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all creatures great and small ...


Being a country dweller I am familiar with the every day comings and goings of cows, sheep and horses.  I see tractors trundling up and down the fields, or pulling great wagons loaded with hay and straw bales; sometimes huge tanks of liquid manure to spray over the fields.


 
These things are common place; part of the every day life in the country.  Sometimes though, odd things catch the eye; something you haven't noticed, or been aware of before.  I often go to the top of the garden to watch the cows in the back field.  I find their presence calming; they just get on with the business of being a cow; ripping at the grass or just resting, all angular bony shapes; cudding peacefully.


Most of the cows are black and white Friesians; but there is one brown and white young lady who caught my attention the other day.  She came right up to the fence; lowered her neck under the barbed wire to reach some fresh morsel of grass, when I noticed her markings.  Her hide was covered in dark, snowflake type patterns.  I have never, ever seen that on a cow before!  I can only imagine that they are blood vessels beneath the skin; marks that don't show up on the black cows.  I have never seen the like - quite beautiful, but at the same time quite weird.



Later, Dave called out that he was going out for a quick walk; five minutes later he rushed back in for his camera; he had seen a spotted fly catcher down the lane; it won't still be there I said; it will he said; they fly from a branch, catch an insect and fly back to the same branch and lay in wait for the next insect to come along.  And sure enough there it was on the same branch when he returned.


Not a spectacular bird by any means, but a good spot nonetheless.

Then another strange thing occurred; the ants that have been nesting  in one of the plant pots, suddenly starting massing on the patio.  Hundreds of them running all over the place, looking lost and disorientated.  I believe it is something to do with the queen leaving the nest to lure males into mating and swarming when she returns to the nest and births a new colony.  (I call it nest, I am not sure what you call an ants' home)?


The butterflies have suddenly arrived too, smothering the buddleia in a feeding frenzy.  I have been wondering where they had got to; it seems they arrive when the time and conditions are right for them, and not before.  Lovely to see them - Dave took this great shot of one perched and ready for take off.




So you see, life in the country needn't be dull; there is always something going on right under our noses, and if you are lucky you can capture it all with your camera; including this cheeky squirrel, who appeared and disappeared just as quickly.


And this frog who popped up in the ivy after he had been disturbed by me watering.

 
And what about this cute baby robin, who is hardly bigger than the apple that has dropped from the tree.

 
None of these things are earth-shattering or life-changing by any means, but they are the essence of nature and being aware of  everything around you - things that make life on earth just a little more rewarding.


Elaine




Comments

  1. All these things are beautiful, you photos are stunning. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment Anne.

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  2. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. Being an urban dweller my daily views are vastly different and much less interesting. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty. I am sure there is always something of interest if you look hard enough - anyway, you see plenty of life down at your allotment :)

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  3. All part of life's rich pattern ...... and what a beautiful pattern it is Elaine. The markings on the cow are pretty amazing .... I wonder if it's a one off or if it's the norm ? .... and, we seem to have had more than our fair share of butterflies in the garden this year. Lovely photographs as always and a lovely ' album ' of life in the country. XXXX

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    1. Yes, indeed. I must say I have never noticed the markings on any cow before; maybe I just haven't looked hard enough, but it did make my jaw drop a little.

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  4. We used to have a herd of Jerseys and we had one in particular that looked just like her. She looks like a Jersey/Guernsey cross but our one with those markings was in fact a pure Jersey. They are very beautiful animals. Lovely photographs Elaine.

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    1. Thanks Rachel. Jersey cows have lovely faces - I know Paul, the farmer, has a couple of Guernseys, so maybe that is the answer.

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  5. Elaine, I have never seen markings like that on a cow. Country life is special. There is beauty in the simple things; life is grander for them.

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    1. Most definitely Donna - appreciating the simple things is a very satisfactory way to live life.

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  6. Great post Elaine, I'm a country dweller too and love to see your wonderful photos, actually I never get enough of this kind of talk and accompanying photos.
    Funny that red cow with a turtlepattern, also never seen that.
    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Thank you Janneke. We are kindred spirits I think :)

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  7. The patterning on the cow is unusual - it reminds me of old ladies legs. When I was young I would notice that they had similar marks up the front of their legs from sitting far too close to an open fire.
    Nature is wonderful and when you see something new that you have not noticed before it is exciting.
    We had a Spotted Flycatcher nesting on our balcony in Austria and watched eagerly as the fledglings grew and finally flew the nest.

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    1. Yes, I remember old ladies legs with fire scorch marks on them too, not sure if the cows markings came from the same source though :) Very unusual I agree. The flycatchers are sweet little birds - I wouldn't have been able to identify it though without Dave's help.

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  8. 'Fireside tartan' we call that in Scotland Rosemary!
    A delight of a post Elaine, and so beautifully illustrated.

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    1. I like that phrase Freda - very apt. Thank you.

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  9. What a lovely post and your photo's so lovely to look at.

    All the best Jan

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  10. Beautiful photos Elaine. Love the cheeky squirrel.

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    1. Thanks Sue. He got up to all sorts of contortions before we could get a shot of his face.

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  11. Country life is quite rewarding and my heart yearns it, but for practical reasons I must remain a town dweller and escape to the country as often as I can.

    Beautiful photos of the country life. All the bees and the butterflies and the sheep, cows and horses. So beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Sandra. I am sure I would adapt to town life if I had to but I would sure miss living here.

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  12. Beautiful pictures! Is the cow named Snowflake? Amazing pattern. So calming to be outdoors in the garden with flowers, birds, sheep, and a snowflake patterned cow.

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    1. Funny that - because that's how I think of her now, Snowflake, the name fits her just right.

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  13. You'll have to go and ask the farmer about his cow. I've never seen anything like that either. Do let us know about her.

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    1. I'll ask him next time I see him.

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  14. Lovely photos of the farm animals and also of the creatures in your garden. I've lesrnt something new in your description of the routine of the spotted fly catcher and it was well worth going back for the photo:)

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    1. I'm afraid I wouldn't have recognized the bird if it weren't for my husband, but I will know the next time now :0

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  15. The buddleias on our plot have just about gone over and still no butterflies as of Thursday - our last visit.
    We had an any 'migration' in the garden last year - I kept well away.

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    1. Just read up about Flying Ant Day apparently it is the nuptial flight so new queens can mate with anys from different colonies

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    2. I didn't know where to put my feet there were so many roaming about - not a single one left now, I wonder where they have gone?

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  16. The last image I so pretty Elaine.....

    The cows markings are very unusual. Like you, I live alongside these creatures, and I have never seen that before.

    You are right about the ants. We have ant mounds all around the garden. Sometimes they all swarm together so you can imagine what that is like :) Thankfully we have a green woodpecker who feeds on them regularly. Keeps everything balanced.

    Wow what I would give to see a flycatcher in the wild.........really good spot.

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    1. We have had loads, well not loads, but three green woodpeckers in the garden, they must have realised what was happening and had a field day hoovering up all the ants.

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    2. Indeed.

      I bought Common Ground by Rob Cowen.
      After reading how much you were enjoying it, I knew it would be the book for me. We seem to have similar taste.........

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    3. I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did Cheryl. It is certainly an innovative way of writing about the natural - the tale of the fox at the beginning had me holding my breath all the way through - seeing the world through the foxes eyes gave me a different perspective on what our wild life has to go through to survive.

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    4. That should read the natural world :)

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  17. It's amazing what you can notice if you just give yourself time to stop and stare. Sarah x

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  18. I rather enjoy non-earth shattering events. I'd have rushed back for the camera, too. Your photos are all the things that I Iove about the English countryside. Even milk cows look romantic in the pasture!

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    1. Thank you Ann, glad to know that you appreciate the English countryside as much as I do.

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  19. Dear Elaine you may live across the pond but you and I share the love and wonder for all creatures great and small. Just delightful pictures. Your baby robin looks quite different than ours. Must add a Buddleeia to my plant list next spring. Just love the butterflies. So enjoyed my visit to your lovely part of the world. Have a superb day. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Debbie
      We certainly do appreciate the same things - all part of the joys of living in the countryside.

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  20. Life close to mature is a gift. You show so well in your photos the everyday miracles. Keep being alert for the special moments.

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  21. These are all the things that make life special. We have become too separated from nature, personally I can't think of anywhere else I would rather be.

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  22. Personally, I found all your finds fascinating! I just loved the fly catcher, how I wish I could spot one. You have shown a wonderful array of wildlife here. We had the ants swarming too, I think they wait for the hottest day of the year to throw out the queens,
    I have never seen a cow with markings like that, weird and beautiful describes it for sure! You point out beautifully how important it is to really see what's around us all, the world is full of magic and beauty, we just have to look for it.xxx

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    1. Thanks Dina. I do try to be aware of my surroundings but sometimes the everyday things go by unnoticed when my mind is elsewhere - writing a blog is always good for keeping alert.

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  23. The markings on that cow are so lovely, very unusual. Such a lot of wildlife, what a lovely post. Simple things bring the most joy.

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