This week has been the best time of spring, so far. Warm, sunny days when buds are opening and the grass is growing, almost as you watch. Beautiful days spent outside, catching up with jobs in the fields and in the garden. Washing dries on the line and smells of fresh air. Seeds are waiting to be planted. Dawn and dusk are filled with the song of woodland birds.
One afternoon this week, I visited an old friend who lives towards the north of the New Forest. She has a smallholding, tucked away along a quiet lane. First, we walked across the fields to visit her gentle, bay New Forest pony (above). He loves people and cantered across the grass to see us.
We returned to the yard and visited the free range chickens, who live happily alongside a fine, bronze turkey. The turkey was in fine fettle and displayed to us in all his springtime glory! He once had a wife, but she died ( of natural causes - these two were hatched here and are/were pets). He now has a close relationship, apparently, with the little black Polish Pom Pom hen following him in the third picture!
The Polish Pom Pom strides out.......
Most of the hens are Rhode Island Reds. 90% of them are former battery hens who are now making up for lost time. They have a wonderful field, well enclosed, where they can scratch and play throughout the daylight hours.
Hens are difficult to photograph in a time delayed camera . Every time I "caught" them digging a scrape, or pecking for grain, they turned their backs on me.........
One contented hen, off for a walk.
This scene reminded me of the old fashioned farmyard story books that I loved as a child.
One of the goats in her paddock. Her friend had sneaked out through a gap in the fence and was nibbling hawthorn shoots in the garden hedge.
Driving home, I met a herd of commoners` cattle, making their way down to the heathland to graze.
I stopped the car and waited for them to squeeze past in the narrow lane. Some of them were very pregnant and very wide!
....I passed a family out riding, with horses and dogs, at Appleslade.