Lots of trips away recently to far flung parts of the country. All of them full of interest and highly enjoyable. Nothing beats coming home though and given that Summer’s lease hath all too short a stay then we want to be here to enjoy it. Having two of us in residence since my move from Lancashire in 2017 mean we can spend more time caring for and expanding on what can be done within the purlieu of our happy acre of garden.
The field wall curves away westward along the ridge and its arc is the synchronicity of returning swallows on the wing. They grace the air around us each year and this season the parents have built their nest atop the beam on the house wall which sustains the long back porch, in the far section of which is our wood store. They are squeeky nervy of human presence so luckily trips to get wood and coal for the burner are minimal at this time of year. Usually the birds take up residence in the railway hut but for whatever reason they are ringing the changes this time around. Other residents nesting – though I’ve not spotted where yet – are dunnock, pied wagtail and blackbird. Nothing compares to the latter cock bird, the most melodious of songsmiths, and hearing him call from his high perch of a warm windless evening is pure delight.
In the pond (now in its third full year) the hierarchy has changed again. Bright yellow insurgent monkey flower predominates where last summer the surface hugging brooklime with its bright tiny flowers was top spreader. I love the miniature iris recently acquired and now in bloom. The delicate water crow’s foot too whose single flowers have debuted as little white stars hovering delicately over the deeper water. The miniature lilies have spread, which is a joy, and the water hawthorn still hangs on, despite being the food plant of many emergent water snails. The appearance of millweed is not welcome, but I’ll keep it in check. As I have with dropwort, monkeyflower and forget me not at the shallow end, scooping it out of the pebbles to allow birds and small mammals access. Frogs are at least two in number and large. I hope they have not driven out the palmate newt population, although I fear they might have. The last adult spotted was on June 1st. The oxygenating weeds are now well established so the newts might be as safe and secure as they can living amidst the tangle of hornwort and other green weeds which cool the still water and keep it fresh. No sign at all this year of the great crested newts we had last season so they may have abandoned us for less contested dwellings somewhere else in the area.
The other night we were delighted to catch sight of our semi-resident hedgehog. A large specimen, snortling around on the porch. Hopefully it’s the same creature who was, earlier this year, hibernating in leaves on the big circular bank and later in the railway hut in the mass of bags, wire, sacks and other gear in store. The cat gets older and thinner, more fussy in her eating habits so uneaten wet food is often put out on the deck when we retire of an evening. It’s always gone by the morning and the hog is the most obvious of night time visitors with a penchant for cat food.