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Sunshine And Snow Showers

2nd of May 2008

On Friday we took Ted, our Labrador, for a glorious walk along the River Chess from Latimer to Chenies in wonderful spring sunshine. Even without jackets it was quite warm. Today, Sunday, as I look out of the window everything is white with snow; two inches have landed on the patio table!
The ewes look fit to burst. I thought Fridays warmth would do the trick and that lambs would be born that night, but they are much more sensible and are still hanging on. Shetland sheep are said to be able to hang on for up to a month if the weather closes in but I hope they dont have to wait that long.
The “delights” of climate change and our unpredictable weather dont seem to have had much effect on the frogs and toads this year. The frogs arrived in droves in February and laid masses of spawn, which has now hatched, and this week it has been the toads turn. Ted was fascinated to go out for his late walk and find toads all over the drive. I dont usually put the torch on unless I hear a car coming in the lane but I have needed it the last few nights to avoid treading on toads with other things on their minds. I love to hear them calling for a mate, and to see the strings of spawn, like black pearls, that they produce when they find one. Frogs and toads dont often share the same ponds if they can help it. Frog tadpoles are usually big enough to gobble up the toad-poles as they hatch. Down in the wildlife pond its frogs to the right, and toads to the left, and judging by the number returning there must be enough distance between them. Although it took a long time and a lot of effort to make such a big pond, including saving up for the liner, it really was worth it. Even a small pond is a big help to wildlife. Birds will drink and bathe, frogs soon find them, and in summer dragon and damsel flies are really spectacular. If you havent got one already make it this years project! Time for a quick game of snowballs now I think!                             Wendy Bathurst

P.S. I loved last months poem – but whos been talking!

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