The Year is dying. In these inbetween days we already have seven minutes more light at the end of the day:
but we still have eleven more days before the morning starts paying back:
Today – brings sun to light up the landscape
The sun, always low, gives us sharp shadows
Ian St John decide it is a day for an exploratory walk-about
Gloria, the upstart cockerel, decides it is a day to practise his stare
The psychotic muscovy drakes decide it is a good day to attack
The neighbouring sheep decide it is a good day to shelter in the dingle
And the indoor dog decides it is a good day to stay indoors
Quite understandably Ian St John thought their pond a bit small
So they set off to find a better one
Unfortunately, this pond is full of newts and water lilies – these things should not be duck food.
So we try to make a (temporary) alternative
This picture is deceptive as John had to be put in the pond, in spite of the pallet ramp
Later, we try to make the ramp more friendly
but so far we still have to help all three of them in and out.
Meanwhile all is sorted with the right person top of the tree
Last Winter the Tree Creeper patrolled the Hawthorn and Ash close to the house.
Come Summer he disappeared. We know:
“When it comes to nest building, the treecreeper does not opt the most common solution. Instead, it builds its nest behind a flap of loose bark. The treecreeper starts with a base of twigs and then add grass, moss, lichen and wood chips. It takes about a week to build the whole nest. The female then lines the nest with hair, wool and feathers.”
and we don’t think we have enough loose bark.
But now, it is back – same trees, same time:
We wonder where it found its flaps.
Morning breath hangs in the frozen air, the frosty world changes perspective and slows down time.
Before the sun rises it illuminates a rise on the horizon that would not stand out if not white
Then when the rays break through the meadow sparkles
Night time events, normally secret and without trace, are laid out in the cold sunlight glare.
The Fox that has walked by
and the Sparrow Hawk that has pinned down its prey beneath spread wings
the resulting struggle is documented in the snow
all that is left
Liquid water needs coaxing
Traditional breed pigs may be hardy but they would prefer not to suck ice
Last night’s fall petered out towards a foot
But a new fall sprinkles down as a breeze shakes the branches
We have no way out
So we enjoy our own spectacle
People sometimes say that snow is not like it used to be, but today it was.
It two o’clock this afternoon we measured eight inches
but at the time of writing we are now over eleven.
Our way out
was not a way out so most of the day is spent in animal care starting, of course, with the birds
We hollow out a feeding cave protected from the continuing falls and the Robin takes charge
According to Stephen Moss in a recently published book
“continental robins followed wild boars around in order to obtain the invertebrates produced when their tusks turned over the soil, in Britain – with boars hunted to extinction during the medieval period – they followed people instead.”
Whatever the reason, Robins do pop up as soon as we start doing anything outside
As Robins followed the Boar, the birds now follow the sheep as their scratching through the snow exposes the soil and its food
The wood becomes Narnia-esque
Other snowy sights
Lame John and his consorts take a morning walk and leave their mark:
Also spotted today:
White duck John has a poorly foot and is being given companionship by black(ish) duck Ian
Saint, John’s rightful partner, feels a bit shunned
and is off to find some black ducks of her own
they seem to have more fun
but do they really lay black eggs?
And so the sun goes down