I’m getting tired of the winter. From October to March we do the outside animals in the dark at the end of the day. With no neighbours in sight and no street lights for miles, it means we have to get around with the help of a torch. The field shelter and chicken run have lights, but it’s still a long trek across the garden trying to avoid the mole hills and the holes where the badgers have been digging. We work hard trying to keep it nice, but recently it has started to resemble a battleground. No matter. I would rather have the wildlife, even if they do trash everything in sight.
I don’t hate winter as such. I never have done. I actually love the muted tones and the beautiful shapes of the bare trees, but perhaps more than anything else, I love to see the gradual change, from one season to another. Right now we could do with some grass in our fields, although in the back of my mind I know that also means I will be out there trying to deal with the weeds once again. Last year I spent countless hours going round and round with a backpack full of weedkiller and to my utter dismay I saw them all spring back to life a few weeks later. Weeds-1 Roundup-0. Now I realise there are very specific conditions under which it will work, so I must be prepared to do it all again this year.
Secretly I adore working on our land. I can watch the chickens enjoying the warm sun and our llamas and pig grazing contentedly. It’s a time when I can appreciate that we have enough grass for them all, as well as the assorted flowers that appear from spring to autumn. Last year the place was alive with butterflies, bees and damselflies and when I’m done with the weeds, I spend hours out there with my camera chasing them up and down. Then I have to trawl the internet later to identify those I have been able to photograph. If in doubt, I can always go to the guys in my forum who are some of the best bug experts in the country.
Featured at the top is a tiny grasshopper shot with my secondhand Coolpix – only £25 from Amazon and the only true macro equipment I own. In spite of his small stature, I thought he was full of attitude as he posed for me on the edge of a leaf. Below is a bee fly in flight. I had been chasing these around for months in the hope of capturing one of the most comical of insects and I finally got this. He’s the wrong way round, but now I have one, I will try harder this year.
Next is a small skipper. I spotted him zooming around near the bottom of our fields. It was hard to believe a butterfly is capable of moving so fast. Thankfully they are quite friendly and he stuck around for some time while I got this shot.
And last, but not least, this teeny little dung fly. Probably too small for my new 300mm lens, but at least it does shallow depth of field, something I could only dream of with the Coolpix.
So here’s to spring and long grass and many happy hours of bug hunting.