Archives for posts with tag: swallows

April 's sunset song

The swallow, bonny birdie, comes sharp twittering o’er the sea,
   And gladly is her carol heard for the sunny days to be;
She shares not with us wintry glooms, but yet, no faithless thing,
   She hunts the summer o’er the earth with wearied little wing.

The Swallow

Thomas Aird (1802 – 1876)

The list of gardening tasks grow daily and it seems as if I may never catch up. The past few days have been perfect gardening weather and every opportunity has been spent in the garden (hence the lack of posts!) In the bright sunshine the hedges have turned green with new foliage, seemingly overnight. Bright red, flowering currant is filled with bees and hoverflies, as the bumble bees traverse the garden. Speckled thrush sifts the leaf litter searching for slugs and snails, there is also evidence of the hedgehogs nightly visit. Goldfinches flit across the garden and sing overhead as the wren scolds Oscar and I when we inadvertently stray too near her nest. Greenfinch and chaffinch chase across the garden while the dunnocks and house-sparrows scrap in the hedges. The garden is alive with birds and song…

New foliage bursts under azure skies and the beaming suns warmth, in vibrant greens and reds. Small butterflies, emerging from winter hibernation alight gently, warming their wings in new-found heat. Overhead a new sound “cree, cree” two large birds circle in the sky above, a pair of eagles or buzzards ride the thermals. Robins sing and the tits twitter, darting across the garden from tree to tree, examining the lichen, searching the crevices for small insects, while the great tits flit around the beech hedge. Birds are busy everywhere as Mr Pheasant struts along the drive undeterred by sheep or cattle…

The blue periwinkle (Vinca major) has flowered throughout the winter but now sends out slender new shoots to root where they will and new flowers vibrant in the setting sun. My Christmas present of hellebores are still flowering, filling the garden with brightness from winter through spring until the spring bulbs and summer flowers supplant them.

Daffodils still flower and yet the season seems so brief but maybe it’s just that there are other flowers to delight, while the snowdrops flowered alone. Cowslips (Primula veris), Primrose (Primula vulgaris) and the Cowrose or Primslip, that I forgot to remove last year, looks stunning in another part of the garden! Catching up with weeding, I have no idea what I did last year but this seasons growth suggests ‘not much!’ 😀

Flossy and Esme AKA the “Gardening Girls” assist me as I weed, helpfully standing on the hand-tools and snatching weeds from my gloves, or carefully removing seeds from my clothing. While I am on my knees, Flossy eyes my hair and more worryingly my glasses the ‘look‘ seems to deter her. Esme has been feeling poorly for the past week and stays close to her human, waiting for a juicy worm or grub to be unearthed, unfortunately Flossy gets in on the act too but wanders off and Esme settles down to sleep in my shadow as the day grows warmer. The beech trees will unfurl soon in glorious green, earlier than last spring, I search the sky as I’m sure I hear that familiar cry … And suddenly a swoop and cheerful shriek as his shadow falls upon the garden – a swallow returns! Circling the garden, skimming the beeches and pines; deftly turns and sweeps into the shed. Later, searching for the TV aerial to alight upon he is momentarily disappointed, perching on the chimney pot before skimming the garden, announcing his return to the chickens. The following day his partner arrives with much twittering and chatter.

April sunset

Slowly the sun sets, gradually sinking behind the south-end of the island, azure blue sky fading to grey, umber, purple and blues. Blackbird settles in topmost branch of the Alder tree, throws back his head and sings a long, slow goodnight until night softly descends, wrapping the garden in darkness, even as the waxing silver moon rises above the stirring pines. In the twilight two bats dance, plunge into the shadows, emerging into the last embers of light against the backdrop of the purple sea. We sit in the gloaming as the last light slips away, the first stars emerge and all is still except the wind rustling the dry leaves and noisy voles scuttle amongst the leaf litter…

Thanks for stopping by today


does their absence imply perpetual Spring?

Blue skies

Scan the empty sky –

seeking out familiar cries;

darting form.

But silence is the loud reply.


For the past three summers the skies have resounded to the cries of swallows, but this year the sky remains empty. One lone swallow flew over but finding no others has not returned. Normally there would be a gathering at the nearby farm but so far none have appeared. The recent storms and continuing cold have halted their home-coming.

Although the season seemed to suddenly take off the unpredictable weather is holding everything back. Now, those of you who were still blanketed in snow have over-taken gardens here. It seems it will be forever spring; trays of seedlings awaiting transplanting, trying to harden-off but then the frost returns again. Even the grass is sluggish!

Slowly the Beech unfurls, about two weeks later than normal, hedges clothed in spring green; in the quiet earth small plantlets venture forth… Creation whispers – “patience” – where better to learn patience than in the garden?

Thanks for stopping , whatever you do today – enjoy the moment – this too will pass!

How’s that for enthusiasm? Got the wee orange bus into town and back after a coffee with a friend; hurricane Bertha has blown in so a distinctly autumnal feel to the garden. Wind rattling the slates and house much cooler – forgot to close all the trickle vents – oops! Hollyhocks still standing, no repeat of Sunday’s torrential rain and the sun is almost shining.

There is nothing like moving house for clearing out the clutter but after two years things are silting up again. Just as I was painting my room (almost two years ago) my mum became ill; so said room has had boxes sitting in it all this time. Finally, being unable to stand it any longer, have tidied the shed, moved the boxes, tidied my room (almost) and feel I can breath again. Now there is room for the swallows to fledge, the cat the have a cat’s eye view and no excuse for not finding things. Phew! Swallows have raised three broods (we think), there are certainly a lot of swallows diving around though one or two casualties during the very hot weather.

Had a very nice visit with my mum yesterday, thought she had gone to the church service but found a little group enjoying afternoon tea and then they started reminiscing. It was lovely to hear their stories especially as they are usually so self-contained; we felt very privileged to be a part of it. Failing memory robs people of so much but I really respect those who care so well for our elders. We, as their children, must be their advocates speaking up when necessary, not a comfortable place to be but if we don’t who will?

Kate Swaffer writes a wonderful blog from a very personal point of view, you can find it here:

Whatever you do today, enjoy the moment and the memories!

Somewhere over the rainbow...

It seems strange to open the curtains to empty skies. For weeks now the air has been filled with swallows, streaking and shrieking across the blue. Several days ago great gatherings of swallows lined the telephone wires. The air was full of expectancy, so I was surprised to find the swallow babies and their parents back to roost. Two days later, opening the shed, the babies were in a state of great excitement, flying from one end of the shed to the other. That night the shed was quite, a single adult returned to roost. The next day he did not return either. “One swallow doth not a summer make”  but their absence does indicate that summer’s end is here. So “Farewell” swallows – until your cries rend the skies announcing summer’s sweet return…

Stormy Weather

West wind has buffeted the cottage, rattling  slates, tugging at flashings. The sea, whipped into a deep swell, flings whites waves crashing onto the shore. The little cordyline throws down it’s sword-like leaves, like a bad tempered armourer, bending and swaying with every gust.

Morning rituals, coffee; unlock the shed, this morning greeted by swallow babies and parents reluctant to leave it’s shelter.  A weak, watery sun percolates the yellow sky, rain drops trace the window panes.

Golden grain gathered in, straw bales line the fields, a frenzy of silage and haylage, winter food for livestock. Such an odd year of weather. Herbs seeds waiting to be gathered, hedgerows share their bounty, blackbird and robin return to the garden.

Astronomical autumn may be  weeks away but meteorological autumn comes in with a thump!