Country diary

13th February 2017, Monday
The river Hull was about a foot below the western bank at Grovehill Bridge this morning (3.2 metres AOD), comfortably at safe levels locally and certainly well below the peak back in December 2015. With dry, sunny and breezy weather forecast for the next week, hopefully things will have a chance to dry out, especially as the sun is now gaining in strength day-by-day. Meanwhile futher up the river at Hempholme Weir, the river did, and continues to exceed normal levels, peaking at around 3.4 metres AOD, though levels have been slowly falling since midnight.

12th February 2017, Sunday
More than a day of nearly continuous rain and sleet meant that standing water and mud were all pervasive today, the field ditches full of swiftly flowing brown water, whilst the main drainage cut by Long Lane was as full as it has been at any point since November (hopefully the Water Voles will be OK!). This winter has undoubtedly been one of the muddiest I can ever remember here in East Yorkshire, this despite relatively dry conditions in December and January, and to my mind the primary cause of this ‘muckiest of winters’ has been down to the prolonged periods of anticyclonic weather which has brought particularly low evapotranspiration rates due to a lack of wind and sunshine for prolonged periods. What we need now are some drying easterly winds and sunshine…

11th February 2017, Saturday
The rabbit shed has now been thoroughly upgraded with new shelving and storage areas, this now increasing my hay, straw and food stores for more than a months worth of use. Hopefully with spring just around corner work can also commence outside, with a new run now being planned out in my head, whilst their old rabbit hutch which I inherited from my eldest sister will be hopefully disposed of, the rabbits already enjoying free reign of the shed. Compared to what they used to live in, their new home must seem palatial.

8th February 2017, Thursday
My father and I went to collect some coppiced hazel shafts today, these to be utilised for stick and crook making. My current crook is still in excellent nick and will no doubt last me for another decade or so, though the handle is slowly becoming worn after a couple of years hard graft. However I think my next crook will have a buffalo horn handle rather than wood (Indian rosewood in my case), horn not only being more hard-wearing but, in my view, more attractive.