Thursday, 14 February 2008

Heather Burning

It was a glorious day yesterday, more like April than February. Even up on Bank Top where I took this photo, the air was balmy and benign and the grouse were chuckling like crazy enjoying the silencing of the guns for the next 6 months. (Check out the RSPB website if you want to hear them. They seem let out a stream of chuckles and then finish with 'hello, hello, hello.') I love the way they run about on their fluffy white legs and feet as if they're wearing ski-boots. Meanwhile, the management of the moors that enables red grouse to breed and ultimately be shot continues. Because of the anticyclonic weather, the smoke from the burning heather was slowly drifting down and filling Rosedale. (it's burned to encourage the growth of soft green shoots for young grouse to eat.)

If you peer very closely you can just see the chapel and the nearby cottages emerging from behind the clump of trees in the left foreground

Once down in the valley, the smoke did not have that unpleasant throat-scraping smell of garden bonfires or even burning timber - which were suffered when visiting British Columbia several years ago near to where forest fires were blazing out of control. Here it was sweetly aromatic.

It was also warm enough to wander about the garden and gaze on the fat clumps of daffodils that had emerged since last week. Peter was planting new hawthorn stakes to thicken the back hedge and my fingers were itching to design my cottage garden borders but planting will have to wait until next spring.
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