Thursday, 26 January 2017

Cold and grey

The temperature didn't get above zero today. After quite a mild December and early January when we had just one day of snow this week has been pretty chilly - proper winter. This morning no frost despite the cold. We haven't had any rain for about a fortnight, so too dry I suppose.

There hasn't been much activity in the garden. Stormy weather at the start of the month flattened the cage protecting the brussel sprouts. I was worried the pigeons and pheasants would strip the unprotected plants but so far they've kept away. We're having a good feed of sprouts at least once a week.

Snowdrops are just poking up through the grass. One or two helebores are flowering. But generally things are taking their time. Last January daffodils were out up at the crossroads in Coleorton and we were pulling rhubarb. This year the rhubarb is just starting to shoot, although a couple of plants we transferred into big tubs are further ahead. I dragged them into the greenhouse to protect them from the frost.

Plenty of wild life activity. Moles are very active in the fields all around and along the grass verges by the roads. They are also busy around our bonfire and have come down the garden as far as the kitchen window. Birds visiting the feeding area include a pair of pheasants, large family of magpies, crows, wood-pigeons, great-tits, sparrows, robins, blackbirds. And a couple of squirrels. The bird table is slowly falling apart. We don't put much food out - just scraps and in the cold weather a scoop of peanuts and seeds. When we filled all the feeders most of the food was taken by squirrels and wood-pigeons and sometimes rats. There's plenty of berries and seeds in the garden and surrounding hedgerows and woods so I don't think they will go hungry. It's nice to see the birds feeding, but the bird-feeders are more for our enjoyment I suspect.

I peeped under the tarpaulin we had left lying over part of the rhubarb patch we are reorganising and found a spherical nest beautifully crafted from dried grass with a small entrance hole. I think it's a field-mouse nest.

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