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Hold on tight as we begin a new year.

This may be a bumpy ride to begin with, with many challenges unfolding in the days ahead, but things are going to get better. As I look out of my window into my garden and the view of the river Liddle, I think that we are so fortunate to live where we do, with space, fresh air, wildlife and amazing landscapes. Nature at its best.

Nature surrounds us, and I'm really hopeful that people are beginning to see how much WE need nature, because nature certainly doesn't need we human mammals.

Maybe once this virus has passed we will all show more nature more respect and care, and realise that being outdoors is truly essential for our health and wellbeing.

If only this was taught in ALL school curriculum and prescribed by doctors too. Nature adapts and survives whatever is going on in the world, from fires and floods, storms and starvation, wars and disease.

Nature will continue to breed, spawn, develop, migrate, flourish, grow, nest, give birth, hibernate, and survive. Life will still happen, life will still go on. We as humans need to hang on in there, protect the vulnerable in our community, show kindness to others and do our best, not judge and not put others down. We need to recognise that everyone is struggling in different ways due to covid. January so far for me, feels like we have had winter this year. We’ve had proper hard frosts day after day, minimum sunshine, raw winds from the north and east and snow, with the promise of more to follow. It’s been a proper season.

Owning ponies in Winter is certainly hard work, with frozen water pipes and troughs, frozen solid gate bolts, icy yards, and the challenge of trying to keep them well fed and warm. The fields may look like frozen wonderlands, but there’s the added worry that the ponies might slip on the icy patches or in the hard frozen ruts. However, I still love this weather so much more than relentless wind and rain causing soggy ponies and soggy everything. At least the cold temperatures help keep the fields dry . So how does wildlife survive? How can we help?

As for our garden birds, keep putting a good variety of feed and water out for them, like fat balls, seeds, nuts, meal worms and fruit. That way you'll encourage a bigger variety of our winged friends to visit. Make sure their water supply is kept topped up and thawed out. Amazingly they still like a winter bath. A lot of creatures slow down or even hibernate during the winter. Reptiles and insects hide themselves away during the colder months, slowing their heart rates down, saving energy as they wait for warmer temperatures. Try not to disturb hedges, shrubs or even that pile of leaves and old branches you meant to tidy up before winter in your garden. Help nature by leaving it alone for the time being as many creatures may be using it to survive. Things to look out for:

● snowdrops are out, have you spotted any?

● after a frosty or snowy night, get out there and photograph what you find

● go tracking after snowfall, identify the tracks left by birds and animals

● ENJOY a walk at your pace and breathe in the fresh air, I promise you'll feel fantastic

● take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 29th-31st January, go to for more info

Remember your haggis, neeps and tatties for Burns night on the 25th January KEEP WELL, KEEP SAFE,




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