Food supplies

It is that time of year again. This is a lean time and food is in short supply in the countryside. It must seem, to the foraging creatures, as if everything has been eaten. The birds have searched every little dried flower head for seeds.  They have upturned leaves and probed bark on trees for creatures hiding there.

Today as I was sitting out on my bench in the weak winter sun, I heard a humming and then a loud buzzing. Eventually I saw a big bumble bee. It is a queen bee that has been hidden from the cold winter in a hole or crevice. She has come out for a bit of a break and for a quick top up of food. She went to our crocus flowers which offer timely pollen and nectar.

Earlier in the week I was looking through our sunroom glass door and saw a little brown movement almost at my feet, but outside of course. At first, I thought it was a mouse foraging for the crumbs we sometimes drop when we eat our lunch outside. But no, it was not any kind of mouse. When I saw a pointed beak, I realised that it was a wren. The old part of our house stands on a black ‘curtain’ and there is about an inch overhang of the brick edge. The wren was working along this sheltered edge looking for creatures hiding the winter out on our south wall. She searched and ate completely unaware that I was on the other side of the glass and watching her devouring this hard-won meal.

Then there are the spotted woodpeckers. The male with his red ‘cap’ at the back of his head has been coming to our bird table all winter. But now he has found a mate he is drumming the trees and telegraph poles, with his powerful beak, warning other woodpeckers to keep away. They are both hunting for larvae under the bark or in holes in trunks. Their easiest option though is still the bird table and they are both now visiting regularly for the bird ‘pudding’ filled with suet.

We too are all wondering about our own food supply. My on-line order has been delivered without cucumbers, peppers, or broccoli. Luckily our spinach is almost ready in the poly tunnel and our last year’s surplus tomatoes are still in our freezer. We also have some remarkable lettuce which has survived the frosts and is delicious in our cheese sandwiches.

Mt T has gone out this morning to sow some turnip seeds but of course these will not be ready to eat for many months.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star) 

There was a little field mouse looking for food and water just like the wren


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