Spring Sowing

Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Saturday 3rd April 1999

crows' nest IN THE TOP of a slender canal-side birch, a Crows' nest. The sitting bird is visible only as the square end of a tail. Small fish congregate along the sun-warmed shallow ledge where shaggy green algae grows.

narrowboat Amber Amber, one of the canal basin dogs, is half collie, half German Shepherd, described by her owner as not the brightest of dogs. She has a new interest in life, a habit she has picked up from Sam the dog who dropped a pebble in my lap last week. She now goes pebble chasing at every available opportunity. She makes a big fuss of people when she is at home, her owner tells me, but when she is here at the basin, sharing a territory with other dogs, she is a more easy going dog altogether.

seeds packets The part of gardening I like best is planting seeds. I can't resist buying a handful of the colourful packets and imagining the vegetables we're going to harvest. When it comes to weeding, watering and harvesting I'm not so enthusiastic. At least this year gets off to a good start with small blocks of carrots, beetroot and spring onion planted out under the cold frame, to give them an early start and some protection against those chickens. To defeat the slugs, which in last year's wet early summer destroyed every dwarf French bean, I plant all the runner and dwarf beans in pots in the greenhouse. All those plastic pots that I save each year have at last come in useful.

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator


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