Half way through today we will be half way through January. We are also, according to the news this morning, half way through Winter. Farmers usually say that the end of January marks half way through the time when they might need silage to feed their herd indoors. If they are lucky then the ground is dry enough for the cattle to go out towards the end of April, but often it is far too wet. When it is wet, to use the farmer's expression, the cows waste more than they eat by trampling the grass down. All I know is that at present the cows in our loose housing seem to be going through the silage at quite a rate of knots.
So far this Winter we have been very lucky up here in North Yorkshire as far as the weather is concerned. I keep saying that we are getting through the Winter very nicely (I have not had my heavy Winter coat on once yet) but the farmer is much more cautious, insisting that we shouldn't count our chickens until they are hatched.
Certainly the birds are in no doubt about the state of things. The temperature is forecast to reach ten degrees up here today and in the two and a half hours I have been up a robin outside the window has never stopped singing. Blackbirds, European and British, are foraging in the hedge bottom and will soon begin to think about nesting if this weather continues. Here is a question for you? Do European blackbirds recognise the difference between themselves and their British cousins? Might they pair up if the warm weather continues - and if they do, then when the European ones begin to go home, what happens to the pair that already have eggs if one is British and one European? You see our so-called problems with Europeans coming here to work are not just limited to human beings are they?
My dear sister-in-law, the widow of my beloved brother, is 92 tomorrow and although suffering from dementia is happily living in a retirement home. It is many years since I saw her but I always send her flowers on her birthday. She may not know who they are from but I am sure they will give her pleasure. Surely that is the case with all present giving - the pleasure the present gives to the recipient is the important thing.