“It’s frustrating to not be able to make a start, but the soil is still cold and sodden. When the last of the snow retreated into dark hedges sheltered from the sun, the land may have thawed but it was once again saturated with the deluge of heavy rains. We must be patient. Experience tells me to wait to put in the carrot and radish seeds. Still, I would like to get out and prepare the soil, prune, and tidy.
“Instead, I watch as the channel I dug to protect the track from runoff has been destroyed in places by the cattle. The potholes are growing, despite a mini break in the weather several weeks ago when we filled dozens. The moles, rats, and rabbits have left us with some ankle turning land. Repairs to some of the outbuildings remains on hold as it is too wet to make the needed interventions.
“At this time of the year, it is hard to focus on anything other than the cold and wet. But, there is a beauty in this seemingly dead of winter. The grass is not simply green, but accented with colours of gold, brown and red. Layers of cloud upon cloud cover the sky in multiple tones of grey. Gone for the winter are the summer migratory birds and it has been months since the Swallows and House Martins have been here dive-bombing about the house feasting on insects. I know their return soon will announce the arrival of spring, so too the Cuckoo.
“The wildlife is different during this time of the year as much of it is in hibernation or just lying low until spring. Much, but not all. The earthworms are being tugged out of the ground by our chickens as they seek foraged delights. The Sparrows, Tits, Robins, Finches, Nuthatches and Jackdaws are taking it in turns to sustain themselves on the seeds we put out daily. And none of this winter rain, wind, or mud has stopped the walkers. Why should it? If we waited for fine weather, then we would never go outside. These intrepid souls have been out in huge numbers loaded with their binoculars, cameras, maps and walking sticks.”