Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Nature red in tooth and claw.

There is no doubt about it, living - as we do - in the depths of the country, we are so much closer to nature in all its aspects than we would be when living in a town or city - or even in a village.   The farmer walks his fields at least twice a day, to keep an eye on things and, even though I can no longer walk all that far, he brings me up to date when he comes in.   After all, farming and nature are his passions.

So here are a few of this week's observations:

The ash trees are still not in leaf up here.   We are hoping that this will endorse the old saying 'if the oak before the ash, then we're in for just a splash' (rather than the alternative ' if the ash before the oak, then we're in for quite a soak'.   I see one from where I stand at the kitchen sink.  It is a magnificent specimen and I sincerely hope that it doesn't get ash die-back.

Myxamatosis - that cruel disease of rabbits - is back.   Tess caught three baby rabbits this morning; all had mixxy and the farmer put them out of their misery.   Being caught by a dog must be terrifying for a baby rabbit, but death from the farmer is swift and anything is better than the slow, lingering death  to which they would succumb otherwise.

Sparrows have managed to find their way under the roof in our utility room and seem to have built a nest directly over my tumble drier.     For the past two days one baby sparrow has driven us mad with its chirping - never ending cheep, cheep, cheep.   When we came back from shopping this morning there was one frantic baby sparrow fluttering around the window.   The farmer caught it gently in his hand and put in on the branch of a tree just across the drive.   I just hope mum finds it there.   It flew off before I could take a photograph, so should be able to look after itself.

The farmer has just gone to get out his grass-cutter and give it a grease as our friend and neighbour A has asked him to cut forage grass tomorrow afternoon.   We had threequarters of an inch of rain (and a gale of 70mph) overnight but as it is still blowing a gale this morning the grass should be dry by tomorrow afternoon.   Silaging begins in earnest.

This morning, on his morning walk with Tess, the farmer found a young heifer stuck across the top of the fence.   She must have been trying to get into the neighbouring field.   The farmer helped her off, came back for a fencing rail and mended where she had tried to get over. It is most likely that she has come into season and was trying to get to the cattle i n the neighbouring field - it would have been a bit of a waste of time because they are heifers too!

Enjoy your day.

15 comments:

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Enchanting little vignettes of country living, even the sadder side of things

Sue in Suffolk said...

We saw them cutting silage down in Sussex, doesn't seem to be any round here although there are so few livestock on all the farms in this area now that maybe no one needs it

Dartford Warbler said...

It was "Oak before Ash" down here in southern England this year, but we are getting soaked today in this wind and rain!

Sympathies for the Farmer and the constant chore of fence mending. It`s the same here, although usually caused by a greedy New Forest pony trying to break into a field of longer grass......

The Broad said...

I do hope your old adage 'Oak before Ash' proves true this year -- I see from my window a few patches of blue sky in the distance! I also love reading your vignettes of Yorkshire country life.

Cro Magnon said...

Very dry and hot here, and no rain expected for the foreseeable future. Out with the sprinkler system!

Joanne Noragon said...

We have wrens nest yearly in a place in a window well in the studio. The chirping babies made the cairns frantic, we had to keep them away until the birds fledged. Now the cat spends his day near the spot he can hear them. One year one tiny bird fledged into the space between the window panes. My brother disassembled the window to catch and release it. The little thing flew away without looking back.

Heather said...

Never a dull moment! The ash trees are in leaf here but I think the oaks beat them to it so am hoping for a lovely summer. Glad the farmer was able to put those poor little rabbits of their misery, and that you have your utility room back to normal. The wind here has been so strong - it comes straight at us from the Bristol Channel. As I lay in bed last night I could see flashing light through the bedroom curtains. When I got up to investigate it was branches in full leaf blowing up and down in front of a street light! It is still blowing like mad but the rain has eased off thank goodness.

donna baker said...

Your farmer sounds like a treasure. I am going to have to get a map of Great Britain to see all the places you and your followers talk about. So far away and so different from Oklahoma, but I love to imagine these places.

angryparsnip said...

I love reading about the everyday but wonderful things that happens at your farm. Except for the mixxy what a cruel man made affliction.

cheers, parsnip

The Weaver of Grass said...

Quite right Parsnip. I believe it was originally introduced from Australia, where
rabbits are a terrible problem. I don't know what the answer if - they are certainly a problem here on the farm, but nothing justifies that cruelty.
Thanks to everyone for joining in.

John Gray said...

The rabbits here are going down with that dreaded disease too pat....
One youngster has been living in my bonfire mound and managed to last over twomonths being totally blind
I was rioting for him, and even put out water and feed for him..... He dissapeared one night

Terry and Linda said...

We've had cows jump the fence for the elusive bull before. They can make a mess of themselves and the fence. Hope the damage was small.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
https://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/sherlock-boomer

Cloudia said...

Bless the gentle farmer and yourself

thelma said...

Used to love the old ash trees up on the Bath downs, sad that another species of tree has been struck by disease. Also very sad about those poor rabbits dying of mixxy, it has been around a very long time now, you would have thought it would have died out.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to everyone. Seems ash die back is at least as far as the Downs. Hope it moves slowly before it reaches the Dales.