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!


Pondside said...

April? No, it's definitely February. Just as I'd thought to do some work in the garden today I awoke to snow. Not fair!

Heather said...

I agree with you Pat - our weather is just as unreliable and we just have to take what comes and make the best of the good days. It is heartening to see all the tiny spots of colour appearing here and there, and as always your photos are beautiful.

Unknown said...

I have to agree Weaver, that April is not the cruelest month, February is indeed! In Toronto, April is our spring month complete with birds, buds and bubbling brooks. The rest of blog land seem to be frolicking in February and it does seem cruel when we here in Toronto, are still buried in snow until April. Thank you for providing a little spring frolicking for me today. Your lovely photos brought some sunshine. =D

angryparsnip said...

I envy your wall of moss. It is so green and lush I would love to have a small pot of it to have in my studio. You can't find it in Tucson even at the florist !

Love your photo walks !

cheers, parsnip

Leenie said...

I agree, February is a tough month. Good thing it is short. Nothing but the dregs of winter and spring still far away for us in the Rocky Mts.

I love the view you give of your farm and the plants and animals there. At least you have green peeking through. We still have knee deep snow on the level and huge mounds of it on the roadsides.

Hang in there. Spring will come. it always does.

Rarelesserspotted said...

It's been a fabulous day today, once the early frost had disappeared, very warm even walking out for a sandwich at dinner time - great illustrative pictures. Did I hear snow was forecast?

John Going Gently said...

december was mine....lost a couple of hens in the cold!!!!!!
you able to follow me yet?

Jo said...

Oh, Weaver, your posts are so rich. Rich in texture, rich in color, rich in lush description, and rich in wisdom.

I agree with you. February is by far the cruelest month for me, for more reasons than the weather.

That landscape shouts, "Paint me!"

deb said...

I am jealous of your green, it is still very white here, several feet of snow :(

Tess Kincaid said...

In my neck of the woods, I would have to say it's August. Hot-hot-hot and humid.

Cloudia said...

You well express the "first time" excitement of Spring!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral


ChrisJ said...

Beautiful catkins and winter jasmine. We have a lot of crows around here and many people complain about them because they get in the trash. But I have noticed that the 'fly home' route has changed in the last couple of years. Don't know about the morning route. I'm not around!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems we can't agree on the cruelest month. Interestingly we have already had over three inches of rain this month, whereas two years ago February was the driest month of the year. I think for us it all depends on the Gulf Stream. Thank you for your comment.

Nutty Gnome said...

At least you're getting some dry days! To be fair, it hasn't actually rained properly here today, just spitted a bit...maybe there is an inkling of hope - except the weekend forecast is dire!
I have got lots of stuff coming through now, but it's a good fortnight behind normal.
Gorgeous photos Weaver :)

Dartford Warbler said...

This/last year, it was December!