Well, I will try again. Sorry about the blogless heading but sometimes things go slightly wrong. Here we are still tidying up after winter. It was such a bad one that many of the fields were flooded when the thaw set in. The farmers made amental note of where draining was needed and today the farmer began his mission to get the fields drained before next winter.
Tess and I set out to see him in action. As we passed our wood I remembered that the farmer
had told me that ducks had made a nest. In the photograph of the wood above, you will see a fence in the foreground. At the foot of that fence is a huge patch of nettles and a pair of ducks have nested there. 'what a silly place to put a nest,' said the farmer, 'the crows will spot it in no time!' Well, crows might but this old crow tried hard to find it to photograph it for you, but to no avail. This morning there were two eggs, tonight there are three eggs - so they are still laying there. Let's hope we have baby ducklings, but don't bank on it, because - as Beatrix Potter says in Jemima Puddleduck - ducks are bad sitters.
On we went, across the beck. Isn't the water clear? As we crossed the bridge a Grey Heron flew off, tucking his legs neatly back he went about a hundred yards into the field and stood watching us. With the water as clear as that I expect it is easy for him to see the minnows (and probably just as easy for them to see him).
The farmer was off his digger and in the ditch, poking about in the old stone drain. Some of these stone drains are many hundreds of years old and are no longer working.
We left him to it and went along Mill Lane - a track which has existed for at least a thousand years - a track where in the Middle Ages Cistercian Monks would tread, bringing their sheep to graze in the fields.
Then we slipped through a gate and made a detour to the barn to look at the owl box. By the look of it (it is in pristine condition) there is no owl there this year, which is quite disappointing. I understand that many barn owls perished through starvation in the cold winter.
Walking back through the fields Tess was up on her back legs for most of the time, watching various rabbit warrens. Luckily I had her on a long leash, otherwise she would have been off after them.
I see that the cuckoo flowers (locally called milkmaids) are out by the side of the beck. That is always a sign that Spring is well underway. The blackthorn is in full bud and will be out in a couple of days if the weather stays reasonable. As soon as it is fully out I shall take a photograph just to show you how beautiful it looks.
Have a nice evening.