This is the view outside my front door. I didn't even go on to the step but just stood on the mat and 'clicked' - sorry it is going uphill slightly, but you get the general idea. Since I took the shot five minutes ago it has started snowing - fine grains floating down.
The birds are ravenous and I am raiding the cupboards to find extra food for the bird table. Yesterday I bought a coconut and the farmer has chopped it in half and hung it in the rowan tree for the tits. I have added a bowl of suet, sultanas, currants and oats on to the table and all the feeders are full. But by lunch time they will all be empty again. Pheasants are arriving for the poultry wheat the farmer puts down. I wish I could get a photograph (ten there at the moment, but as soon as they hear the back door they retreat under the bushes. It is bleak.
One of my Buff Orpington hens just didn't arrive back at the hen hut last evening. The Orpingtons are usually the first to go in and the rest did, but there is one missing. She has therefore been out all night, which is a bit worrying, although the farmer thinks that 'something' got here during the day to prevent her coming home.
The sheep have been moved to the low pastures because all our top pasture is being slurried by a giant machine. I haven't seen it and I am definitely not going up to the top fields just to view it, but apparently they just 'thread' a giant pipe across the fields and then send the slurry through it. Whatever they do, the top pastures are now brown whereas the lower pastures are a mixture of white (snow) and green (grass). Now that there is grass to be had by a bit of scraping with the foot, the sheep are totally ignoring the silage and the sheep nuts. The grass is bright green, frozen and lacking in a lot of goodness, but the Swaledales are a hardy breed and prefer grass in whatever form it takes.
I have just looked at the photograph and I see that there are two cock pheasants in the front garden. One is clearly visible and the other is behind a bush to the left of him (in the middle of the picture).
The ground is hard frozen which the farmer is pleased about as he says we haven't had really hard ground for several years and it really does kill off a lot of slugs and other 'bugs'. So, it is an ill wind as they say.
So far, so good today on the Broadband front. Am keeping my fingers crossed. A BT Open Reach Van has just gone past - maybe that is relevant. All I know is that I wouldn't be a worker out in the Open Reach today (or open anything else) - the woodburning stove for me. Incidentally, I love the way that Cro calls his two stoves Gilbert and George (two of my favourite artists) - I am now trying to think of a name for mine. I wonder if there is a name which means reliable, loving, dependable or something like that.
**A friend has just e mailed me to suggest David (the farmer's name) as she says he is all the things above (and she knows him well.)
***My Buff Orpington hen was in the big shed. She had roosted
in there overnight and strolled out large as life when the farmer opened the doors this morning.