An interesting phenomenon on “Weaver Green” at the start of the month. Several of the new houses had sprouted chimney stacks. They looked brick-built, but perched astride the roof timbers with no apparent flue or connection to anything below – presumably therefore cosmetic. S had seen a wagon load delivered. Dot the Dog and I wondered (hopefully) what the next gale might do
The neighbouring field began to look like a moonscape with a huge number of fresh craters where worms had been dug out by the creatures of the night. By day the crows and jackdaws were doing their bit. DtD was fascinated and insisted on helping out with her nose and paws.
Then a seriously frosty morning. A walk in Over Peover (I know – not Henbury) led us past two fields of sheep with young lambs skipping around. Spring must not be far away. Dot the Dog started moulting, her winter fur coat beginning to be discarded. Another sign of spring – but very annoying when the discarded fur adorns the carpets – if you have never had the pleasure of the company of a dog you won’t understand.
Several mornings of hard frost followed. The bird feeders emptied rapidly. Nonetheless the snowdrops in our garden produced a brave show and should go on for another few weeks. Once established they seed everywhere, so singletons and clumps come up where they were never deliberately planted but fill the barren late winter borders with jollity.
A milder few days but with a coldish breeze and no rain showed the field-floods drying up. Even so the gulls and ducks found swimming space.
Mid-month S spotted a wild bee (first sighting of the year) feeding on the nectar in one clump of our snowdrops and the sunshine on my early(-ish) walk with Dot the Dog one lovely morning had a faint but distinct warmth. I don’t think our mason/leaf-cutter bee houses will produce a new hatching just yet but I am watching.
A heron flew in its rather lazy fashion over our garden and landed in a neighbouring plot where there is a largeish pool. Ours is too small to be of interest but we look forward to frogspawn and DtD will as usual sit and watch the tadpoles with fascination when they appear.
A walk along the canal on a frosty morning was punctuated by a coffee stop just above Bosley top lock. A hare was sitting in the field immediately on the opposite side of the canal. Unfortunately it anticipated my intention to photograph it and by the time I had fired up my mobile phone camera it had sprinted into the nearest hedge – hares do move very fast! Several frosty mornings ensued.
Our first naturalised daffodil flowered and S harvested the first winter leeks (destined for soup) from our minuscule vegetable patch. Cyclamen hederifolium (a wild variety we planted years ago) flowered under the lounge window in a moderately large clump and seeds itself very well with corkscrew-like stalks for the seed heads – so hopefully many more next year. Its relative cyclamen napolitum will pop up in the back garden in autumn and flower until the first frosts – both beautifully dainty. The leek and potato soup was delicious
There came a few mild and breezy days and the big field flood dwindled noticeably – no recent serious rain. The water table must have been falling because instead of the new mole hills moving uphill they began to appear lower down. Dot the Dog and I walked one grey but not cold afternoon and for the first time this year heard a blackbird singing his heart out, perched high in the second tree by the now-derelict stables just off Anderton’s Lane (a brand-new “For Sale” sign having replaced the earlier “Sold” sign).
Towards the end of the month as the mornings lightened earlier the dawn chorus became distinctly audible. A queen wasp appeared looking for a nesting space.
The low sun in the afternoon again picked out the ridge and furrow in the little top field – reminding me that Roger Bowling thought it evidence of ancient husbandry when the book Henbury – History of a Village was published in 2003. Copies are still available from Roger Cousin or Sally Walker (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)if newer residents are interested in our local heritage – there’s a lot to discover.
Almost the last day of the month brought sunshine with a distinct warmth in a bright blue sky. Dot the Dog railed against aircraft that I could scarcely see, let alone hear as they flew at impossible height above “her” fields. I’m sure she would chase them if she could fly It brought to mind the “Snoopy – Air Ace” cartoons with Snoopy the dog in flying helmet and goggles, ears and silk scarf flying in the slipstream. I sat on the patio in sunshine and sorted my new season’s seeds into sowing order – and wondered wherever I might put the vegetable and flower plants I had ordered enthusiastically months ago and that will start appearing on the doorstep in a few weeks.
Then it got cloudy and cold again. My plan to clean out our little garden pool came to nought – I was not minded to plunge my arms over the elbows into almost freezing water.
End of the month. Still cold, but the hawthorn hedges were coming into leaf and the lichen on them showed up lime green-yellow. Henbury air must be reasonably clean – lichen in polluted places is grey-green and as the air gets cleaner it changes through green-yellow to finally red. I don’t suppose we’ll ever get there!
Horrid of Henbury