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June Ramblings

4th July 2022 @ 10:10am – by Henbury Webteam
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bee chives

Occasional Notes from a Dog Walker

June

A warmish but greyish start to the month. Nonetheless the bees were working the flowers on the chives outside our back door and still rolling up to the bee-houses. Rocket salad at lunch from the seed I sowed in early April – much fresher than a supermarket bag and all grown in a small pot!

Summer really came for the Jubilee celebrations on the Green and stayed another day, then it rained! Dot the Dog very unhappy about our absences and then about the wet – had to keep her wound dry.

The first fields DtD and I pass between Anderton's Lane and the cottages had been cut for hay (or more likely these days "haylage"). The farmer seemed to have got it safely in before the forecast rain came. Red campion in the parts the mower couldn't reach (and in the hedgerow along Anderton's Lane) stunningly brilliant, even on a wet morning – another of those "wildflowers/weeds" that we cannot bear to send packing from our only moderately tidy garden...

To the Millennium Green one warm but greyish evening just after the Jubilee event (dogs not permitted on the Green so DtD had to stay at home). The fox was sitting by the hedge alongside what I suppose must now be called "The Old Vicarage" and eyed me warily, but I waved a cheery "good evening" to it and it had a stretch and I carried on my way, so it settled down again to await the appearance of the bunnies. I had cut our lawn that afternoon and had come across an unmistakable spraint thereon – he or she obviously gets around a bit. Probably had an eye on our resident young rabbit if it hadn't already been caught. Not seen recently...

Finally much joy on the dog front – Dot the Dog was allowed more exercise (but still no ball games which annoyed her intensely – but it was an advance). Her wound was coming on. Over the fields therefore to find the grass had grown so tall that only the heads of the cattle that were lying down and slowly digesting their breakfast could be seen.

A charm of 10 or 15 goldfinches flew over the roof one day. We had seen 5 or 6 at a time on the bird feeders and had assumed that was it, but they must have been coming in relays. The jay came to feed often and one morning two juveniles appeared on the bird table – a bit uncertain but very greedy, not yet in adult plumage. The chaffinches were still about. The young bullfinch (now resplendently red-breasted) was a frequent visitor.

Greenfinches feeding on the seeds of the hardy herbaceous white geranium perhaps explain why it seems to "seed itself all over the place" as they drop them. The starlings (living in next door's roof) had a second brood – a young one scarcely more than a fledgling sat on the roof of the bird table and waited patiently for mum or dad to pop a suet pellet into its mouth from time to time.

Hottest day of the year (thus far). Foxglove spikes becoming quite brilliant in the wilder parts of the fields and hedgerows. An almost Constable view as DtD and I walked in the afternoon – cattle cooling themselves in what remains of the field-flood (still quite a lot). Pity about the building works as a backdrop!

Next day cooler and grey but I was reminded as we walked that when I do a tour of the wildflowers on the Millennium Green with the Rainbows (and this year with the Cubs and at least some of the visitors at the Jubilee celebrations) I always explain that people think that "grass is green". However, at this time of year when meadow grasses (as opposed to lawns) are full grown, a couple of feet tall or more, and in flower there is a wonderful spectrum of whites, pinks, mauves and bright greens to be seen – where the cattle haven't yet grazed them off. Some of the grasses have such luminous flowering heads that they rival the foxgloves for colour. The cattle seemed to have split again into two groups. They all wandered over to inspect Dot the Dog and me but since neither of us took any notice they ambled back to their grazing because we were obviously no threat.

Dot the Dog became increasingly frustrated by her restrictions. We hoped the "Dog Doctor" would soon sign her off, her wound looking pretty good. Even so, one day she found a trail that I was obliged to follow into the scrub in one of the fields. She stopped suddenly and crouched like a hunting cat (a trick I suspect she learned as a pup from the felines on the farm where she was born). She edged forward and suddenly a rabbit sprinted away – fortunately (for it) DtD was on an extending lead and I was quick enough to engage the ratchet and the bunny got away by about a foot.

Talking of rabbits, when I was a youth at a (very) small state grammar school in Suffolk boys from the most rural parts of the catchment area would bring in rabbits' paws with tendons still attached and entertain us with various gestures by proxy... The rest of the rabbit had of course already been consigned to the pot. The paws were regarded as lucky charms.

A swift spotted on the way to the Davenport Arms in Marton for an excellent Sunday lunch (no commission asked for or paid) and a treecreeper spotted on an oak tree near Mossways. DtD thought it might be a squirrel but lost interest when she realised it wasn't.

Dot the Dog was delighted at the end of the month to be allowed by the "Dog Doctor" free range again. Out came the ball!

The new (second) brood of starlings from our neighbour's roof was fully fledged by the end of June and as I put suet pellets on the bird table each morning at least 20 of them descended (bickering with each other).

I remain...

Horrid of Henbury

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