Monday, 9 February 2009

A silent world - well, almost.

The snow has left us hardly at all. It lies with its crisp topping icing the roofs and carpeting the ground everywhere. It has blanketed the farm in a strange sort of silence. This morning, the farmer being away for the day, I ventured forth with Tess on a long lead to walk round the fields. Well muffled up in long socks, woolly hat, scarf and gloves I soon realised that I was greatly overdressed. By the time I reached the first field if I had closed my eyes to shut out the snow I could have been walking on a fine Spring day.
The eerie silence is broken first by a small flock of long tailed tits working the hedge on my right. They flit up and down the bare black branches of the hawthorn looking for food and chatting busily as they go. I stand and watch as they reach, then pass me on their search.
Here and there rabbit tracks criss-cross the snow, particularly near to the barn known to have a rabbit warren under the floor. And across the corner of the same field the straight track of what might be a fox. The farmer has seen one several times lately, and if it is a vixen then she may well have young cubs by now. She will find searching for food for them very hard in this weather.
An army helicopter buzzes overhead, breaking the silence - as Ronald Blythe would say 'like an angry dragonfly'. But it is soon gone out of sight over the moor and the silence returns. By the plantain the snow has melted at the edge under the trees and as I reach there several fieldfares rise up and fly off. I see a patch of rotting crab apples have been revealed so no doubt they were picking amongst those for any bits of apple which were still eatable.
The beck is running swiftly, black against its snow edging. Where it snakes its way through the wood there are already celandine leaves showing here and there. This is where I usually find the first lesser celandine of Spring, and the first Marsh Marigold - both a little way off yet!
But the alder trees, which stand with their feet in the beck and their heads in the clouds have already got that red sheen which tells me that their sap is rising.
Two mistlethrushes stand alert on the hedge as I pass by the steaming manure heap. I can't help feeling that they were probably scratching about in it before I came along.
By the pasture gate the wild honeysuckle is already showing roundels of green buds from its sheltered place inside the hawthorn hedge. On the other side the blackthorn lives up to its name with not a bud in sight yet.
As we reach the farm again the sun turns hazy. The long tailed tit family have reached the bird table and are busily eating the fat balls. The washing hangs limply on the clothes line - there is not a breath of wind. As we go in I think about the South of England, where a Winter Storm is forecast for tonight with rain, hail, sleet, snow and gale force winds. Keep warm and batten down the hatches down there. We shall be thinking of you but also hoping that storm doesn't stretch up the country as far as us.

25 comments:

Leslie said...

I almost felt like I was there with you. I love your blog.
Stay warm. Hugs~~~~ Leslie

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Glad to read you're not huddled indoors, and that the local weather trend seems to be warming. Warmer weather here has melted away most of our snow.

Your birds, common though they may be, still sound so exotic. I really enjoy your eye for detail, and your obvious knowledge of the land and it's intimate nuances—the birds and animals, plants, seasonal habits.

A fine post and a good read as I breakfast on steel-cut oats and tea, and watch the sun come through the sycamores.

willow said...

Sounds lovely. Ours is starting to melt. Lots of slush.

Sepiru Chris said...

What a fantastic description. I enjoyed going for that walk with you. I look forward to the next stroll around the demesne.

Heather said...

It's surprising how much more effort is required when walking in several inches of snow. Ice has been the problem here and I haven't ventured out for fear of slipping, though I did try to tire Poppy out in the back garden! We couldn't get out at all for two days over the weekend but the roads are clear now. Thank you for thinking of us in advance for tonight's promised storm. Let's hope they don't get it right this time. I am hoping to get to my group's monthly meeting tomorrow and don't like to miss out on that. Your words paint such a clear picture - you scarcely need a camera. Thankyou for a lovely walk. I'm busy working on 'L'! I must tell you this - I have just been naughty and eaten a Chelsea bun as well as my lunch, and the word verification for this comment is 'calories'!! Be sure your sins will find you out!!!

Cathy said...

So beautiful and so descriptive.

MuseSwings said...

I stopped by after visiting with Pamela and Edward. Your posts are wonderful - I love your poem about snow and the line "leaving by the back door" Beautiful!

jinksy said...

I went on that nature ramble with you - the best way! The rain has certainly hit the South Coast with a vengeance, but who knows what the night will bring... Thanks for the picture you painted today.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely descriptions, I was captivated by a flock of long tailed tits today.

Teresa said...

Enjoyed the walk with you!

Karine said...

What a lovely blog you have. I came from Robyn's blog, Art Propelled, and just wanted to let you know how much fun my visit has been!

Dragonstar said...

Lovely description of your walk. I can't wait for the celandines!

-K- said...

"Weaver of Grass" is a really good example of what a blog can be. Your descriptions and photos are of a very different kind of life than what is all around me (here in Los Angeles) but its really why I explore the blog world.

BT said...

What a lovely day for a walk it must have been. It was sunny here this morning but the clouds had formed by the afternoon. I love to get outside whatever the weather and get very grumpy if I'm locked inside.

We have long tailed tits and they move past just as you have described. All that high pitched twittering.

Lovely post as usual.

Gina

Gramma Ann said...

Well what a delightful walk. I enjoyed it with you. We must do this again someday!

Janice Thomson said...

I love it when you go for walks and talk about them. There's always something to see and experience. Thanks for sharing these with us Weaver.

Lucy said...

So much enjoy reading your descriptions.

Lucy
LOOSE AND LEAFY

Poet in Residence said...

Keep warm and well. East Anglia might cop it. Snow coming to Scotland, may creep down to you. Don't put the shovel away just yet.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Such a lovely description of your day. The light is changing bit by bit... an early sign of Spring to those who notice! Loved your collections of Vee's!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Incorrigible - what ar esteel-cut oats please?

The Weaver of Grass said...

To the rest of you I say wouldn't it be lovely if we could all do the walk together - wading through the snow, walking off a few calories from too many chelsea buns, watching the birds and all ending up round a fire with a glass of hot rum punch. Famcy it anyone?

Woman in a Window said...

The only thing that I think might make your posts more interesting, more inviting, would be if it were possible for you to be able to read it to us. I'd love to hear (what I imagine) is a magical English lilt, wise fairy on the tongue.

patteran said...

It's good to read of the activity that thrives in spite of this iron winter. Pheasants are filling our lanes and making up the greater part of the roadkill. Because of the monochrome conditions, I've seen plenty of stoats skidding across the snow and into the hedgerows. And in the middle of a white field, a hare sat, solitary and serene.

That storm hit us hard. It took me 20 minutes to get out of the end of our road yesterday. The snow and slush had frozen hard.

Derrick said...

Another beautiful commentary on your walk, Weaver. I'm sure I would miss many of them, so it's good to have your eye see them for me!

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