Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Which is the cruelest month?
The poet accused April of being the cruelest month, but I must say that judging by the last week I would give that accolade to February. We have had alternate days of either pouring rain or freezing fog and bright warm sunshine. Yesterday was disgusting. Today is a lovely sunny day.
The fields are totally waterlogged and walking in them is nigh on impossible. However, Tess has to be on the lead if we go down the lane and I do like to see her have her freedom, so the farmer came round the fields with me after lunch so that Tess could follow her nose, and I had an arm to hang on to where necessary.
And I have to say what a difference a day makes. As you will see from the photograph, the hazel catkins are now showing their pollen. The beck is very full and really looks quite pretty.
A couple of weeks ago a friend surprised a sparrow hawk with a newly caught wild duck. We passed the remains in the field today and as you can see, the hawk has left very little behind.
In the vegetable garden yet again a windy day has blown a lot of glass out of our greenhouse and scattered it about the lawn. That will need picking up before the farmer does his first mow. But on the veggie garden wall, in the full sunshine, the mosses and lichens are really growing and the winter jasmine adds its little touches of yellow to the scene.
The length of day is gradually stretching out and something very odd has happened regarding our rook colony. Readers of this blog will know that there is a huge rook colony in Forty Acre Wood, about a mile below our farm. Every year since I have been here (eighteen years) the rooks have made their way up the dale each morning, flapping their way past my bedroom window at this time of year, when dawn is just breaking as I get up. Suddenly they must be taking a different route because I rarely see a rook in the morning and yet when the farmer drives into our little town for our newspaper the rooks are already there. And in the evening they stop off in the field opposite our farm for a chat and a poke about in the grass.
So it seems they are going one way and coming back another. I miss them.
Quite a few cock pheasant seem to have escaped the guns and as the shooting season is now over they are safe for another year. Two of them visit my bird table each morning and they are more than welcome. A yellow hammer is also paying regular visits - as is the dapper little tree creeper. He does not come on the table but he scurries up and down the tree trunks and then drops on to the grass to pick up the niger seed. Robins are singing as I write and the cock chaffinches have begun to get their breeding plumage. On yes it is still happening out there if only every other day!