It is seven thirty in the morning and our buzzard skims the trees chased by a pair of jays, the rooks land next to it and usher it away from their rookery. Later they will dive bomb the bigger bird as it circles on a thermal, rising into the blue.
I have said farewell to my cousin from Australia and as we stood outside the kitchen a shaft of sunlight lit up the hill behind Bardsea and then produced a rainbow. A grand goodbye.
The air is cold but shoving my hands into the compost heap soon warmed them up. (It was steaming.)
Do we have a small wood, a copse or a grove? I have found that there are ways of calculating the age of trees by measuring their girth at chest height.
It transpires the bug sycamore and most off the ash trees in the wood are about 120 years old.
The seedling horse chestnut is now twelve feet high and thriving, the thornless hawthorns are loaded with fruit bending the branches down towards the grass though why, when I planted two identical trees one is much bigger than the other mystifies me.
Sycamore leaves are ageing and now spattered with blackspot. This is caused by the fungus Rhytisma acerinum.
The white birch stand out in their patch of long grass. I have decided not to mow amongst them this year.
White is so important in a world of green - a garden is mainly multiple shades of green. Japanese anemone on the right, phlox on the left and a bee in a white mallow flower below left, bellflower (campanula) below right.
That is not to say that there are not some other colours still -
In the house this gerbera had come again,
the fuchsias by the gate are delicate and contrast well with the grasses
And since we hacked back the buddleia the shrubby clematis is bursting with flowers.
We have carrots -
and even a rogue nasturtium growing on the compost heap.
When we look at butterflies we see the gaudy open wings but here a painted lady shows of her beautiful underwings.
And the vicious rose "Grouse", a ground cover rose has pretty flowers and a faint scent.
R has eaten our only ripe fig.
And rabbits do eat damson leaves.
And if only our garden was as small and neat as this one from the Lowick Show - well . . .