The world is green and tangled. We have trouble making our way through the long lush grass and prefer to use the more well-worn routes. The heady smells of wild flowers and plants in the garden fill our heads. The lilac is particularly beautiful. Harvest went to her library and found a passage from 'Walden' written by the American, Henry David Thoreau in 1854. It was also known as 'Life in the Woods' and was an autobiographical collection of writings related to his two year stay at Walden Pond.
'Still grows the vivacious lilac a generation after the door and lintel and the sill are gone, unfolding its sweet-scented flowers each spring, to be plucked by the musing traveller; planted and tended once by children's hands, hi front-yard plots- now standing by wallsides in retired pastures, and giving place to new- rising forests;- the last of that stirp, sole survivor of that family. Little did the dusky children think that the puny slip with its two eyes only, which they stuck in the ground in the shadow of the house and daily watered, would root itself so, and outlive them, and house itself in the rear that shaded it, and grown man's garden and orchard, and tell their story faintly to the lone wanderer a half-century after they had grown up and died- blossoming as fair, and smelling as sweet, as in that first spring. I mark its still tender, civil, cheerful lilac colors.'
As today is Saturday we are expecting Dad to come home from the Chicken Supermarket with yummy packages. Then he has to mend Kizzie's car in preparation for it's annual Test on Monday. There could be plenty of excitement today! Mum will be bustling about - but not near Dad - as she and Harvey are taking her Mum to Devon tomorrow to see Auntie Sylvia (same name, but not my best friend!) They will set out early and not return until late, so Dad and Honey will have a nice quiet day.
Have a good Saturday everyone! Gordon xxx
This has been a most eventful week. The weather has provided us, as well as it, with highs and lows. Since the drought was announced in April we have had the wettest weeks imaginable - and as the drought was ended for some regions on Friday - the sun comes out! But as a result of this, the grass and plants have grown massively in just seven days; the multitude of slugs and snails have been vastly outnumbered by flies and insects and we are dustbathing instead of wallowing in mud. Even the Ash tree is starting to produce her leaves, at last! The cuckoo arrived last weekend and the swallows. About 60 or 70 to be precise. They swung low on the wires - and wondered if they had made a mistake! But they obviously knew that the air would be rich with food in a day or two. If the politicians left the forecasting to us creatures we would all be a lot better off!
In March when the first bluebells appeared we thought it would be a very short season for them. But as the wet weather came in, they kept on growing and blooming - and still are! The rhododendrons in their pink, white, purple and red dresses are lighting up the darkest corners of the woods. Lois is being visited by the Jackdaws and Magpies - all after a bit of soft lining for their nests. It provides a welcome mobile scratching service for Lois, who has no interest whatsoever in her hay now, prefering the lush meadow grass. We have been warming our bodies in the sunshine at the top of the paddock, and the ground is alive with bugs and worms - a veritable feast.
At Wattlebury Cottage the wild birds are very busy. There is a pair of Goldfinches nesting in the fir trees; Wilf and his mate - the Greater Spotted Woodpeckers; Sparrows under the tiles in the roof; Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves; Chaffinches, Blackbirds, Great Tits, Blue Tits - oh and a gang of swallows! On Friday we had our power supply cut off from 8 in the morning until 4 p.m. And our babies are under the brooder and the big incubator is full of our eggs. So Dad took them all to work with him! The babies were very tired that evening as it had been a very exciting day for them.
The Ash last Monday
And the Oak
The Swallows arrived - May 8th
And set off in search of food
May 12th - we can see the Downs again!
Truffle enjoying the sunshine
Love Sylvia and Gordon xxx
We were looking through some old books that Harvest the Duck has in her library behind the straw bale and found some spooky superstitions to do with May. Apparently it is widely thought unlucky to bring flowering thorn, or may, into a house. And then again it also said in another book that it was unlucky to cut down a thorn, but lucky to bring it into the house as it keeps ghosts at bay. What's going on there then?
May Day was the first day of the Celtic summer, and May Queens and Green Men (or Jacks-in-the-Green) shrouded in oak and hawthorn leaves were both fertility symbols which, like the maypole, were banned by Puritans. That may explain a lot - can it be the reason that because our oak leaves and may are only just appearing we haven't hatched many chicks yet?!
But the best bit we found, and had a chuckle at, was written by The Reverend Francis Kilvert , c1870 -
'May Eve. Saturday. This evening being May Eve I ought to have put some birch and wittan (mountain ash) over the door to keep out the 'old witch'. But I was too lazy to go out and get it. Let us hope the old witch will not come in during the night. The young witches are welcome.'
And we would like to wish our Aunty Bella (of Honey Jacket-Knitting fame) a Very Happy Birthday for today! Sylvia and Gordon xxx
Well - it certainly makes interesting reading looking back in our diary to this time last year. We well remember Mum shuffling about and trying to make mud (can you believe it!) for the swallows at the end of April, because it was so dry. Our swallows arrived yesterday and looked a little jaded and disappointed at the lack of warmth. But plenty of mud! The rain has been incessant for the last couple of weeks and we are getting thoroughly fed up with it to be honest. We are tiptoeing across the yard to try and minimise the amount of sog on our toes and some of our poor friends in muddier places can frequently be seen sneaking off to the local hostelry for comfort. Lois still enjoys a couple of slices of hay, not so much to eat, as to sit on and have a warm dry bed. The oak trees have only just forced their leaves out of the buds and the ash - well, it just doesn't want to open its buds at all. It is not even trying! How different to last year.
Wattlebury hanger however has provided great amusement for Mum. She can frequently be seen playing Pooh Sticks with Harvey as the stream gathers momentum and heads towards the lake at a fair old rate. Sometimes we hear distant whoops of delight, occasionally the opposite as her boot takes a slithery scoot down the bank.
Harvey enjoys tracking the deer along the old tractor lines in the Big Field. And Honey insists on being carried nearly everywhere.
We do have some babies though. The nursery is getting noisier as they play boisterously with each other. A few little Gold relatives of mine, and one or two babies of Sylvias. And some baby Rosecombs - they look a bit bossy already!Gordon xxx