Nuthatches dart up and down the trunk of the pine, sharing the tree with a pair of woodpeckers whose drumming on the thick sections of dead wood echoes through the garden.
The forest edges are all bare branches cascading lichen. Frozen falls of pale green. The only hint of seasons past are the beech saplings that cling to their golden leaves all year round. In the snow they are the sole splashes of colour. Sculptural copper laced structures marking up the understory.
The top few centimetres of soil have thawed again in our first kitchen garden space, the one that soaks up the earliest of the Spring sun. This weekend we're harvesting parsnips and artichokes from the beds. It appears that last years crop has more to give.
I wonder if we'll ever eat all the parsnips. I wonder how many can possibly be left in the ground? Most of all I'm impressed that they've lasted so long, enduring the many frigid Winter months.
Nettles push up between rocks and scrubby grass, growing around the foundations of the earth cellar and the edges of otherwise empty food and flower beds. A hardy and reliable plant, always ready to be gathered for cooking and tea.
So we make parsnip soup and nettle pie, and it's good soup and good pie. And I think about how lucky we are to have found this little slice of land that keeps us fed and watered and asks so little in return.