The farmer is working exceptionally long hours at the moment spreading slurry on the newly silaged fields to help the grass grow again for second-crop silage. He is leaving the house at eight thirty in the morning, with a packed lunch, and not returning until about six in the evening. This means that Tess and I are on our own for the day.
Not so today though. Friend G rang and invited me to lunch and then a walk. Shortly after ten o'clock she collected me (I still cannot drive) and we went to her house for coffee in the garden. She has only a small garden but it is full of greenery and very pretty. There are pots of hosta and ferns, lots of self-sown aquelegia, clematis in full flower - everywhere is lovely. She has a lovely little grotto which catches the sun and we sat there for our coffee, then went inside for lunch.
Then G, J, M and I drove the short distance to Foxglove Covert Nature Reserve (do have a look at their website) for a walk. It really is the most interesting place, not least because it is in the middle of the largest army garrison in Europe - Catterick Garrison.
We walked for a good hour on well-constructed and maintained paths, through lots of different habitats. There were pools with tadpoles and tiny fish, there were areas of heathland, boggy areas, tiny rivers, a lake, plenty of hides, masses of wildflowers (ragged robin, tormentil, cotton grass, germander speedwell, yellow water iris, bluebells, marsh orchids), butterflies, birds and a beautifully peaceful atmosphere.
We are lucky to have such a facility so near. Apart from a small full time staff, there are masses of volunteers who help to maintain the site and various groups visit - W I's, schools, lots of organisations - and every Sunday morning they net and ring birds and have a huge variety of species. Wednesday (tomorrow) is a moth day and friends G and J are going to help with moth identification. I shall not be going as I have a moth phobia - and the furrier the moth, the worse the phobia is!
I took a few photographs for you to enjoy. The nest photograph is of a nest in the long grass. Whatever used it (bird, small mammal?) has long gone - but it certainly chose a lovely place to rear its young.