Easter Highlights

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So – that was week three of lockdown…how was it for you? Thanks to all of you who commented on last week’s ramblings. It’s lovely to hear from you all.

Highlights for us this week: lots more lambs born and brought to the field, I’ve lost count now but I’m watching them from my window running around amongst the chickens and there are a lot! Hares….what a lot of hares there are at the moment. I went for an early walk one morning and saw six in one field, the cat found one hiding amongst the daffodils in the garden – luckily it was too quick for her and escaped unharmed, and as you’ll see in a minute we watched a couple on our walk yesterday.  A few days ago a deer appeared in the field opposite us. It looked a bit bewildered, the field has recently been ploughed and planted and I think it had lost the way out, we watched it for quite a while before it finally made its way across the burn and up the hill back to the woods.

We haven’t had the sunshine that many of you have had recently, although its not so cold at the moment – just a bit grey. Yesterday morning we repeated last week’s walk, but backwards….makes a change and the views are different!  You can see Hume Castle nearly all the way from different angles.

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We started out in bright sun but by the time we got to the garden gate grey clouds had arrived again! There were a few exciting moments – I managed to get my first photo of a yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)!

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I’m very pleased about this one, they’re quite flighty and difficult to capture but we spotted this one alone in a tree as we walked towards the farm. Lovely bright yellow head – although I’ve seen brighter ones than this one – my RSPB book says that in winter the yellow is obscured by greenish-brown streaks so I suspect this one is still changing its plumage or it’s a juvenile. They are found throughout Britain but are red listed due to a recent decline in numbers mirroring that of other farmland species – loss of wide field margins, autumn planting and use of herbicides impacting breeding. We have a flock of yellowhammers just along the road from us, and the other day after the field opposite was planted I spotted one in our hedge which then flew down to help itself to the new seed, but apart from that one I haven’t seen them venture this far along the road before.

A little further along the road we saw this pair of hares sitting in a field, we watched them for a little while – as long as you’re quiet they don’t notice you.

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Apparently their eyesight is not good but their hearing is. Which explains why out walking in the early mornings they often lollop towards you getting quite close before noticing you’re there.

Remember the Swiss sheep with the curly horns? – they’ve taken their coats off:

and the pony with laminitis has moved back in with his mates:

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It’s a lovely walk along this track, there’s a woodland on one side and views of Sweethope Hill on the other, I love woods like this with gnarled old trees and mossy logs,

although I do think my companions are taking social distancing a bit far!

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Wait for me!

We spotted a kestrel near the end of the track, hovering and diving, obviously after its lunch, but I couldn’t manage to get a photo.

Walking this way round means we have to go up a long steep hill, my feet were really painful by this point so we took a rest on a mossy boulder and ate chocolate flapjacks – another highlight – the young Ms RR makes delicious flapjacks from an adapted Nigel Slater recipe, they have quickly become my favourite snack!

Perfect for taking a quick break to rest the sore feet.  A flock of sheep watched jealously:

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As we got to the top of the hill more ploughing in progress plus the spreading of some very pungent fertiliser! Earlier we’d seen a deer hoof print in the mud and as we walked by all the activity we saw a pair of deer, panicked by the machinery trying to find their way to the woods. They made several false starts before suddenly making a run for it and escaping.

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Turning the corner to head downhill towards home, we could see lovely views of the Eildon Hills….

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…..and a beautifully mown field – I love a pattern!

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There were more highlights to come: A virtual Easter Egg hunt via Zoom with our grandson – we stuck paper eggs up around the room:

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and he got a real ‘chocolate ball’ when he answered the clue and found the eggs; he seemed to enjoy it anyway! Also a surprise Easter Egg hunt of our own devised by Ms RR;

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and a half eaten mouse left specially for us by Mojo! I decided not to take a picture of it….but here’s the culprit in hiding:

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Makes of the week – not so much knitting and sewing this week although I did start a rainbow which needs sewing together. Managed to produce some hot-cross buns although they don’t look much like the real thing, they taste alright. Plus a chocolate sponge cake as I didn’t buy any Easter Eggs – which I made before remembering that Ms RR does not like sponge cake!!  More for me then 😁!

Maybe see you next week! Let me know what you’re reading at the moment…I need a good book!  I hate choosing books online, it’s just not the same as picking it up and flicking through.

Have a good week.

J x

2 thoughts on “Easter Highlights

  1. Juliette Britton April 14, 2020 / 9:44 pm

    What a great Easter walk – glad you had a good time and I like the ingenuity of a virtual egg hunt! We had a walk to and on the Downs on Saturday and I had a touch of sunstroke due to the extreme heat and the disproportionate numbers of police patrolling by car, foot and horse making me feel nervous about having a sit down to drink water! Bristol (or the parts we frequent) are like a ghost town as we are all compliant so the heavy police presence was unnecessary- we stuck to our favourite local walk to Duchess Pond today – quiet and no police presence! Saw sparrow hawks and jays ( we gave the odd jay in our garden in “normal” times but definitely more than usual at the moment)
    Re books, I finished the Booker prize winning Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo today which was really great but if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I recently read a lovely book called The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney you might like. I miss a rummage in the local charity shops but I am making a dent in my pending reading pile which is one advantage of this situation I guess! Jx

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  2. ricketyrambler April 15, 2020 / 8:48 am

    How lucky we are here! I haven’t seen a policeman for weeks! Interesting that there are more jays about – are they venturing into cities because its much quieter? We don’t see Jays here except sometimes in the woods but we do have a local sparrow hawk which sits on our gate by the bird feeder…..it needs to get a bit more savvy really because the birds disappear very quickly when it arrives!! 🤣
    Thanks for the book recommendations – I think I’ve read The Tenderness of Wolves but I’ll look both of them up.
    Take care – keep walking 🙂

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