Oh, what a beautiful day! After waking to so many wet days it is a real joy to see the sun. Although I do not keep records I do not remember ever seeing so much rain in the first quarter of the year. It certainly made it difficult to start spring work on the farm as the ground became supersaturated and could not support the tractors and machinery. We held back as long as possible to avoid compressing the soil and making wheelings which then hold the water and cause problems with subsequent cultivations. In addition low temperatures made everything slow to start growing. Now the ground is warming up. The difference that the temperature makes is plain to see. Hedges are greening up almost overnight, as is the grass; fruit trees and ornamentals are thick with blossom; hawthorn trees and hedges will soon be a picture. I have not yet discovered if the saying “ne’er cast a clout till may be out” refers to may blossom (another name for hawthorn) or to the month of May. If you know the answer to this one perhaps you would be kind enough to tell me.
Locally we have a huge new Garden Centre to visit. Beside the “old” A46, not far from Bingham, in common with many garden centres it sells a wide range of merchandise in addition to plants and garden goods and has a restaurant/tearoom where the non-garden minded can while away the time.
Now is a good time to do some bird-spotting. While the trees are not in full leaf it is not difficult to locate the bird whose song I am trying to identify. Many are nesting now so it is not unusual to see a blackbird with its beak full of “baby food”. They do work hard. Oddly, three male blackbirds seem to be determined to nest inside the farm buildings. They are constantly sparring with each other for supremacy. There are more collared turtle doves here this year; the chaffinches are back from their partial migration and several robins have established their territories. I was pleased to see moorhens back on the pond. The mallard ducks have been spoilt for choice this year, with water where no water should be. Brave swallows arrived on April 13th; they like to sit on the weathercock, keeping up a non-stop twittering when they are not swooping to and fro over the buildings in their search for insects.