Artichoke heads blowing in the breeze,

Fragrant flowers on tasty sweet peas,

Carrots that help you see in the dark,

Radishes that give your taste-buds a spark,

Onions for frying, so good you’ll be crying,

Beetroot for boiling and juicing and pickling,

A wonderful variety of lettuce hearts,

Succulent strawberries for jamming and tarts,

Fruit bushes laden, ripe for the picking,

Gooseberries, raspberries, blackcurrants for tasting.

 

Aesthetically pleasing and teaming with life,

Once wasteland, now fertile and blooming with growth.

A station for sitting, a scarecrow for scaring,

A spade man, planted, at the entrance, for guarding.   

 

As you stroll along the log lined ash path,

A feeling of peace comes to pass.

Touch the standing stones before you go,

And salute this project that continues to grow.

 

The TARAGGAN Tenants And Residents Association

Green Gym And Nursery, you are an inspiration.

FREE on Kindle for 5 days starting 25th June 2012

Hedgehog Rescue – Saving Itchee & Scratchee, get it FREE on your kindle this week….click on the link below…

http://tinyurl.com/6vnyl2a

Hedgehog Rescue saving Itchee & Scratchee now available on Kindle

Click here to purchase Saving Itchee & Scratchee Kindle version

The cover for the new book Saving Itchee & Scratchee

Left Out in the Cold

 

Two baby hoglets, left out in the cold,

Poor little dwts, they’re not very old.

Their Mam and Dad

have gone to sleep for the winter,

So Scratchee must look after

His little sister,

Itchee’s her name, and she is so small,

Only about two inches tall.

Scratchee must find a place to

keep her warm,

Somewhere they won’t come

To any harm,

Where there’s plenty of water,

And some food for them too,

They need help very soon,

But help from who?