The Last days

The Year is dying. In these inbetween days we already have seven minutes more light at the end of the day:

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but we still have eleven more days before the morning starts paying back:

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Today – brings sun to light up the landscape

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The sun, always low, gives us sharp shadows

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Ian St John decide it is a day for an exploratory walk-about

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Gloria, the upstart cockerel, decides it is a day to practise his stare

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The psychotic muscovy drakes decide it is a good day to attack

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The neighbouring sheep decide it is a good day to shelter in the dingle

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And the indoor dog decides it is a good day to stay indoors

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Big Duck in a Small Pond

Quite understandably Ian St John thought their pond a bit small
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So they set off to find a better one
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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
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This picture is deceptive as John had to be put in the pond, in spite of the pallet ramp
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Later, we try to make the ramp more friendly
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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
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Old Friend

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:

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We wonder where it found its flaps.

Pink Dawn

There is often a time when the sun starts rising, even if it is below our horizon, when it shoots rays across to the West before moving up above the cloud base. It is easier to catch those moments in December than in June – it is a getting up thing.

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Frozen time

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
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Then when the rays break through the meadow sparkles
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Night time events, normally secret and without trace, are laid out in the cold sunlight glare.

The Fox that has walked by
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and the Sparrow Hawk that has pinned down its prey beneath spread wings
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the resulting struggle is documented in the snow
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all that is left
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Liquid water needs coaxing
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Traditional breed pigs may be hardy but they would prefer not to suck ice
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Last night’s fall petered out towards a foot
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But a new fall sprinkles down as a breeze shakes the branches
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We have no way out
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So we enjoy our own spectacle
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Now that’s more like it

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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

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but at the time of writing we are now over eleven.

Our way out
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was not a way out so most of the day is spent in animal care starting, of course, with the birds

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We hollow out a feeding cave protected from the continuing falls and the Robin takes charge

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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

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As Robins followed the Boar, the birds now follow the sheep as their scratching through the snow exposes the soil and its food

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The wood becomes Narnia-esque

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Other snowy sights

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