Monday, 28 September 2015

Down to the Woods

I have lived in this house for 18 years and never entered the local woods.

I heard tales of needles, heard people on dirt bikes and at one time the police helicopter spent a LOT of time hovering over the woods.

A wood has the capacity to be a very scary place, think of Grimm's tales.  Bad things happen in woods..... or so the tales go.  So although the wood clearly provides an excellent habitat for the local wildlife I have never felt the urge to enter it for some reason.

Until this weekend.

One of my goals for this year was to make some sloe gin and for that you need sloes.  I did some research and found that sloes are in the wood.  I asked my husband whether I should go sloe hunting in the woods one day.  His response was to wait until the weekend and we would go together......  that says something I think.

So on Sunday we went off like an aged Hansel and Gretel into the woods to search for sloes.

And do you know what it was nice, really nice and not at all scary.

The sun was shining, which always helps and although there was a lot of rubbish at the point where we entered the wood once you got some way in the paths were clear and the dappled sunshine through the trees was a delight.

We saw a family out dog walking and some girls on horses.  We did some tree spotting, saw some butterflies, scared a bunch of rabbits at the edge of the wood and generally had a lovely walk.

When we came home I said that I was sad that we hadn't gone into the woods before.  It genuinely had not entered my head before to do so and that is all about the myth of the wood and the tales that people have told both locally and historically. So now on a nice weekend morning we have vowed to have a walk in the woods, to see the changing of the seasons on our doorstep and enjoy this space that is visible a stone's throw from our door.

Oh.... and we collected a small bag of sloes as well so a result on all levels don't you think?

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Circle of life

Last weekend when out in the garden we saw a sparrow hawk fly quite low overhead.

It was circling, clearly looking for prey.

Just before it got to the wood it plummeted down like a stone.  We waited but it didn't come back up so it must have caught something.

It was quite exciting and something I haven't seen before.

Then this morning I went into the front garden and in the corner there were feathers, not in a ring, but all in a small area. I knew straight away that the sparrow hawk had taken the blackbird that frequents our garden. I speak to him (or her) when I'm hanging the washing or weeding, or I did.

I know it is the circle of life and all that but I feel really sad that my little blackbird friend is no longer.

On a happier note next door's sparrows are providing some excellent entertainment.  The sparrows have a nest in next door's loft and at this time of year they are roosting in the bushes in our garden. They are like a bunch of kids squabbling and sending bird feed everywhere and doing a great line in teasing the cats by flying by just out of reach.

I think I will take a cup of tea into the back garden to hear them chattering to cheer myself up.  And the garden is looking pretty good at the moment so all in all some warmth from the sun and the sparrows should do the trick and lift my mood.