Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The Spring is Sprung

The Spring is Sprung
The grass is ris
I wonder where the birdies is?
The birdies is upon the wing!
Don't be absurd!
The wing is on the bird!

My Dad taught me this when I was a youngling and it stuck with me, popping up to the top of my memory every spring. It's the idea that spring suddenly leaps up which I like the most, because it always seems to me that one minute, everything is still dormant, or at least drowsy, and all it takes is a little sunshine and warmth, and boinggg! Everything is awake and growing like mad. I'd never really thought about the grass 'rising' until I studied small-scale livestock management and found out about 'first bite', when the grass starts growing again after winter. When you have stock to turn out, having enough grass for them, and that it has indeed started growing, is important. In fact, it becomes something of an obsession. We had sheep on tack this spring (Lleyn x Texel x something else perhaps) and they seemed to go quite well on what grass was there, even before it started growing away. The lambs have been totally cute, pronking and butting one another, several of them forming a temporary creche before running, bleating, back to their ewes for milk and comfort.

I know exactly where the birdies is because they are all flying around and showing off, singing and eating like there's no tomorrow. The jackdaws have rebuilt their nest in the false chimney on the main house, and Mr Jackdaw sits on the stack providing a running commentary about something, presumably telling his Mrs what she's missing as she sits on the eggs. ('Those chickens are in the yard again, and that mad woman who talks to me all the time ....').

It has officially been Spring for just over three weeks now, since Ostara/Spring Equinox. Even so, it has only been in the past week or so that things have really started to flourish. The weather on Good Friday was abysmal, heavy rain and high winds. The chickens were not very impressed at having to stay in all day. Greebo insisted on going out, getting soaked, complaining and sulking about it until he was dried off, and then going out again. I don't know what he's going to do when I move; I can't persuade him just to use a litter tray (although he has taken to spraying more frequently, including in the house, the little &*%%£$!). After the horrible weather had blown through, the usual April high settled in for a few days of warm sunshine, chilly winds and brilliant blue skies. I saw my first butterflies the other day, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock, and have noticed growing numbers of moths at night, but haven't yet done any trapping to see what they are.

Glorious spring weather notwithstanding, it never feels like spring to me until the swallows start to arrive. I had to pop into St Clears yesterday to run various errands, and as I was enjoying the drifts of primroses, daffodils, wood anemones, wood sorrel, violets, the first of the bluebells, stitchwort and red campion, there were the first few swallows overhead.

Yes! The sun is shining, the birdies are upon the wing, and spring has truly sprung.

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