We have passed the height of midsummer, and already there are signs of autumn.
The elderflowers have withered away and now their berries have begun to swell in twiggy little bunches along the hedgerows. The haws are growing daily and every fresh fall of rain seems to thicken the bitter flesh of the fruit. I don’t like to be the bearer of gloomy news but it looks like we’ve seen the best of the year.
Now is always a good moment to look for roe deer, particularly on the river’s edge where wide margins have been left to go wild beside the water. These marshy badlands flood during the winter when rain falls for weeks on the hills. The banks are transformed into a quaking mess of pools and ditches, lumbered with timber washed down from the glen.
In deep summer, drifts of meadowsweet and valerian lend a gorgeous scent to a summer’s evening by the water and roe stalk between the willows as if it were a jungle.
My neighbours recently took their second cut of silage for the year. The fields beside the river were left bare when the forage harvesters departed and a scorching sun bored into the yellow roots that had been exposed by the cutters. It is astonishing how quickly a field can recover from cutting, particularly here in Galloway where so much of the grass is managed for commercial dairy and beef. Given 10 wet days, a field that seems to have been scalped to within an inch of its life will soon come up fresh and green again.
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August 05, 2020