Thursday, 14 August 2014

It is all happening out there.

Following on from yesterday's post about living in the country -
last evening we watched a programme on T V about wild life vets who dealt with big animals all over the world - last night a rhino, an orang-outan and a walrus.    As we were watching (it was gradually getting dark outside) the farmer touched my arm and nodded towards the window; there, just outside on a post, was the tawny owl.   He sat there for about five minutes - more exciting than what was on the television.   And all the while he was there bats were flitting back and forth in front of him.

This morning Tess and the farmer have just returned from their morning walk.   What did they see?   They saw a buzzard land in the field, snatch a rabbit and fly off with it.   Yes, all wildlife is there in the country.

This morning the farmer smiled to see a lovely photograph in The Times of a harvest field in Somerset (or 'down south' as we are prone to saying up here).   The caption read something along the lines of 'all is safely gathered in', suggesting that it has been a good harvest and that it is over.

More proof, if proof were needed, that there is an invisible line from Birmingham to the Wash and that anything which happens above that line is back in the Middle Ages.   Harvest is just underway up here - winter barley has been harvested, but spring-sown barley is only just ripening - and wheat has a few more weeks to go.

When I was a child the church/chapel harvest festival did not take place until every farmer in the area had finished the harvest.   And the decorations consisted of vegetables and fruit.  The dado round the chapel walls had string stretched along it and Michaelmas daisies threaded through it.   A row of large Bramley apples would be spaced along the pulpit and on the day the congregation would hope there was not a pulpit-thumping preacher who made all the apples wobble, or even worse, fall off.   A big sheaf of corn would take pride of place.

Now Harvest Festivals are around the beginning of September, set well in advance and always seem to have an awful lot of tinned food as part of the decoration of the church.  How times change - maybe not always for the better.  In my childhood days tinned food was frowned upon, certainly by my mother, who always had a tin of salmon, a tin of peaches and a tin of evaporated milk in the cupboard, in case anyone called, so that she could offer them tea.   Other than that I don't remember eating from a tin.

Swallows gather in even larger numbers on the wires - earlier than usual this year I think; the swifts have gone on their way back to Africa, where they spend the winter before returning here again next year - and during that time their feet will never make contact with the ground.  I will be sad to see them go, but then I have the fieldfares to look forward to - and we still have yellow-hammers at the birdtable - lovely little birds with a bright yellow head.

We have a semi-tame cock pheasant who doesn't ever seem to leave the garden.   He arrived as he began to moult and has stayed ever since, coming out of the undergrowth each morning when the farmer fills the feeders, and almost eating out of the farmer's hand.

Yes - life in the country is never dull.

14 comments:

Heather said...

How wonderful to see a tawny owl from your window. We do have a good variety of birds visiting our garden but never an owl.
Your posts always evoke lovely memories and I remember Harvest Festivals at the end of September down here. In fact our wedding took place nearly 60 years ago, when the church was beautifully decorated with flowers, fruit and vegetables in readiness for the service the following day. It is quite difficult for those who never leave the south to appreciate the differences in climate between our regions. We lived in Cheshire for 9 years and got used to cold winters. When we moved back down to Devon I didn't need a coat all winter!

angryparsnip said...

I am always amazed when I read your blog filled with what is happening outside your windows.
We have an owl who sits on my chimney top and hoots. I have named him Mr. Belvider, Hunter of Pack Rats.

cheers, parsnip

Amy said...

love life in the country too. i would never go back to the city.

jinxxxygirl said...

I so do miss life in the country and your blog helps to keep it firmly in my mind.... Owls are so special arent' they? And their visits so infrequent to make it exciting....

I prefer Harvest Festivals in October.... I want it to FEEL like fall... a briskness or crispness to the air.... September or worse August is just too early for me... I don't want to go to a Harvest Festival and sweat! I would rather have to wear a sweater...

I must say i do use an awful lot of food from a tin can.... If you can believe it my hubby prefers it that way... Although we both grew up with lots of veggies from the garden...i like fresh and he likes canned.... go figure?! Thank you so much for sharing this! Hugs! deb

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Brings back great memories of Harvest Times past. When the boys always took a huge cabbage or marrow and the girls took pretty baskets of fruit and vegetables. The next day we would take the gifts round to old people. Apart from the cabbages and marrows, they went to a children's home.( I always felt sorry for them as I liked neither)
My mother always had salmon, peaches and evaporated milk in too ! I still like peaches and evap'
Gill

hazzy said...

There are some posts that can transport you to a totally different world. For just a few moments. That was one of them, thanks.

Rachel said...

The harvest is not finished around here yet, and I guess we are down south as far as Yorkshire is concerned. There is still lots of wheat to do. The newspapers never do know what they are talking about.

Joanne Noragon said...

I was fascinated by the swallows at my friend's house. Every morning I saw a few more on the wires, and she said they congregate and discuss the weather and the trip. One day everyone is there and they just....leave.

George said...

Sounds like your corner of the countryside is exceedingly rich in wildlife. Can't believe some of your migratory birds have already begun their seasonal journey to Africa. Our autumns do not begin in earnest until late September or early October.

Terry and Linda said...

The swallows are gathering here also...much earlier than before. I don't want those little bug eaters to leave. And I don't want winter to come.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Cro Magnon said...

My friend José still has two very big fields of Triticale to harvest. Every time it's looking good, it rains again. I can see it spoiling!

We don't have Harvest Festival over here; shame.

MorningAJ said...

What happens to the harvest festival produce after the service? I think tins turn up because people believe they're going to have to last a long time wherever they're going.

Back in the days when the gifts would be distributed to the needy in a village it was OK to have perishables, because they'd likely be consumed within a couple of days. Not sure about these days.....

Frances said...

May I tell you again how much I enjoy your posts. You continue to allow me to have an appreciation of what it truly is like to live in the countryside in this still new century.

Many thanks.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for popping in and sharing in my posts.