Thank you all for your lovely comments yesterday, I do appreciate them.
As the forecast is for rain literally all day today, I thought I'd post a couple of pics I took yesterday when it was lovely and sunny.
The farmers, who work really hard and long hours and are very much governed by the weather, spent all afternoon yesterday gathering the long grass in the field behind us for silage. For the past couple of years, maize had been grown there (used for animal feed, not human consumption), but they're growing a type of grass instead for the next couple....I guess it's crop rotation, similar to what we do in our veg plots, but on a much grander scale of course.
There are now loads of swallows and house martins zipping around feeding off the flies drawn to the cow pats in the front field.....we have lots of house martins every year, but this is the first year we've had so many swallows, previously it's just been a handful. They sometimes stop for a rest and gather on the telephone wires over our front garden.....it's funny, it starts off with 3 or 4 settling on the wires, then over the next couple of minutes lots more arrive. It's as if a bell has gone off signifying tea break!
The martins are starting to show an interest in nest building.....several of them have been investigating the remnants of the nests left under our eaves from last year. I wonder if the same pairs use the same nest, or whether it's a case of 'first come, first served'?
This is the nest built beside our bedroom window last year, a pair of martins have begun renovating it.....knocking a few bits off and replacing with new mud and bits and pieces of grass, twig, etc.
They leave a hole just big enough for the adult bird to enter, then when the babies hatch they all start peeping out of the hole - so fascinating to watch, I hardly get anything done when that happens.
It's not all shiny happy loveliness though.....this is the countryside after all, and there are deaths as well as births. About 2/3 of the cows in the front field have little calves, the rest are yet to give birth. One of them gave birth early Monday morning, unfortunately the calf was stillborn. It was sad to see the mother keep going up to it and nudging it with her nose, and then mooing loudly and walking away. The farmer eventually came and took it away.....I don't know whether he took the mother too, or whether she's left in the field - all the cows look very similar, they're either black & white or brown & white!
These things happen, it's all part of nature, not all creatures can survive I suppose or it would upset the balance of things.