Saturday, April 15, 2006

Nest-building, potato planting, timing

It seems to me that in this house we might be said to live in close intimacy with blackbirds. At this time of year, they declare their territory ouside the bedroom window from the first light; and for the last few years , they have nested in the wisteria above the front door or in the bay tree just to the right of it. All day long we hear their, urgent, staccato warning cry. This morning, as I raise the blind, I see a male and a female blackbird on the wall of the house opposite. The female has a sheaf of grass in her beak, the male perches opposite her. After a while, the female flies across the road and lands on our hedge. The male waits, as it were on guard, covering her movements with alert turns and tilts of his head. She waits for a while on the hedge, before making for the bay tree, while the male takes her place on the hedge. The various stages of progress towards the nesting place are marked by lengthy pauses. The last I see of them is the female diving into the depth of the bay, and the male sitting on the outer edge of one of its branches. Their progress towards the nesting place seems to be marked by a desire not to draw attention to it, as though they want to deceive onlookers about their destination - a tactic which we noticed last year when the birds were feeding their young.

Planting properly chitted potatoes, as tradition decrees, during the Easter weekend.

The feeling of satisfaction at having done your gardening in the morning when it is dry, and missed the rain in the afternoon.

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