A life full of birdsong and blossom

As I walk quietly towards the milking shed each morning, I am accompanied by a chorus of birdsong, filling the early morning air. The trilling, chirping and warbling of species, unseen, yet still very present here at Riverside, accompany me as I go about my morning routine.

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High above the fields surrounding my cottage, a skylark produces a melody so fluid and harmonious that it flows through my body like liquid gold, making my spirits rise almost as high as the bird itself, barely a distant dot in the still golden sky, way up high. I look up, squinting to see it. Yet despite the distance between us, the song reaches me, in more ways than one.

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A melanistic cock pheasant shimmers. His shades of metallic emerald and deep forest green almost sparkle in the morning light. He flaps out of the hedgerow, panicking when he catches sight of me.  His cackling call “korr kok,  korr kok ” fills the air as he flies away.

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I absorb the scents, sights and sounds around me. Reluctant to go back inside. I store them in my mind to be recalled another day.

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I think our senses become keener when we choose to live closer to nature. We tend to notice the faintest sounds. The smallest rustle in the hedgerow. The merest hint of red in the sky. We grow to ‘know’ the wild creatures that visit us. We are able to identify each thrush, moorhen, squirrel or badger. Inside our minds we have nicknames for them all.  Or at least I do.

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Egromond is a pale olive-green toad that lives here. He shelters under an old  metal feed trough, now used as a planter, and he overwinters in the log shed’s dark, damp corners until Spring.  

Mildred is a moorhen, that currently sits patiently on her clutch of  six pale speckled eggs , set in a nest made of bent flag iris stems, on my wildlife pond. She is skittish and aloof. Her partner, Mervin, resides on the river here but visits her often. He is brave enough to feed under the bird table in full view of me. Mildred never feeds in front of me.  If I happen to get too close to her she shrieks and swears and flits off into the hedgerow, still telling me off at full volume for getting too close, even when she is out of sight.. but she  swiftly returns to her nest as soon I am a safe distance away.

Horace is the hedgehog  that once rolled down the steep slope that leads up to the river bank and surprisingly ( for us both) landed at my feet as I walked up to lock in my hens in one evening.

He is a hardworking hero here..eating all manner of garden pests. I  always make sure there are plenty of leafy and twiggy corners here for him and his family to nest in each winter.

Spirit is the barn owl that silently hunts the banks of the river  and perches on one of the vegetable garden’s fence posts, to eat his catch.  He once did so whilst I was milking Tansy.  His  razor-sharp beak tearing at a flaccid mouse’s body, whilst holding it with talons, curved and deadly, as I was a mere three feet behind him, sitting in the milking shed, as he perched with his soft amber  and grey speckled back facing me. He is INCREDIBLY handsome and I have a feeling he knows it!

……there are many more….and so it goes on. I feel as though I ‘know’ them all.

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Signs of spring are welcomed, rejoiced even, as buds appear, at last!….and then they burst open to reveal blossom, so perfect,  that we pray the rain holds off, at least until the butterflies, bees and other pollinators like the furry little bee flies have a chance to visit and do the most important job of all.

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I have a life full to overflowing with so many ‘treasures’ that I never feel the need to escape or have a holiday. In this day and age, a time of materialism and consumerism, that is a pretty remarkable thing to achieve I think and I have Riverside and ALL the creatures who reside here with me to thank for it  xx

Blessings xxx

Louth Festival of the Bees

Louth Festival of the Bees

Louth In Bloom group are holding The Louth Festival of the Bees in which Transition Town Louth is organising a day of workshops, displays and lectures on Thursday 23rd May 2013 at the British Legion Hall, 55 Northgate, Louth. LN11 0LY and a week of art exhibitions from the 17th to 23rd of May on a bee and wildflower related theme.

Through a child’s eyes…..

Do you remember when you were a small child, how you noticed the tiny cracks in the pavement or the scurrying tiny bright red spiders (Clover Mites) that ran over your garden walls in Summer time or the velvety deep green moss on the old shed roof or the fragile spider-webs with dew drops suspended on their delicate threads, like tiny crystal necklaces.

Can you remember that?

What happens to our  vision when we grow older? Do we stop looking ?…..or just stop seeing?

The next time you go for a walk, take the time to look at it all, as if  through a child’s eyes.

Get down low and look up through the trees.

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See lacy branches in silhouette against a golden sunset sky.

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Examine beautiful reflections in puddles.

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Absorb the sunset or sunrise.

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Investigate the papery texture of a silver birch’s bark.

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Look for buds about to burst with life.

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Get up close and personal with things on the ground.

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Beautiful, Vibrant, Scarlet Elf Cup Fungi!

We all have the ability to get our childlike vision back, if we take the time. ..and what a great way to appreciate the wonders of nature all around us…..and to see them afresh and anew!

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A carpet of delicate white snowdrops

REALLY LOOK!  But more importantly take time to actually see …

Today I was walking along the field path, heading towards the paddocks that I rent for our driving ponies and my daughter stopped me several times to show me things she had found. Her excited voice pointing out lots of wonderful things, that to her were worth stopping and truly looking at.

She absorbs her surroundings, her eyes are keen and constantly searching the environment for treasures and new discoveries…and what glorious things she saw !

Here are a few more photos of some of the things that we both discovered on our short walk today, a walk that we take every single day.

Yet still so much to see.

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Fairy meeting place..

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Contrasts! Soft and sharp!

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Bracket fungus

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Nature’s fabric designs

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Nodding heads of snowdrops

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A nest tucked away in a thorny hedgerow

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The sun saying goodnight

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Our ponies at the end of a beautiful day.

I hope you’ve enjoyed ‘seeing’ them!

🙂