Thursday, 16 April 2020

Swallows, Mustard and Bats

The Barn Swallows are home, swooping and swirling through the air, scooping up little insects as they go.    Judging by the activity near the barn I suspect that the beautiful nest they used last year, tucked high up in the roof timbers of the barn, has been deemed suitable for 2020 use.

All very exciting, especially during these days when so much time is spent in and around home!

Yesterday evening I was thrilled to spot bats swooping around - munching on flying food.   Despite their bad publicity, I love those little creatures.   Sitting out on the patio and watching them fly around is one of the delights of the season.


I made a loaf of herby bread - I simply made a batch of basic white dough, let it rise, knocked it back and then spread it with freshly made mustard, grated Parmesan cheese, and chopped wild garlic.    Roll it up, pop it into a loaf tin, bake.


Not much to look at, maybe, but it was delicious served with homemade soup on a day when the cold wind was blowing in off the North Sea coastline.












It looks as though it could be a good year for sloes, look at that blossom. 












Potatoes planted!




Time for a nap!

Anyone would think they had been mowing lawns, planting veggies, etc. 











The pace of my days seems to be slowing.   There is plenty to do, but plenty of time to do it in, and yet the days seem to whizz by. 

I almost feel as though I am sleepwalking through Spring, there is an air of unreality about things.

The lane is generally pretty quiet these days, just the usual tractors and the occasional delivery van, lots of cyclists - quite a number are lycra clad, but there are others who have obviously dug out a ong neglected bike from the back of the shed and have decided to use it for their hour of outdoor activity.  Few walkers cut through the field, but I have noticed that more walkers are coming along the lane.

I have also noticed that there is an increase in the amount of rubbish which is piling up along the verges - chocolate wrappers, headache tablet boxes, crisp bags, cider cans, lager cans, rum bottle, gin bottle, three dry slices of thick white bread (not homemade!!).   

Not so terribly different from the normal range of rubbish, except that there are no high energy cans, no coffee cups, takeaway containers or sandwich wrappers.

Obviously the birds took care of the bread, but the rest of it will stay there until I feel that I can safely womble and clean the rubbish away.   It doesn't look as though that is going to be any time soon.

Right, I am going out to watch the bats for a while.

Have a lovely evening.
Stay safe.
Wash your hands - which reminds me, is anyone else having trouble with the skin on their hands?  I swear that all this washing is turning the backs of my hands into crocodile/alligator skin, despite all the E45 I keep applying.


29 comments:

  1. You are way ahead of us Elaine. We have to wait a few more weeks to plant. I find this time of year really exciting with all the bird nests being built. We had a pair of tree swallows for two years in a row and hope to see them again this spring. Eastern Starlings are nesting under our roof. Quite a racket at times and the cats love it from the loft windows.We have ten houses on the property and hope to see at least half filled this spring. We often have house wrens use the houses.They have a beautiful song. Enjoy your spring. It is good to be a home-body at the best of times these days. Not such an adjustment. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Deb, It is quite tricky knowing when to make a start on the planting - there have been a few nights when I have had to cover some of the plants with fleece - no losses, thank goodness! I hope you will be able to make a start soon. I always think of your place as providing the most wonderful home, refuge and feeding station for all the birds and animals around you, I suppose I have an almost Disney-esque picture in my mind from all the wonderful photographs I have seen over the years. A beautiful place, especially at times like this. Enjoy your Spring.

      Delete
  2. I love your "woven" fence behind the potatoes. Lovely to see spring blossom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Susan, I have some long 'live' pieces ready to weave through it, so it should look green and textured soon. Nice to think that it does it job, but it also provides a habitat for certain insects and little creatures.

      Delete
  3. I love watching the bats and swallows. I've been fortunate enough to be a my friend's house to see her barn swallows all gathering and then departing en masse for the winter.
    Your potato patch fence is lovely. There is a house near me with such a fence along their front line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Joanne,
      That little patch of ground is down by the old hen house. The woven fence needs a little bit of repair, but it has stood the test of time - just needs a little extra live hedge woven through it and it will be good for a few more years.

      Delete
  4. Like you, PLENTY to do here, but also plenty of time to do it in. I have lots of sewing projects to keep me busy (unfinished items), the big quilt I have been making since last year - much hand sewing and quilting, so it is slow going - and my William Morris heirloom quilt to start (and make PERFECTLY!) in June, when the pollen keeps me indoors.

    I had to take a week off gardening to let the steroids work (early grass pollen hit hard) but can't wait to get on out there and transform the wilderness bits! We have first earlies and Kestrel spuds planted, now digging a new bit for the maincrop - King Edwards and Pentland something. Many trays of seeds started off in the greenhouse, and seed orders awaited.

    The first Swallows (at the farm next door) arrived on 7th April - earliest ever - and "our" stable Swallows arrived yesterday, which filled my heart with joy.

    We have a multitude of bats here and both we and our smallholding neighbour noted they were out flying in the daytime with the start of the hot spell as they were just baking under their roof-tile homes. As it's been so dry, we are quite expecting it to rain frogs when it rains again!

    Sadly, you can tell exactly WHICH vergeside detritis is down to the delivery van drivers - often chucked on corners, for some strange reason.

    Like your bread - may do one like that this weekend for Tam and I. Used to make a herby bread with bacon 30 years back . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello BB, Sounds as though you will come out of lockdown with some beautiful quilts! I am glad your Swallows have returned, but weren't the farm Swallows early. Such beautiful birds - not that my sil would agree, it's always his car which acquires lots of their droppings, for some reason...ooops!
      There are so many wildflowers which I come across on my walks and whenever I cannot identify them I always wish I had you, with your encyclopedic knowledge of such things, with me. This mornings walk was into a bluebell wood - I have never seen such a wonderful sight, the scent was quite wonderful. Along the way there were lots of cowslips, but I was also thrilled to spot some orchids - I bet you could have told me about them!
      Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Happy baking.

      Delete
  5. No sign of swallows or house martins here yet - still a really chilly wind despite the sunshine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue, Blue skies and lots of sunshine in Lincolnshire, unfortunately we also have a very chilly wind! I hope your swallows and house martins turn up soon.

      Delete
  6. Lovely to read your nature diary again. I like bats too. We used to watch them from our old terrace in town, flying around the street light and returning to their nest in the eaves of the old house opposite. The old house has been renovated, the bats are gone. Oddly we dont see many bats where we live now. No swallows yet either, though they must have arrived. Our spring has been oddly ,wet, hot and cold. Even the great array of spring flowers havent appeared. I will see more when I venture out further this afternoon. It is poppy time but I have only seen two and none in our garden. We had 2 clumps last year.
    Your loaf looks scrumptious. I will make one today, with the cheese and mustard. Wish we got your wild garlic. Though I just remembered we do have chives.
    You have inspired me to write too much. Thanks for another great mumbly post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda, We often get three seasons in one day - which used to make choosing what to wear tricky. Now that we are all fairly well confined to home the problem has been reduced to get dressed/not get dressed today...just joking, though I am sure that it is so for some people! Good to know that your traditional person has insisted on keeping all the traditions of Easter going. Structure and comfort, besides which, I enjoy reading about it all. Certainly a most unusual Easter.
      Bluebells are the flower of the moment. I have taken very early morning walks around a (private!) bluebell wood on the last couple of mornings. Private land, so I was trespassing, but I couldn't resist going to see the carpet of blue and to enjoy the concentrated scent. I didn't get caught so i won't be up before the beak this time!! I'll post photographs soon, then you will see why I behaved so out of character. chives would make an excellent alternative, so get baking.

      Delete
  7. I use Bag Balm or Beeswax Butter on my hands. What with quilting and making face masks, my hands are ALWAYS dry and cracking at the corners.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Tehachap, I must investigate those products, thank you! Sounds as though you are one busy bee.

      Delete
  8. Look after your flour we seem to he haveing issues getting more at the moment though I have enough for bread for a while. Got my spuds in containers as the garden is not as big as yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Billy, I hope you manage to get some flour supplies soon. Our local pub has very kindly started shopping for villagers, they don't seem to have a problem getting it from their wholesaler, at the moment. I quite fancied growing the potatoes in containers, but that plot of ground was going spare.

      Delete
  9. You've reminded me I need to look out for the chimney swifts, much like swallows that nest above our building in a chimney of sorts. We've had some days to sit on the balcony for lunch but turned cooler this week. The days seem to be going by quickly - here its the end of another week. What do I have to show for it? I guess more than I think once I make a mental list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Marcia, My father was a champion list-maker, he would cut up old cereal packets, tissue boxes, etc and use the cards to make lists. We all used to tease him. I don't know about my brothers, but I certainly find myself making lists for most things, too. I hope your swifts and swallows soon arrive.

      Delete
  10. Love the addition of herbs and cheese to a white loaf, very tasty. Still a little cool here but a start has been made sowing seeds and preparing beds ready for planting. Slow and steady...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello mamasmercantile, A very basic dough transformed into something a bit special. I hope you soon manage to get your plants and seeds into the ground, so tricky knowing when best to make a start - especially on the island.

      Delete
  11. Yes, I have been fretting about my hands for a couple of weeks now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Boyett-Brinkley, Thanks for visiting. I think the old recipe books would probably recommend something like lard and primrose salve...the primroses are not a problem but the thought of lard isn't filling me with enthusiasm.

      Delete
  12. My hands are really dry too, and no amount of moisturizer seems to help as the hand sanitizer dries them out again. I am going to try baking some bread as it looks so delicious. My days are flying by but I have plenty to do and our Autumn days are perfect for gardening so I am trying to make the most of it before Winter sets in. I think I am going slow these days just because I can although I am missing going out with friends. Take care and stay well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rosie, Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons. I hope your Autumn is a beautiful one so that you can do lots of gardening. The Spring flowers are particularly beautiful this year or, perhaps, my appreciation of them has been sharpened by the current circumstances. Hope you are managing to stay in some sort of contact with your friends.

      Delete
  13. I love the time when the swallows return, ours are not back yet that is usually end of April/beginning of May. I am sorry to hear that your quiet lane is strewn with rubbish, where do people think that it is going to go? I really do not understand people who litter, so thoughtless.

    I do use a little hand cream on my hands every now and then when they are really dry but I find drinking more is the best remedy, water is the best for rehydrating skin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello sustainablemum, I have a suspicion that some of those wrappers have been left by stressed people desperate to get out of the house for a short walk, not because they wanted to walk, rather because they wanted chocolate 'to make it better'. Normally I would have them cleared away in a trice, but that is not going to happen for a wee while now.

      Will try upping my water consumption, thanks for the tip. I hope your swallows soon find their way home.

      Delete
  14. I've been enjoying your posts as a new reader. I have similar interests and loves as you - countryside, nature, cooking, country lifestyle....Your cottage seems so lovely!
    I really like the sentence "I almost feel as though I am sleepwalking through Spring......."; so true! I look to find an inspiring quote each day during this strange situation, and today I have found it in your post!
    Stay well and safe!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello Vesna, Welcome! Lovely to meet you I am just about to zip over to your blog. I hope you have had a lovely weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your bread sounds delicious. We are awaiting the swallows, seem a bit late this year. We had pipistrelle bats at the farm, after I bought the place we found we had a maternity colony in the loft, even had bat lady round to check. We weren´t allowed any access up there until they had all departed, but it was fascinating to hear them chattering to each other as we imagined them all lining up then popping out one by one. Daniel had a horseshoe one in his bedroom one night, he wasn´t best pleased but we managed to carefully release it. We´ve seen a few bats here too. xcx

    ReplyDelete

Lovely to hear from you!