The bluebells have virtually gone now, but they’re being replaced by all manner of exciting flora and fauna. There is something very beautiful about the wild verges on the country lanes, which on initial inspection look like they are sporting 20-30 different shades of green (and often they are), but nestled in amongst the green rainbow is an eclectic mix of wild flowers and grasses, interspersed with ‘weeds’ that would be removed if they were in the vegetable patch, but somehow fit quite beautifully with all their friends!
The May/June transition is a wonderful time of year as the promise of the warm summer days turns in to a reality. The mice of Brambly Hedge are starting to keep their eyes open for wild strawberries, and the elderflowers are emerging along with many bottles of cordial. The strawberries will provide the basis for many pots of jam to see the mice through the year, along with fresh strawberry cakes laced with coulis and compotes.
The oak trees seem to have emerged much quicker than the ash trees this year. We’ll have to wait and see whether the fable is true: “Oak before the ash, in for a dash, ash before the oak, in for a soak.”
The young mice especially, are enjoying playing down by the stream at this time of year, whilst the adults are enjoying the sunshine in a more sedate fashion. They love listening to the birds who provide an amazing chorus now they have emerged from the long winter months, and they keep cool by the stream where they can snooze under the tall grasses with their tails in the water. The honeysuckle has also started making an appearance in the hedgerows, and its beautiful aroma is quite distinct.
The mice in the hills and down by the sea are also enjoying the fair weather. The stormy winter months are harsh for them, so the settled summer gives them a chance to get themselves together. The mice by the sea have developed a system whereby they pour sea water into large pans that are left open to the sky. Little by little, the sun dries up the water and a layer of sea salt is left behind. The mice then scoop up the salt, shovel it in to large earthenware jars and store it in dry rooms deep in the dune. Next time you sprinkle sea salt on your food just imagine the effort required to create it!
Enjoy this beautiful time of year, take 5 minutes where possible to enjoy the sunshine and listen to the birds, and be sure to keep us posted about your wild adventures!
The Brambly Hedge Team