Friday, 13 January 2012
A Good Day for catching up.
Friday is always special here in the farming week as it is Auction Mart day. Although the farmer no longer buys and sells cattle, he still likes to go both to see what the prices are like and to catch up on local gossip!
I always go with him as it is also Market Day and I like to buy my fresh vegetables and fresh fish too. And a group of friends and I always meet for coffee in The Golden Lion and for a good old gossip. Tonight we are all going to the local amateur panto - Jack and the Beanstalk - together - I will report on that tomorrow.
But today it is a gloriously sunny day - still, perfect blue sky and dry underfoot. This is just the right sort of day for farming this time of the year as there are so many jobs to do which can't be done if the ground is wet. Principle amongst these is hedge-cutting.
Our hedges must be cut before the beginning of March so that when they come into leaf they can grow up quickly. Our hawthorn hedges house lots of nests, notably blackbirds and yellow hammers, and they need plenty of cover. Some of our hedges are never cut so that they have become small blackthorn, crab apple and hawthorn trees - these house birds too, so that we get a fair selection. In addition, of course, we also get ground-nesting birds like pheasant, partridge, curlew, oyster-catcher, snipe and woodcock (the last two only in the marshy areas). Nesting time will be upon us before we know where we are.
But, speaking of birds, as the farmer and I walked round the fields after lunch to stop and chat with Mike, our hedge-cutting man, we noticed a big flock of seagulls in the field. I hope you can see them in the picture - they are in the middle and slightly to the left - I couldn't get them any nearer than this in the photo. They always stand in exactly the same place - don't know why but the farmer thinks it might be a sheltered spot out of the wind and in the sun. Whatever the reason, they are often there. As we were talking to Mike a jet roared overhead and the seagulls rose into the air as one and took off towards the West.
Sorry about the sudden change to italics - don't know why it happened and can't see how to change it.