A short lived winter visitor

He appeared in our front garden one morning just before Christmas last year. The weather had changed all over sudden. It had become bitterly cold and windy and the very last few leaves had been swept away East.

The snow fell the evening before he came and it was lovely to follow the flakes gently making their way down to the ground. The tits, finches and robins that had been fed by Geoff up till now were fat and round little things fighting over the feeder.

Bijou  and Bichette, had put on a thicker coat a few weeks before and were ready for the cold spell. They knew we’d soon bring them some warm water which would melt the ice in their bucket and they were waiting patiently.

Couscous and curry were curled up on the sofa with no hurry to get out at all, thank you very much. In the summer we hardly saw them, so busy they were at chasing birds and mice or sleeping in the barn on top of the hay, but right now, they were simply busy doing nothing.

The morning he came, the light was very different in the house like only the presence of snow on the ground could create that sort of unusual atmosphere. Strange thing though, there were no birds around the feeder on the balcony…

When I opened the front door to put my boots on, here he was, all happy and jolly! He had an old scarf around his neck and a dirty yellow woolly hat with a pompom. A swarm of grey and blue tits were flying to and fro around him. He’d brought them some balls of seeds and there was such a feast going on right under our eyes!

The robins were going for the crumbs on the ground and the finches were waiting in the fir tree near by, unsure about joining the party. On the window sill Couscous and curry were now motionless, intently watching the scene, with the occasional shattering of the teeth, so exited they were about a possible meal.

I went to feed the sheep and the donkeys. The landscape was majestic with the mountains real clear in the South under a big cloudless blue sky. A few thistles were sticking out here and there.  The fences laden with snow looked like some kind of fancy sugary meringues.

Everywhere I turned was like a Christmas card….So beautiful, so silent….Only the crows chatting to each other in flight could be heard. Looking down I could see that a deer had been visiting the orchard and I was pleased to remember that hunting is not permitted when there is snow on the ground.

On the way down to the green house I saw some rabbit footprints, or was it from Couscous or Curry? Difficult to tell. A roll of fencing wire had been left around and would make for some great abstract shots….How everything around is so different with a few inches of snow. The fish tank by the tool shed was under such thick ice I wondered how the fish could survive without food or fresh air for days on end…but they do just fine surprisingly.

The wind mill looked so grand on the hill with its wings glistening in the pale morning sun. I went back indoors to grab my camera. We don’t get this amount of snow every winter and it’s too good an opportunity to miss. I was out the whole morning….and all afternoon too!

As night fell our visitor was still smiling on the porch and hadn’t lost his appeal with the birds. He stayed put for a couple of days making everybody happy and then he fell asleep.

One day later he was gone. I wonder if he’ll be back this Christmas….

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