Saturday, 29 February 2020

Small things of joy in a worrying world

I felt anxious for quite a lot of yesterday. It's tempting to keep glancing at the news: virus activity, Brexit stupidity, biodiversity - loss of... Today, helped by the fact it was dry and warm despite the rain announced, I planted lettuces in my chicken-proof area of the garden and made a small pond out of a yellow plastic something I had found previously at our local recycling haven. Chickens are forest  creatures by nature according to my favourite permaculture person on Youtube; they love to hang about in marshy areas under trees, roost and eat insects. Well, the small plastic pond isn't quite going to recreate that but it's a start.
Late February and the garden and all its occupants are behaving as if it's late March; why would they not though, I'm gardening in a t-shirt (and jeans ;0)) and it's about 25 degrees on the terrace . . . I've put signs out warning of being cautious re nest-building but certain birds have taken no notice - mainly our resident daft but lovely collared doves. They usually start attempting to build a nest around mid March behind one of our shutters - bizarre as the shutter open and shuts, obviously, and the few twigs become dislodged as dusk approaches and we are obliged to close up for the evening. I did hang an old basket in a tree at the edge of the terrace, even with some starter twigs inside but nope, the shutter was preferable. Eventually they flew off into one of the cypress trees and constructed their one up-one down for that nesting season.
So, the small thing of joy... this year, they have opted for a nesting site in the middle of the old conifer bush which borders the terrace. We can eat lunch/drink tea and quietly observe the comings and goings of the bloke-bird as his partner sits patiently on the rather basic, it must be said, twig platform.
Stop press: I've just observed over lunch that they take turns to nest-sit I had wondered if the male was about to bring a sort of packed lunch, but she's off to forage for her own.


Just found this image of a dove's nest behind a satellite dish, so maybe behind our shutter was not quite as odd a location as I thought.

It's early days for spring - far too early so I hope we don't get a vicious cold snap, not just for the doves' sakes; for ourselves as the wood-pile is almost gone (we had enough wood from last year due to this mild winter) and for the sakes of the early-blossoming fruit trees/vines and those who depend on their fruiting for their livelihoods. The last two years have resulted in late frosts in certain vine areas and masses of potential fruit not happening. 

Small fires lit to try and save the vines from frosting, April last year.

Other small things of joy today: Mark will probably make a cake, I will take the dogs out to a nearby lake then I'll make a fire and put aside time to read one of the many books on a teetering pile in the front room.

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