I will not mention ****** because my son said to me the other day,
'you haven't mentioned ****** yet Mum, what's happened, you have usually mentioned it by now!'.
But I have just been for a walk down the lane with Tess - a very short walk I might add as it began to rain after we had gone a hundred yards or so. Two things struck me. The first is that the air is full of the noise of crows - mostly rooks I suspect. They are beginning to congregate together as they do every year once the breeding season is past. The field opposite had whole crop barley in it and has been cut. As I went out of the gate it was black over with rooks but when I pointed my camera at them they rose as one before I had time to click. It is always good to see them there as as well as picking up any corn that has been left their sharp beaks also dig deep for crane fly larva.
The other sight was of swallows gathered on the line in the yard. It has not been a good year here for swallows. We usually have a dozen or more nests and this year we have had only three. How many babies have been reared it is difficult to say but certainly the numbers gathering on the wires is far less than other years. I understand also that because this is a poor year for voles (this happens every four years or so) not many barn owl chicks have survived.
The good news is that the farmer is away baling up that hay as I write. It is not first (or even second) class stuff having been rained on every day for almost a fortnight, but it has to be baled in order to move it off the grass before the grass grows through it. The bad news is that on the last row of rowing up his hay bob broke beyond repair, cracking straight down the middle. Luckily this is his last lot of haymaking this year so he doesn't have to think about a replacement for now - particular so when I think of the state of his knee and his hip, both candidates for replacement soon.
It is our August Bank Holiday week-end in the UK and today is a lovely day with just the occasional shower. As it is our Wensleydale Show tomorrow (just up the road from the farm) we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will be a good day too.
I don't any longer attend as I am not mobile enough to walk all that way, but I have persuaded the farmer to take my camera, so watch this space.