Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Week 92

Week 92

Snow, snow and more snow. Proper snow, about six inches of it, all piled up at the side of the road after my friend peeled the cellophane from his ten year old snow plough, attached it to his tractor and went a ploughing!

Much concern over the amount of salt and grit available, and our local supermarket is all out of Saxo. Panic in the aisles as folk stock up with non perishable food in readiness for a month inside following weather warnings from the grave and austere weatherpersons.

Snow is great. Cold and ice is what everything needs at this time of the year, Flora and Fauna need to know that it is wintertime and will be all the stronger and fitter for pulling through a cold snap. Perhaps it is a lesson that we could learn from nature. I don’t mean the Inuit practice of putting the old folk out on the ice overnight to see if they make breakfast. But those amongst us who can, should, get out and embrace the wintry conditions. Instead of asking everyone to stay at home, encourage the able bodied to get out and deal with life amid the snow. Have a go at driving on snow covered roads and develop a memory bank of how to adjust to conditions, rather than hiding away and waiting for the sun to come out again.

The frozen ground has resulted in the river falling and clearing, the spring ditches are flowing at about the average rate for this time of the year. The Brown Trout in the river look to be in reasonable condition, feeding sub surface and regaining the ounces lost post spawning, the Grayling remain in spanking form.

With heavy snow on the ground, the Pheasant feeders come into their own and become a magnet to a wide range of wild life. The small patch of ground beneath the feeder, clear of snow, with a handful of corn in the middle is a welcome meal for not only Pheasant and Partridge, but many other species of birds. Hand feeding with a bucket of corn in areas clear of snow can really concentrate birds in these conditions.

Ducks remain few and far between, although the wintry conditions have bought the Widgeon whistling up and down the valley. Gadwall have been all over this valley for the past five or six years, but this year, numbers are low. A few more Snipe jag about the valley, and I am sure that a few other species of Duck are on their way to these spring-fed and ice-free waters.
Christmas passed in the usual fun filled and hectic manner, a pile of meat devoured and a trailer full of empties for the bottle bank. New Year was, as always, a jolly night with a similar amount of meat consumed and a second trailer full of green and clear bottles with the added bonus that, for the first New Year Party in recent memory, no one fell in a pond!

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