Tuesday, 1 February 2011
The Big Day (for pheasants)
February 1st - the last day of the shooting season. Any pheasant still alive at dusk tonight is safe for another year providing he or she doesn't run across the lane at an inappropriate time.
The farmer and I have been down to the feed merchants in Masham for food for the hens, the dogs, the farm cats and the wild birds. We went by one route and returned by another - a round trip, as they say - because the weather is so lovely. Our new car tells us the temperature and it was eight degrees.
We passed by the vehicles of the last shoot of the season and when we returned they were just packing up to go. In the corner of the field a dozen or so cock pheasants were skulking - good for them - they have lived to fight another day.
There is just a faint feeling (probably in my imagination) that the earth is beginning to wake up. There is a bit of a green smell in the air (again maybe my imagination) and everywhere is looking lovely apart from the mud - every road and every verge is thick with mud. So I have put one or two pictures of our journey on for you to look at. They are not very brilliant, after all the car was moving at the time. (I managed to persuade him to come back a different way so I couldn't ask him to stop as well - after all he had a new door bell to fix when we got home and the instructions were in six different languages and nigh on impossible to follow even in English.
But the new bell (which goes da-dada-la-da-da-da-dah) is all ready for the recorded delivery we are expecting in the morning and the pheasants would be doing a fandango around the field if only they knew it was February 1st!
### The local hunt have just been to tell the farmer that they are hunting our land for foxes on Saturday - ah well, if it's not one poor wild thing it's another.