Written in March (really)

frosty-morningSmall clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!

From Written in March, William Wordsworth, 1802

Sadly the rain hasn’t gone, but here we are, it’s March! Yesterday dawned frosty, sparkly and sunny. Today grey and windy, another dose of rain is on the way.

Yesterday everything had that extra glamour spring sun brings,  flickers of soft sheened rooks and crows lazily taking off and landing as they poked about in the fields. The calling of Buzzards as they wound higher and higher in the warming air. And in the conservatory it got to 31C, huge temperature swings, the Eryngium ebracteatum has started to germinate but it’s not a great environment for seedlings with these swings.

Outside Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is still pumping out scent from pale pink flowers. Pink new growth the colour of young rhubarb and the buds on the Paeonia rockii look horribly vulnerable, yesterday bowed down to the ground by the frost, today perky but wind battered.

Some of the seeds sown a couple of weeks ago in the unheated greenhouse are already up, and all the sweetpeas are now showing. Some of the umbel seedlings outside particularly Laser Trilobum are coming up now too. A shy and retiring umbel from Marina Christopher at Phoenix Plants, Jellito lists seeds, apparently it’s called Horse Caraway (horse in a plant name normally denoting it’s not worth much), but apparently it possesses some sort of beneficial essential oil.

The Sparrowhawk is active, last week it came round a low hedge a foot away from me at waist height, then up and over the lean-to shed homing in with speed and stealth on the bird feeders. Sometimes it sits in the bird feeder tree just looking around. Yesterday while I was out it had struck lucky I think,  I came back to a scattering of fresh small black feathers on the lawn, not sure who bought it yesterday!

scoot-housemk2The mole has been horribly busy working the ground we moved the chickens off, running just under the surface lifting the chicken grazed turf in lines, loops and dead ends. It’s odd to think that pesky little creature can heave it’s way so easily through such packed earth.

This is Scoot House Mark 2 it’s just missing a flag on a wavy pole. As the new chickens don’t care much for nest boxes and prefer to make nests by tearing up newspaper and rearranging the wood shavings, its just flat inside. The idea is that we can move them round the garden more easily whilst keeping the electric fence on. The fox (or a fox) still shows up sporadically on the wildlife cam.

I’ve just looked up the Wordsworth poem after I wrote the above – this website quotes from Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal. Apparently the poem was written on Good Friday, 16th April 1802 (not March) as William and Dorothy walked from Ullswater to Ambleside over Kirkstone pass…

“The view above Ambleside very beautiful. There we sate, and looked down on the green vale. We watched the crows at a little distance from us become white as silver, as they flew in the sunshine; and, when they went still farther, they looked like shapes of water passing over the green fields.”

Some things change little.

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