The Tuesday tree (sort of): discoveries in a lush landscape
Every family walk this summer seems to have certain things in common. Tee-shirts, in case the sun comes out, and an umbrella, in case it doesn’t. (Usually we get both sorts of weather in the space of one walk.) One boy will be on foot, the other on an outgrown bicycle. And our one little dog will come too. Since our darling spaniel’s death, the westie has become a bit better at venturing out with us: I guess he needs company too these days.
The combination of seemingly endless wet weather with some warm spells has made everything grow incredibly lush. Lime, beech and oak, hornbeam and horse chestnut: all have a rainforest verdancy.
Every path has become a green tunnel.
One odd thing, though: no sign of any conkers. We stopped at the conker tree, hopeful of a good harvest to come, but found not a single one barring a handful of tiny brown husks rotted on the stem. The boys were rather disappointed, as our faithful horse chestnut has never failed us before. I suppose this wet year has not agreed with it.
On our return home, however, a further discovery was waiting for us, and it was one that more than made up for the dearth of conkers. A teeny young hedgehog was bumbling about on the edge of our lawn. It was in full sun in the middle of the day, which is generally not the best time for hedgehogs to be out and about.
The boys were entranced, of course, although luckily the dog felt he had seen it all before and kept well back from those prickles.
Should we intervene? I don’t know, but I couldn’t bear to leave the little thing on the hot gravel, so vulnerable to predators and cars. Unlike older and wiser hedgehogs, it showed no fear at all as I picked it up to move it to a shady spot. (Though we should remember of course that very young hedgehogs cannot curl up like mature ones, so that in itself is not a sign of lack of stress.)
At least there are plenty of earthworms and insects about at the moment, so it won’t starve. It seemed none the worse for its brief encounter with humans and set off purposefully towards the woods. I’ve seen no sign of it since that afternoon (Saturday) which perhaps is a sign that it made it. I hope so.
You might enjoy a post (with hedgehog!) from last August: I am enlightened, you are laid back, she is a lazy cow.