Arnside and beyond

By gladders

Rotund

Another quick garden bird blip today. It was a bit of a grey day, and the orange of the robin "red breast" was a welcome point of bright colour amongst the greens and browns of an overcast wintery day.

Our garden robin is almost spherical, I guess the result of a combination of puffed feathers for better insulation and fat reserves laid down for the cold, lean months ahead. This one or his/her mate is my assistant in the garden, always close by to hoover up any invertebrates exposed by turning the soil or lifting pots. Some say that this familiar habit of robins dates back to a time when large herbivores, our lost megafauna of aurochs and wild boars (and even mightier beasts in  prehistory), ploughed and turned the woodland soils as they grazed and trampled. This sounds convincing until we remember just how territorial robins are for most of the year - if you were a camp follower, would it not make more sense to follow the peripatetic beasts as they wander widely? 

In the afternoon we had a visit from Arnside Simon, with a generous load of tinder-dry logs for the wood burner. We shall be warm at Christmas and immune from further power cuts. Gus was especially pleased to see one of his favourite people, and so were we. It's been a while.

One of my post-retirement projects is bread-making. I have started a sourdough culture using the yeasts on our apples, and tonight I shall be baking our second loaf with it. The first one wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing of loaves, but goodness it did taste good. My technique kneads a lot more practice, but it was a promising start.

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