Well, what a month we have had. The wet weather of February is but a distant memory, blotted out by the snow and the incredibly cold east wind we experienced earlier this month. On the farm it was a battle to get water to the horses; the hens water supply froze nightly and had to be thawed out each morning; not a pleasant task. As an egg contains a high percentage of water I anticipated a drop in egg production but the hens, clearly finding they were better off inside than out, managed to keep on laying. The extreme cold then gave way to a quick thaw which inevitably, in spite of having taken preventative measures against the cold, lead to burst water pipes. However, we must be thankful that, for now at least, temperatures are back to normal for the time of year and we hope that we shall not see a return of the snow which is still affecting other parts of the country.
As the breeding season approaches many birds are singing lustily. Perhaps they are making up for lost time. The feeders need replenishing daily. A group of long-tailed tits visits regularly, there is an increase in the number of chaffinches and a pair of bullfinches has also been seen. It would be good if their numbers increased. The barn owls which nest locally must have had difficulty finding food as they rely, for a large part, on small mammals, such as voles, which would have been hidden under the snow. A heron was seen inspecting the pond; it flew off unsatisfied, the fish being well down in winter. March is the month for Toadwatch, of course, when Beanford Lane is closed to protect the toads crossing the road to spawn in the lakes. Additionally there will be toad signs in Blind Lane, in Oxton, warning drivers to take care as toads will be crossing. Local residents, who will be patrolling as usual, will be happy for any support given.
The Bookcase, in Lowdham, has published the First Friday programme of talks, all of which involve subjects of local interest. The talks take place in the Methodist Chapel, in Lowdham on the first Friday of the month. If all are of the calibre of the Pitman’s Story they are definitely not to be missed. Fans of Gilbert and Sullivan operas can also enjoy the cabaret and film night in Lowdham Village Hall on March 30th. Anyone who enjoys a social evening plus talks on a range of subjects of rural interest may be interested in the Country Link organisation. The next talk, to take place at The Gleaners, in Calverton, will be about the British Equestrian Federation. Non-members, for whom there is a small charge, are, of course, welcome.