I think it is fair to say that most of the UK got a wake-up call with David Attenborough’s BBC documentary series Blue Planet II. The image of the pilot whale carrying her dead baby around will, I hope, stay with me forever.
I am using that dead baby whale to remind our children not to waste resources, not to put clothes in the wash before they need it, not to put biros in their blazer pocket because I can’t get ink out of clothing… All I need to say to them now is “Baby Whale.” and they know I mean business.
There is a myriad of ways in which we can reduce waste, food miles, use of single-use plastics… One change we have made is to shop local where possible.
Eggs are easy. One of houses down the road keep a few chickens and ducks, and keep a little honesty box of eggs outside their gate. So each week, we go and see what is there, and take back the box from last week.
In early spring the colour down the lane is lime green. In the cow-parsley and hawthorn phase it becomes apple-green. There comes a day close to midsummer when things become blue-green. It has reached that point now.
The oak leaves are more opaque now, and have the lumps and bumps that characterise maturity.
There is deep shade along the lane, rather than the light dappling of spring. I love it when trees meet overhead. It is like walking through a snake.
I often see a woodpecker here when I drive down in the morning. He was hiding from my camera today.
The cow-parsley has been replaced by other, taller umbels. I think this is hogweed (not the Giant version, which caused headlines a couple of years ago when a child’s skin was burnt from contact with the invasive species).
‘Umbels’ are sprays of tiny flowers, which insects go crazy for, because they are a rich source of pollen and nectar. Apart from cow-parsley and hogweed, other umbels include wild carrot and parsnip, the adorably named pignut and not so adorable hemlock. I find it very difficult to tell them all apart.
The little bugs on this umbel will be food for birds.
The fields are full of grasses, but on the margins are umbels and thistles, nettles and brambles.
You can see a bee feasting on this thistle.
This field was rich in swishing. There were rings of different grasses, like contours on a map. First these tall, arching ones:
Then some softer, diaphanous reddish tones:
And then, in the middle of the field, golden corn*:
It is impossible not to pass your hand through grass seed. It’s ok, I’ve had my hayfever tablet.
The loudest rustling came from the goat willow high up above. The leaves have a silvery shimmer, and are constantly dancing, even though it was a still day.
Overhanging into the lane are some garden escapees. Here’s a honeysuckle. It smelt and tasted exactly as it should.
And another one here, with a rambling rose.
And here’s some Angelica (another umbel) with a Geranium, perhaps oxonianum.
And then I reached the honesty box.
Here’s a duck egg and a hen’s egg. Simple pleasures.
*At least that’s what we used to call it. Now ‘corn’ generally refers to maize (sweetcorn for cattle) and what we (and The Little Red Hen) used to call ‘corn’ is now called ‘wheat’. There is also barley. I think that has stayed the same.