Seasons Outside My Back Door || May 2016


Mid to late spring has brought with it an abundance of jobs outdoors that has kept me from writing a weekly update of the seasons. It's our busiest time of the year: chicks, nettle taming, grass trimming, planting, weeding, composting, mulching. All alongside the new chicken run we built to keep the chickens safe from predators.

chicken run

But finally, we are coming up for air. Taking deep breaths and looking around us in wonder.

There is so much green out there. The mature sycamore and ash trees we have in our field seem huge this year. They loom large, creating a beautiful canopy with much needed shade underneath. Around them, in the sunshine, patches of buttercups create beautiful pools of yellow. Often, if we cannot see the ducks in the field, it's because they're hunting in these patches, searching out insects, camouflaged until a head suddenly pops up.

The grass is being fed on a perfect diet of sun and rain. It is long, our mower is only just coping with it. I come from the field to the back door with mounds of cut grass stuck to the bottom of my shoes, damp from the dew.

Driving through the country lanes everything seems to be pushing inwards. It's the cow parsley. Majestic, copious and swaying in the wind.

Back in the field the hawthorn trees and hedges have been wonderful this year. Gleaming brightly, clouds of white at the edges of the field, they're now changing to a beautiful pink. Hawthorns are so common that we barely give them a glance but I think it's one of my favourite sights in spring. And I adore seeing blackbirds and smaller birds swoop down and enter the safety of the hedge in order to reach their nest.


Speaking of nests. We have a great spotted woodpecker nest in one of our mature silver birch trees. The woodpecker has made holes in various places; the tree, and surrounding birches, looks like it has been splattered with a tommy gun. But now the baby has hatched and it squeaks loudly all day long. The parents dart in and out with food but it never seems to be full. A bit like when my son was a baby.


And finally, the wildflowers. I went on a hunt around the field to see what I could find. It's tempting to look out and assume it is just green out there. But, as you take your time and properly look, there are all sorts of treasures to be found: Ragged Robin, Common Field-Speedwell, Germander Speedwell, Ground Ivy, Forget-me-not, vetch...Beautiful, delicate colours that are adored by insects.


Such a lovely time of year.