When we arrived at the corner and could look into the field, we noticed immediately that the gate was open. At first, we thought that, as it was quite a mild day, John had, perhaps, left it open to air the field. It probably gets quite musty in there – shut up all summer. Next year’s occupants are currently languishing in the barn, I’m sure they would be pleased to know that their field was being properly prepared for them.
But no, on closer inspection, we detected his tractor, in the far corner, down near the beck. We realised at once that something, far more fundamental than merely taking the net curtains down and washing them, was going on. In fact, last years mowings were being returned to their appointed place in the scheme of things.
What we were viewing was nothing less than The Circle of Life. The grass was mown in late summer – then stored until just the current contingency occurred. Then its big break came – and it was fed to the cattle sequestered in enviable luxury within the byre.
The cattle leapt into action! They immediately began the task of processing the raw material. Soon, John was able to perform the final stage in the ritual. He loaded the end product onto his trailer and returned it – with all due ceremony – to whence it came.
This morning, as we left the house, it was obvious that something was going on. What a noise! We wandered out of our little lane and turned down the road – the sound getting louder and louder as we approached.
As we’d guessed – hedge trimming was in full swing. This is the ideal time to do it from our point of view. The hedges have become very overgrown, and now that they have all gone to sleep for the winter they won’t wriggle and squirm while they are having their hair cut. A couple of weeks ago we had several days of frost and that softened up the berries on the various plants and bushes. The birds and small mammals immediately took advantage and relieved the bushes of their fruit in very short order.
So, the bushes have dozed off and the cupboard is bare – who could possibly complain that the rampant growth of spring and summer is being tidied up and made shipshape and Bristol fashion.
No doubt it will also assist with the search for the best nesting site as soon as spring turns up next year.
Poof! Well, we’re back to the old grind. A blog, once a week, on Friday. In many ways, it’s comforting to be back. It was exciting writing a poem a day with no idea what the subject of our rhyme would be – until we had a photo to work with. Mostly, we managed to use an image taken that morning on the phone – We did cheat a couple of times, but I’m sure you didn’t notice.
Today’s picture is of holly leaves. During November we had a picture of them that included some nice bright red berries. Today, you’ll notice their absence.
Holly Berries are very hard – and even birds find them indigestible – until we get a good frost. The cold not only softens the berries, but it also changes them chemically to make them more nutritious. We have had a few frosty mornings lately, and the berries must have responded to the cold. The birds didn’t stand on ceremony, Christmas or no Christmas, Holly branches with no red berries troubled them not at all. They had cleaned the bushes out completely a few days after the frost.