Tuesday 6 July 2010

Second Time Around

Sunday morning, and once again we were in need of a modest walk. So what better than another spin round the same walk as last week?

It is often commented upon how rewarding it can be to experience the same walk at different times of the year. But we only did this one seven days ago – could anything have changed in such a short space of time? It was gearing up to be another warm day with blue skies and fluffy clouds, but we were up and off early despite having been barbequing and carousing until the wee small hours. A noticeable breeze helped to quickly blow away any lingering cobwebs, and we were soon into our stride enjoying the early fresh conditions.

The most obvious change from last week was that there was much more growth everywhere. Fields of leguminous crops were now up to 5ft or more in places, and the wheat and barley were much more advanced. The few overgrown sections were tangled even thicker, with one stretch lined hip-high with nettles and brambles. Grass fields had been cropped for haymaking - another sign that summer had arrived and testament to the dry spell we have been experiencing.

In fact we have had little in the way of meaningful rain for several weeks now, and the ground is beginning to suffer. In one stretch, where the path through fields of wheat had been cleared by spraying, deep cracks in the earth an inch or more wide were clearly visible.

An unexpected benefit of the mown fields was the sighting of hares. Denied their usual cover we spied at least 2 in one place and 5 in another, right out in the open and clearly visible. For several minutes we watched from a distance what appeared to be a family group playing in the sunshine – special moments indeed.

So, in the space of one week, it seems as though we have swapped the tail-end of spring for the start of summer.

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