ice inside grass
It’s barely 3 o’clock, and light is vanishing beyond the great sub-arctic lid that settled in our sky. The wind might have died by morning, but winter’s claws now in firm grip of the island. We have been warned, a strange-shaped yellow bubble engulf our shores by the Met Office… So we’ve nailed apples on the edge of the composter and scraps litter the iced grass blades since mid-morning.
Latest tale from the Far-far-north
The garden never quite sound asleep,
|Long-Eared Owl, photographed
at Hoswick – Dave Hall
Last night alone, at 0026, a Long-Eared Owl graced our sight, as it perched for a while on June’s tree, just opposite our kitchen window. I lit the garden for a last check of the grass when the nocturnal predator flew into the spruce. Its silencers makes it a ghost. Magic moment! I just could not really believe my eyes, as the bird landed so gracefully and turned its eyes towards the lit backdoor. Majestic.
Earlier on today, Mr Robin was visible again, as it played around June’s drystone wall and our fence posts. It whizzed and darted around stones and long grass, as elusive as a kingfisher perched on the bank of some river… Starlings and blackbirds made a meal of the half apples well before dusk. Precocious roosting time, de rigueur on this latitude.
The zoomed-out view from my kitchen door pedestal did not look too dramatic this morning. However, hailstones littered the garden and white dusted the nearby hill NW of us (not visible on the photrograph). I heard a gaggle of wild geese, very possibly Greylags, calling from Brakefield, as starlings gathered on my neighbours’ ramskull and washing lines, June’s and mine’s. Such a familiar sight. Light remained dimmed through such short days.
If winter, as a season, selects the fittest of survivors, a hand from our part helps to limit the damage through this yearly carnival of death. Mother Earth and Father Sky have their way in dealing with the natural world, and many plant and animal species have adapted to cope with the gradual or sudden change of temperatures. For those who stay in one place all year round, they have no choice but face the perils of sedentary life, or rather, survival.
Like many thousands of us, friend & local wildlife photographer, Paula Moss, based at Girlsta, north of the town, invests in her local patch by feeding her local birds. Although she confessed she was “plagued” by over some “forty pigeons” (mix of Collared & Rock Doves), she found so much delight in mixing sheep fat with seeds & nuts. Her avian friends certainly appreciate her generosity, as they depend on such helping hand! Such gesture is now embedded in our hearts, and nature gives back in beauty what is so graciously offered to it.
Each solstice and equinox make
the very fabric of our world.
Meantime, we prepare for whiteworld as much as we can.
Coal, bagged and stacked against one wall,
the hearth now glows till late in the night.
Fat water-filled roasting dishes provide a little bit of goodness to our avian friends when left around during the day. Now night has overridden dusk, it will be emptied, washed and re-used for tonight’s dinner.
Still keep an eye through the window, with a thought for my little feathery friends roosting in the trees of the nearby community garden, as well as those, such as wrens and robins, tucked in between stones of walls. Daily survival has its price.