19 September 2014

Animal Adventures

First was Tony the optimistic tortoise, he belongs to the Worley household, part of their eclectic smallholding's menagerie. He did have a partner but he wandered off never to be seen again, the delights of greenhouse were insufficient to hold his attention and he dug out of the border.  Well now it seems that Tony has also taken a liking to escapism. A shuffling and rustling sound came from the room where his raised two storey tortoise table resides (no effort or expense is spared for Worley livestock, they are the only people I know to have potted up dandelions just to feed the animals!!) shortly followed by a thud - Tony had climbed to the top of his table and mountaineered over the edge only to fall to earth landing shell-side down.  Mr W put him back in his table run, only for similar noises to be heard later that night and he had again climbed out, this time he was put to bed and the lights turned out (that stopped him). After discussions it's been decided that the top tier needs a higher boundary wall which will be this weekends project.  His adventures are quite apt as the optimistic, flying tortoise picture was doing the rounds again on twitter this week (see it here if it's not reached you yet).
Next comes the new cat in the neigbourhood, he's called Toby and is a handsome tiger striped tabby with white socks, he's adopted CMH and has taken to following her home.  His owner says he likes having two houses, well he's not moving into ours, Hebe would soon make sure of that and if she failed then I would have to evict him in favour of breathing!  However, he's a hunter cat and is quite amusing to watch stalking through the field, he does favour small rodents above birds; no, he won't wear a collar he simply shreds them before leaving the broken pieces scattered in his wake and keeping him indoors apparently means his household gets no peace so out he goes.  As his adopted second household so far we've had two vole sized gifts left by the gate (he's learning not to venture into the garden, dog patrol is ensuring he remembers too), Dido very carefully picks them up and delicately drops them at my feet as if to say, "OK, Boss, I've found it and brought it - now what?".  We are faring much better than his primary household who receive very regular 'presents' of the, usually dead, furry kind; the other morning his owner came down for breakfast, made a coffee and sat catching up on the TV news before starting on breakfast proper.  Later a flat mouse was found on the sofa - HB is still shivering with revulsion at thought of it.
And last is one of HB's sprollie pups who slid under a gate to gaze at (she promises it was only to gaze and not to investigate more closely and never to chase) the wooly sheep but in doing so also ran into the electric fence. She beat a hasty retreat!

And for the resident arachnaphobe, to help deal with our spider conumdrum partially answering my plea for "ideas for 10 reasons why spiders are wonderful and should be welcomed" OPAL have published a new guide helping identification of common household spiders. Find out more about our eight-legged lodgers here, or download the guide (PDF).

This week the weather has been dire: thick fog every day, and when it rolls out a little it is only replaced by misty, damp, dreich murk all very autumnal particularly the fences and gates festooned with cobwebs decorated with crystalline dew drops, all except for the temperature which has been tropical for the time of year. Last night when I put the dogs out before bed it was 15oC - positively balmy!

15 September 2014

Now published: CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with The Conservation Volunteers

Our second offering this year runs to 34 pages in total. The lead article is from The Conservation Volunteers, it details their Employee Action Days, giving some information about how beneficial such volunteering is to the participants and how TCV manage the projects. Trees for Life run Conservation Weeks where participants give up their time to volunteer with tasks such as tree planting, fencing and invasive species management. They run us through a typical week on one of their holidays in Scotland. The European Citizen Science Association introduces itself. Annie Robinson from the University of Aberdeen and OPAL talks about what happened at the Digital Conservation conference and how digital technology should be fully incorporated in to nature conservation. There are many opportunities to volunteer in zoos; Adam Cook at Dartmoor Zoological Park discusses the importance of volunteer involvement in his research work and how you can help out. Wildfowl & Wetland Trust talk about some of their opportunities and how they match volunteer expectations within their recruitment process.  The increasingly important role of a Volunteer Manager is discussed by the Canal & River Trust and Rachael Whaites at South Somerset District Council talks about the apprenticeships that the Council run, why they decided to deliver the service and how much they get from the recruits. Volunteer Groups and how to succeed – Dorset Wildlife Trust give details on the many groups that are run within the county and provide some tips on how best to set up and run such organisations. This edition also includes 99 specific volunteer positions most included only in the Focus and many adverts for projects, websites, work days & volunteering offers.

12 September 2014

The spider conundrum

Following on from last week's conker problem or more precisely the lack of conkers problem a new philosophical debate has been in progress and so far no side has 'won'.

If, due the aforementioned shortage of conkers, you can't dissuade the spiders from entering or setting up house (web) in your home what's the best thing to do?
I favour the eviction route, carefully shepherding them out of the nearest window, usually to a background chorus of "no, it'll only come back when you're not looking".  However, it's been pointed out that this might not be very kind, turning out a poor unsuspecting Sid into the the cold, possibly wet, dark night (yes, it's usually night-time when they make their present felt isn't it) to fall two storeys to the hard concrete or soggy grass below.  Not to mention the stress of being caught or trapped and then tossed aside.
So perhaps it's best simply to leave them be and to remove any offending webs? But then again our eight-legged friend has spent many hours carefully constructing their webby home and to thoughtlessly destroy it could be even less kind than the eviction route and maybe even worse because of the additional energy and resources our arachnid will have to expend creating a new one.
Which leaves us with the arachnaphobe's favourite of all out extermination. Swift, decisive, low stress (to spider and person - apparently) and permanent.
Alternatively I could try the 'spiders are actually very nice' approach and change points of view.  It worked on moths (look at the lovely furry body, and those fantastic antenna, this one is a 'Mr' moth with the feathery ones and, wow, such wonderful wing colours) and to a lesser extent on craneflies (look, it's not a spider, it's only got six legs, oh,dear,- they fall off, this one only has five now - go on grab a daddy long legs and turn it out). Any ideas for 10 reasons why spiders are wonderful and should be welcomed? or am I fighting a losing battle, according to news from The Telegraph arachnophobia is all down your ancestry.

So onto other nature news.
On Wednesday an osprey passed by on its way south, a very rare occurrence for us and certainly note worthy. It was just above the moor (opposite the office) circling on thermals gaining height and not in slightest bit bothered by the mobbing corvids and gulls before setting off again with barely a wingflap required.
We've had several hares in the field in the evenings this past week and one evening when the sheep had wandered off the field was alive with rabbits before the local hunting cat meandered through!

Remember Mr W's monster marrow? It was ripening too early due a lack of thermals, well that won't happen again as HB is donating some old-fashioned traditional thick wool long johns from her Gran.  However, it turns out the marrow wasn't just ripening it was in fact rotting inside.  Once this calamity was discovered Mr W harvested it to put into cold store in the hope that it would survive until it could be exhibited at the Harrogate Autumn Show. But it was not to be - as he was carrying the 40+lb fruit down from the veg plot it started pouring out water and began collapsing (only a little but folding inward nevertheless). 

And to finish, the usual numbers: CJS Weekly has just gone to press, 16 pages this week, with 47 adverts for paid posts plus five for volunteers.  it also includes the second 2014 edition of CJS Focus on Volunteers - more about that on Monday.

11 September 2014

CJS Professional: September edition

The latest edition of CJS Professional is now online, read it in full here: www.countryside-jobs.com/Professional/current.htm   You may need to refresh your browser.

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Deer Officer, The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC Head Office near Chester)
Warden (two posts), Thames Basin Heaths Strategic Access Management and Monitoring project, Natural England (Thames Basin Heaths SPA)
Senior Warden, Thames Basin Heaths Strategic Access Management and Monitoring project, Natural England (Thames Basin Heaths SPA)
Rural Estate Head Forester, Grosvenor Estate (Eaton Estate, Cheshire)
Support Officer - Rights of Way, Exmoor National Park
Teaching Trees Education Coordinator,  Royal Forestry Society (RFS HQ, Upton Estate, Banbury, Oxon)
Volunteer Development Officer - North and East, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

CJS Notices:
1.  Apprenticeships and Interns:  Over the past year we've noticed an increasing number of apprenticeship and intern posts being advertised. Therefore, we've created a new section specifically for this type of post and there's free advertising too.
2. Advance Notice: published on Monday CJS Focus on Volunteering, look out for more details in the coming weeks. (included in full in next month's edition)

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for November is 4 pages Click here to read

05 September 2014

Houston, we have a problem

The autumn spiders are already making themselves at home It's only the beginning of September and there in lies the problem. Early autumn (later summer really) and there are no conkers yet.  Despite evidence to the contrary our resident arachnophobe is positive that heaps of conkers dissuade the little eight-leggers from coming in and prevent any that do venture across the threshold from setting up house or maybe that should be web.
Another sign of impending autumn is the arrival of the rugby premiership which delights KH no end (Tigers KO Sat at 3 but no TV coverage of the seismic impact of two Tuilagis meeting on opposing teams, boo, I'll just have to watch the London double header instead) but makes AW sigh at the thought of the long discussions which will ensue in the coming months.

CJS is growing and the office has needed a reshuffle to fit everyone in, meaning I have a new desk and a new view:
I know it looks rather uninspiring here but it's in the middle of a very old hawthorn hedge with a beetle bank and wildflower meadow below and at the moment the hedge is covered in berries: hawthorn, yew, rose hip and all less than 8 feet from my keyboard.  All of which is proving rather distracting, I now have the RPSB Complete Birds open on my desk.  My tally for today is blackbird, blue tit, nuthatch, tree sparrow, great tit, sparrowhawk (well, I think that high speed brown flash was a hawk) and another unidentified warbler - little brown job this time, not so little it's nearly greenfinch-sized and has a lovely chestnut cap, it wasn't here for long (or I didn't see it for long) and didn't notice any 'eyebrows' or any other distinguishing features; typically since the bird book has been open it's not been back.
As I now have the worst wifi in the building (even though I'm only on the other side of the wall from everyone else) the birds give me something to watch whilst things are buffering or at least until the signal booster is moved.

The latest weekly edition is on route to digital subscribers and postal ones will be dispatched tonight as usual, there are 16 pages this week with a whole heap of news, details of surveys and fieldwork opportunities added to the website over the past month plus the usual job ads, 37 ads for paid posts and 7 more for voluntary ones.

03 September 2014

Social networking

It's all the rage.

We're on twitter as @CountrysideJobs and @CountrysideNews, on Facebook (twice, here and here) and LinkedIn, we have Pinterest Boards as well but these have been quiet for quite some time however someone has a new camera so they very well might get busy again!

As you'd expect we send out information about jobs we've advertised, voluntary positions available, snippets of information with helpful hints for job seekers but we also have a big and growing news presence too - tweeting an eclectic but countryside and wildlife related selection of news stories each week day. If you follow us on any of our networks you'll have seen (we hope) that  we now have our own unique short URL, it's c-js.co.uk this means that any link beginning with c-js.co.uk has originated from us even if it directs you to another site.

If you think we should be on any other networks, would like to see more or less of us any others please let us know, you can tweet or post to our page or even send us an email!  We love getting feedback and try to incorporate as many of your suggestions as possible.

29 August 2014

Busy working....

So not much news from the CJS Team this week, but you know what they say - no news is good news, or something like that!

Did you know tomorrow is International Bat Night? A night to celebrate all things die fledermaus. If you're feeling creatively batty Bat Conservation Trust are running a competition to commemorate the night, create something original and inspiring that represents how you celebrated International Bat Night.  We like the sound of bat shaped biscuits (or just biscuits if we're honest!)  There are even prizes. Find out more on the BCT website here.
With batty biscuits in mind were off to put the kettle on...

26 August 2014

Apprenticeships and Interns

Over the past year we've noticed an increasing number of apprenticeship and intern posts being advertised. Therefore, we've created a new section specifically for this type of post.  Like voluntary positions we will include basic details online free of charge on the new Apprenticeships page (here: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/Jobs/apprenticeships.html) and also like volunteers we're offering a discount on paid advertising options.  We're also including details of any found from other sources under a new heading in the CJS Digest but these are in the Weekly newsletter only and not included online.
What's the difference between an apprenticeship and a volunteer placement?  CJS classifies a voluntary placement as one which is totally unpaid or has only out of pocket expenses. Whereas an apprenticeship has some remuneration in addition to a significant level of training leading to a recognised qualification. Occasionally there are a few unpaid internships and we'll include these too.
Click through to see the current adverts, here.  At the moment they're all in one block, most recent additions at the top, however if we find we're getting lots of adverts we will sub-divide the section.
If you have an apprenticeship or intern vacancy send it to CJS for free inclusion, either email us the details or use the online submission form, here.
Do tell us what you think about the new section and let us know if there are any other changes to CJS you'd like to see, email us, ranger@countryside-jobs.com

22 August 2014

Gremlins return from summer holiday

The office IT has been reasonably well behaved for a while and then with a pop (literally) the good behaviour came to an end.  First one of the machines started behaving as if it had just finished a marathon when you'd only asked it to open up a simple word document, then it turned all its pdf icons into firefox ones - IT support came and turned them all back, checked various things and went away.  Next day it blew the power supply unit with a pop and a little wisp of smoke accompanying an odd slightly frazzled smell.  IT support returned took it apart and gave it a new power unit which lasted about an hour - just long enough for them to be on the other side of the hill again before it went pop again!  This time the box disappeared overnight for a thorough gremlin fumigation being returned with another new power unit and a new fan on the CPU on Friday morning (phew, it would be tough to manage a Friday with a workstation down). And so far, say it quietly, no evidence of gremlins.

Wednesday was the 'office outing' not that we went together but everyone (well nearly everyone) took the day to go to the local agricultural show at Egton.  The sun shone, rosettes were awarded, ice cream and bacon butties were consumed and green fields became a shiny sea of cars. A good day was had by all.

TB couldn't resist the goats, although hers were not there - this year! Maybe next.

In other news I had a peregrine try to write itself off on my bonnet / windscreen! Returning from a trip to Pickering slightly to one side and ahead of us we saw a peregrine chasing a grouse across the moor, both banked to a 90degree angle, the grouse disappeared but the falcon kept on coming and with a remarkable "hit the brakes and they'll fly right by" type of manoeuver lifted over the bonnet and whizzed across the car right at eye level flapping hard to gain lift and speed before disappearing across the otherside of the moor.

And after that little lot how about some boring numbers? OK, the latest CJS Weekly has gone to press, 15 pages this week with 35 adverts for paid posts plus 10 for volunteers.

15 August 2014

Little green job

This particular LGJ is flitting about the garden, making itself at home in the deciduous hedge, the mixed shrubbery, up and down the huge Christmas tree, rootling around the herb bed and bobbing in and out of the bug tubs of annuals - pretty much everywhere except on the feeding stations or conveniently in front of any windows for anything longer than ten seconds.  I suppose it makes a change from a little brown job, (OK, it's slightly brownish so shall we call it a little khaki job?).  What is it? That's the million dollar question, I've narrowed it down to a chiff-chaff, a garden warbler or a willow warbler.  We hear all of them so that doesn't help, as outlined above it's not showing any habitat preference and as it won't still still long enough to get a decent look or even better a photo we're still none the wiser and every time I think I've decided next time it looks different - so maybe we have all three!  - and until it's positively ID'd it's a wonderful excuse for gazing out of the windows.
Also seen buzzing across the garden this week was a large green dragonfly, so far just one fly through but we're ever hopeful of more; the butterflies have been busy too, feasting on the globe thistles lots of huge peacocks and over the last few days some red admirals too and yesterday evening a large yellow underwing moth was also spotted.

HB is back in the office this week, recovering from the trials and tribulations of the village show which was by all accounts a wonderful day, warm and sunny with a gentle breeze stopping it from becoming too hot, number of entries was up slightly as well. However, Mr W has his eyes on greater prizes in the form of the heaviest marrow competition at the Harrogate Autumn show but in preparing his entries for the village show he realized he's made a "School boy error" - he forgot his thermals!! Not really being au fait with the world of giant vegetables I have no idea why a marrow would need to wear thermals but apparently it keeps it young and stops it ripening too quickly.  AW says it's already huge and would make enough marrow soup to keep them all fed for several months. The show is not until mid-September so watch out for updates on the marrow.

Despite the many distractions the latest edition of CJS Weekly is printing and digital editions are live, 19 pages this week including the Training Calendar for October, 50 adverts for paid posts plus 6 for volunteers. Watch out for a new section next week!

Next Wednesday is the Egton Show, our local agricultural show and as usual everyone wants to go, which means we'll be short handed and consequently on shorter than usual hours for one day only, thanks for your patience.

14 August 2014

CJS Professional: August edition

The latest edition of CJS Professional is now online, read it in full here: www.countryside-jobs.com/Professional/current.htm   You may need to refresh your browser.

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Countryside Learning Officer, Clinton Devon Estates (East Devon)
School Farm & Environmental Leaning Centre Coordinator, Ravensbourne Environmental Learning Centre (Bromley)
Estate Maintenance Person, Giffords Hall Estate - South Suffolk Estate
Green Spaces team member, Stroud Town Council
Assistant Operations Manager, Maelor Forest Nurseries Limited (just inside Wales on the Welsh/Shropshire border)
Subscriber recruitment, Natur Cymru Ltd (South Wales)
Estate Workers, Woking Borough Council (Dinton Pastures Country Park)
Ecologist, Footprint Ecology (Dorset)
Analyst, Footprint Ecology (Dorset)
Ranger, Northamptonshire County Council (Irchester Country Park)
General Manager, The Penllergare Trust (Swansea)
Farming and Education Officer, Bill Quay Community Farm (outskirts of Gateshead)
Field Assistants, Ecology Solutions  (Several locations: Dorset, Kent, Northamptonshire and West Sussex)

CJS Notices:
1. Can you believe it? CJS is twenty years old and we've published the 1000th edition of CJS Weekly!
2. CJS Focus on Volunteering, in association with TCV, advance notice. Send your free adverts now.
3. CJS Training Directory, bigger and better than before (and more easily searchable too)

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for October is 4 pages Click here to read

08 August 2014

National Lazy Day

Did you know there's such a thing? No, it was news to us too but it will be very welcome seeing as Saturday is Show Day! otherwise known as the most exhausting day of the year... the following Sunday is usually a lazy recovery type of day. So for it to be 'official' just makes it all the more welcome.

However, Maia says every day is Lazy Day - but that's the privilege of a 14yo labrador!

This week a man was foolish enough to pick up an adder, he was bitten three times for his trouble and is now in a critical condition in hospital. We occasionally see adders whilst out and about but not too many because my thunderous footed pack tend to scare them away so it's usually only spring and autumn when the reptiles are a little cold and sluggish that we get to see them.  However, on Sunday afternoon on our way back home we timed it just wrong and had to wait for the steam train to pull out of the station before we could cross the track, Hester and I sat on the steps from the moor to the station and there basking on the raised flower bed edging was a beautiful male common lizard.  Our other unusual sighting this week was not so pleasing, on the back road is the shoulder and top part of a wing from, what I think was, a tawny owl; we have plenty of owls (although maybe not so many this year for some reason) and this a common area for them to roost, nest and hunt, but I've never come across either dead ones or parts of before.

Back in the office the latest edition of CJS Weekly has gone to press, digital editions are on their way, this week there are 13 pages with 47 adverts for paid posts plus four for volunteers.

01 August 2014

Streamlining, holidays and it's Yorkshire Day

We've spent part of the week streamlining the advertisers information online.
CJS is rather complex, with three publications and multiple options in each, and we are aware that's all too easy to get lost in the various options available to advertisers. We started with the Online advertising which now has the basic information on the first page and moved the more in-depth wordy pages further into the website so they're still there if you follow the links.  The online submission form has been simplified too and there's still no need to register to advertise with us.  We'll look at the newsletter advertising information pages next, that's CJS Weekly and CJS Professional with a view to producing a similar basic details page followed by the more detailed information on a second page.
We've also made a couple of changes to the home page to make some information more readily available.
We're open to suggestions for any other alterations and updates, please email us your ideas.

AW is not in the office today, her sister is arriving today from New Zealand for a few weeks catching up with family - needless to say she's very excited!  HB is demob happy because she has a week off next week - although it's not a holiday - holiday; as Chair and Secretary of the Village Flower and Vegetable Show she's spending the week in frantic last minute preparations for the Show which is a week tomorrow (Sat 9th).   In other office news, the latest edition of CJS Weekly is now live and paper copies are printing, this week contains details of Surveys and Fieldwork added to the website over the past month, plus the usual jobs, 42 adverts for paid posts and 15 for voluntary ones.
Being a proud North Yorkshire dog, Hester wishes everyone a Happy Yorkshire Day, but would The Person to stop faffing about and get on with the walk please?  The mug of tea will be at waiting when we get back. Speaking of, time to put the kettle on I think....

27 July 2014

Moving into the 21st century

Woo-hoo. The fibre broadband network has been switched on for Goathland and today we're being upgraded. This means we may be without internet access for some or all of the day. We hope it's for as short a time as possible, fingers crossed.
Update: all done and we're back online.  Catching up now.