Since I wrote about my discovery of the joys of Dog Walking in Autumn, I've had it in my mind to do a little post to accompany each season. A sort of dog-walker's year if you like.
I was waxing lyrical last time about how much you take notice of the change of season when you actually venture outside for longer that the time it takes to scrape the ice off the car and also how owning a dog and being obligated to walk them, forces you to do just that. Except I don't feel like I'm being forced out at all, I've found that I really enjoy this time taking a stroll.
I'd say that our winter here has been pretty mild this year, although I daren't write that without adding a 'so far', for this is England and she can do winter in almost any month without notice. But really, we've not had too much cold other than a few weeks here and there and there's been only one very brief flurry of snow, much to DD's disgust.
It's meant that our walks have still been very much a pleasurable activity. It hasn't taken too much bundling to protect from the cold and wind and the exercise takes care of any last chills. Some precautions against mud are necessary though and last year's wellie purchase is now paying dividends.
Although poor Bertie doesn't fair quite so well. He has a brand new coat for the purpose but being so low to the ground, he prefers to avoid as much of the dirt and wet as he can. One false slip of the paw could mean being up to his armpits in the brown stuff.
Despite that, the majority of our walking trail is still fairly dry and easy going. It's still looking amazingly green going through the woods due to all the ivy growing up the trees and the large amount of holly bushes around. The trees are mostly bare now though and so everywhere seems a lot lighter and brighter on our path up to the field, which helps compensate for the fainter, faded light of winter.
The view as we reach the entrance to the field is very clear and open now. You could barely see what lay beyond through the leaves a few months ago but now they are all over the ground. It's usually at this point where I might catch a glimpse of a squirrel rooting around in the leaves. They scarper as soon as they hear us coming of course, and they always run around the other side of the tree trunk so you lose sight of them as they climb up and scurry away.
We quite often get a nice clear sunny day by the time we get up to the field. Usually the morning mists have cleared and the frosts have melted away, but occasionally we crunch as we make our way around.
What you notice most of course is how everything starts to disappear in winter. The leaves are gone, the long grass has died back and it didn't take too long for all the berries to go too. There are a lot less birds flitting around and the light doesn't stay so longer either. If we're a bit later than our usual lunch time walk it'll often already been getting lower in the sky making the long shadows stretch out even more as we walk around.
Our friends the sheep are still here though. More exposed than even now that the plants have given up for winter. The grass has been mowed too, or maybe they've just chewed it down. Either way, we get a clear look at them on our way round now. Bertie still doesn't bark at all though, much to my relief.
I'm wondering how long they will be staying here and if it'll be too much longer before I start to see signs of spring...