Tag Archives: trees

Those pigeons again.

woodpigeon.jan.2019One of the pigeons has discovered the feeder by our kitchen door. Not that the bird has learnt to alight on the narrow perch and peck grain from the trough, but this morning, when the door curtain was drawn back, and more than once since, it was pecking up the seeds dropped by sparrows, who can be messy eaters.

Is it the lengthening days that led the pigeons to be paired off in the two trees, lime and birch, sitting closer together and calling to each other? The views of the ground feeder at our door reveal how splendid their plumage is.

Wood pigeons in winter – a second glance

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This morning, as the curtains opened, here were three wood pigeons in the birch tree – and one still next-door, in the lime. Everyone in this picture is keeping a social distance, but it’s still four weeks to the birds’ wedding day on Saint Valentine’s.

Wood Pigeons in Winter – just a glance

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Every year the wood pigeons nest in the tall birch in next door’s garden, while there are two old collared doves’ nests in our apricot tree.

Usually the pigeons stick together, perched in the same tree, even upon the same branch, but this month one of them has been resting in one of the lime (tillia) trees we planted after the hurricane, which are now big enough to take a collared doves’ nest at least.  The two birds were within sight of each other.

Which tree would the wood pigeons choose? Were they utterly estranged, or perhaps strangers to each other; I had no way of telling. But this morning both were in the birch tree. An early sign of Spring?

dove on nest

Growing up

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Thirty-odd years ago, the road was new, noisily slicing through orchards, swallowing some of the best growing land in Kent. Nevertheless, our children all loved the walk out of town, by lanes and footpath, through those orchards to the ford with its wooden bridge that memorably was once washed away.

We enjoyed hunting for blackberries, and knew where to find a couple of self-sown pear trees, one quite close to the busy road, and the odd crabapple tree.

Now, as in this photograph, the trees along the road have grown up. I was just cycling that way: the path joins the river path to make a head-clearing short circuit for cyclists or walkers. I was keeping an eye for windfalls (too early) and wild fruit. A few crabs in the bag, one pear tree had been flailed back, the other?

It used to be here, I thought, looking for pears at eye-level, used to orchard trees on dwarfing roots with their fruit readily harvestable. This tree was not modified in this way, and it was by its bark that I knew it. I was reminded of one we had at school, the size of a forest tree, its fruit inaccessible; it was a lovely tree with no branches below 2 metres. With no close neighbour it had developed into a green pyramid, but we ate very little of the fruit.

The tree I was looking at today had plenty of neighbours, some planted by the Highways Authority, but mostly self-sown willow and ash, all so close that their trunks were growing straight up to the light.

And the pears, with their lovely russet peel, were high up, out of reach. Oh well, we might be able to find one or two windfalls for the L’Arche cider project!

bridge.meadows.maycrabtree-rly-488x640The river path and a crabapple tree.

 

 

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Twice a year

Twicabel.barrowe a year the hollow old yew in Saint Mildred’s churchyard turns the ground gold: in spring, when the buds burst and the husks fall to the ground, and then again about now, when the needles that have been replaced give up their chlorophyll and die.

Abel and I turned up today to find one of the church carers sweeping up the needles to put them in the church bin. We set to with a bigger brush and two wheelbarrows. Abel plied the one his great-grandmother sent for his birthday and worked very hard, taking loads back and forth to the Glebe compost heap. A confident, competent little gardener at 4 years old. Here he is a couple of months ago on a similar task.

The church carers will be happy to have less mess on their lovely stone floor!

 

The bee-loud glade

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There is a buzz in Canterbury these days, at least wherever there are lime trees. Even mere humans can pick up the honeyed scent of the flowers, but the bees are loving it.

I harvested plenty from around Saint Mildred’s church for my lime flower tea, now drying on the spare bedroom floor. The trees around the church are far enough from the main road to have escaped the worst of the pollution. The drink is refreshing ice cold. There’s still time to harvest yours!