Sunday, 12 April 2015

More signs of spring plus some Food News

The swallows have arrived.  I could not believe my eyes but I was right.  Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t it rather early for them?  I would have expected them late April or early May round here.  Do they know something we do not know?
A few days of sunshine and warm weather make such a difference.  The hedges are greening up and providing cover for the birds preparing their nests. The water is warming up, too.  When I went down to the fishpond the other evening I heard such a noise I thought it was ducks quacking.  However, when I got there I could see a lot of movement in the water and long streamers of spawn from an influx of toads at the water’s edge.  Interestingly they started in the shallow water on the west side and are working their way round, clockwise.  I wonder if they do that so that when the eggs hatch all the tadpoles are spread over a larger feeding area.  Next I shall be looking for the clumps of spawn that the frogs produce.  Somehow the novelty of spring never seems to wear off.

Talking of spring, delicate investigation of the leaf mound revealed that Herbie Hedgehog has come out of hibernation.  I imagine he made off in the night; I am glad he survived the winter.

Whilst possibly not the epicentre of all things foodie the East Midlands is host to many food fairs and competitions.  Next up is the British Pie Awards event taking place in Melton Mowbray on Wednesday, April 22nd.  Although this event is not, as yet, designed to receive the public there has been so much interest in it that I am told a Pie Festival is on the cards for next year when “try before you buy” will be the order of the day.  I am also proud to say that one of the knowledgeable judges, Diane Hickling, like myself, is a Farm Stay UK member and member of the Sherwood Forest group so I shall be expecting a first- hand update on this in due course.

Next up will be the Melton Mowbray Artisan Cheese Fair, in May, but more of this later.