Saturday, 28 March 2009

A Walk on the Wild Side.

Phew! The North wind doth blow - straight down off the moor and straight up our pasture. Not fit to send a dog out they say - but that holds no meaning for Tess, so off we go after lunch. She has three walks a day - morning and evening with the farmer and the farm dog - mainly rabbitting walks - and lunchtime a rather tame walk with me, sometimes down the lane on the lead and today across the fields.
Above a pair of buzzard soar and swoop on the wind - masters of the aerial manouvre they don't seem to notice the awfulness of the weather - truly wild birds that they are. We keep close in to the high hawthorn hedge, where there is a modicum of shelter. Every twenty yards or so one or a pair of blackbirds dart out as we approach; they have already laid claim to their patch of hedge and give no quarter to other blackbirds that might be prospecting for a nest-site.
This is typical March weather here. She came in like a lamb but March is set to go out like a lion. As children we used to recite a rhyme which began "January brings the snow, makes your feet and fingers glow" but I can't remember any more. Can anybody else remember it? We also used to have an old weather-lore verse along the lines of January/snow; February/fill-dyke; March/winds; April/showers; May/flowers. Does anyone remember the rest of that one?
In fact February, for the last few years, has been the driest month of the year. Here on the farm we measure rainfall and at the end of each year make a graph - and it is almost always February which is the lowest in rain.
This time of the year there are always plenty of rooks about - the sheep are still being fed and it makes easy pickings for the rooks, so every field has a few. I was watching them take to the air - when they fly into the wind they tack like sailing boats - I wonder if early boatmen learned to tack in a head wind from watching the birds?
It was a pleasure to get back home again and we took a short cut through our walled front garden. There are a lot of flowers out now - I have put some of them on today - Primula denticulata is particularly good this year; lenten roses always make a splendid show and seed easily so that they pop up all over the place; daffodils never fail to advertise that Spring is here; and, finally, good old Primula Wanda (I wonder who Wanda was - the flower must have been named after somebody) - she is always up and out before we put the clocks on.
Tonight is the night - clocks go forward one hour so it will be a bit darker in the morning and that should enable us to sleep a bit longer - we have white curtains in our bedroom and the sun has started to wake us very early.
It is the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race tomorrow afternoon. That's another harbinger of Spring. Let's hope that the wind has eased a little by then otherwise there will be a risk of capsize again.
I think even Tess was pleased to get indoors again after being nearly blown away, She flopped down on the rug and allowed me to take her photograph!


Heather said...

The colours of your hellebores are lovely as are the primulas. Tess looks very elegant reclining on your rug. I can't remember the rest of either of those rhymes but do recall vague bits. Who was it said we use only a small percentage of our brain power? I take that personally!! I don't think we shall be watching the Boat Race as Gloucester are playing the Ospreys (rugby) today and it is televised.

jinksy said...

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes sharp and shrill,
Shakes the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lillies, roses,
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit,
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Brown October brings the pheasant,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves go whirling past.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat.

jinksy said...

Actually, Flander and Swann had a much better version...

Reader Wil said...

I see Jinksy has another one....
Which one was yours?

A Song of the Weather

January brings the snow
Makes your feet and fingers glow
February's Ice and sleet
Freeze the toes right off your feet
Welcome March with wintry wind
Would thou wer't not so unkind
April brings the sweet spring showers
On and on for hours and hours
Farmers fear unkindly May
Frost by night and hail by day
June just rains and never stops
Thirty days and spoils the crops
In July the sun is hot
Is it shining? No, it's not
August cold, and dank, and wet
Brings more rain than any yet
Bleak September's mist and mud
Is enough to chill the blood
Then October adds a gale
Wind and slush and rain and hail
Dark November brings the fog
Should not do it to a dog
Freezing wet December then:
Bloody January again!
(January brings the snow
Makes your feet and fingers glow).

-- Michael Flanders

EB said...

Fantastic - I love Flanders and Swan. Your border terrier looks very like the one I knew as a small child - dark hair, whiskery, and a little wary. The one we had more recently was bigger, more caramel coloured, and sadly lacked the same constitution. I don't think the breed's trendiness a couple of years back did it any good, I hope Tess has a long and hardy life.

Gramma Ann said...

Loved the story and the pictures. Tess is such a cute doggy. It's a bit chilly here today, we are having a few spring snow flurries, but not to worry it will go away quick, I hope!

Heather said...

It's me again. Yes, I do use Vilene quite often in my work, but the photos are held in place with a little dab of glue on an artist's canvas, and I stitch through that and through the photos in places. I use very simple stitches like running stitch, fly stitch and french knots.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to those of you who provided the rhymes! Of course the one I remember from childhood is not the Flanders and Swann one - I was a teenager when they came on the scene (was it Salad Days that started their popularity?) But it was lovely to read the other one - thanks so much.

The Weaver of Grass said...

EB My Border Terrier is coloured in what they call grizzle and tan - the majority of the breed are plain tan - we didn't choose her for her unusual colour though, we chose her because she chose us when we went to look at the litter and nestled down on the farmer's knee and stole his heart!

HelenMHunt said...

Tess looks very content!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

It has been very windy here too! A lot of our giraffodils have been flattened.

How interesting to keep graphs of the rain! Which month has generally the most rain for you?

Woman in a Window said...

It's funny how a wind can change a day. Blows in without any thought at all and stirs things up.

Janice Thomson said...

Love those spring flowers! The dog's pretty darn cute too.
We turned our clocks back on the 6th - never realized it was different elsewhere.

BT said...

Primula Wanda, that's what it's called. Thank you Weaver. There are some photos of this amazingly abundant primula on my blog, but I didn't know it's name. You are a fount of knowledge. What a chilly walk you had, I felt quite cold by the end of it!