Living where we do, we are always extremely “close to nature”. This is virtually always wonderful although on occasions such as when leaves are falling, it is wet or snowy outside, the grass has been cut, or there has been a gale, “nature” invades the house as well, depositing its evidence in abundance: sometimes there seems to be little to distinguish between the “forest’s ferny floor” and the kitchen floor!! (thank heavens for flagstones!) Having two thick-coated dogs aids the ingress of all manner of vegetation, it’s amazing how many leaves and twigs can adhere to their coats every time the come in from the “garden” (I use the term loosely!!)

That’s the flora dealt with, now the fauna! The only animals that the dogs come into close contact with are the hedgehogs. We get these in the summer (I know it’s because they hibernate in the winter before anyone points that out!!) and they cause quite a stir in dogdom! There is plenty of evidence of rabbits, and I can see them from my bedroom window in the early mornings, but they disappear very quickly when they hear the door open and are gone before the dogs round the corner of the house!
A creature far more elusive and espied only twice in the garden although I’m sure is still around is the weasel. I spotted one “standing up” (see photo) about a foot from my French doors, boldly surveying the scene: keeping absolutely still so as not to frighten it off was extremely difficult,
 but I managed it for several minutes!! Another creature of some rarity is the slow worm. Probably due to the abnormally wet weather I have not seen a single one in the garden this year, (although I did see a run-over one in the lane) but it’s not exactly the weather for sunning yourself in a hot, sheltered spot! They live in the hedge and slither out, just on to the adjacent short grass, in order to soak up the sun! (in a good year.
The fox:  although I haven’t actually set eyes on a fox in the garden there has been evidence and I have smelt one many times . . . a smell not easily confused with any other!!
Lastly – the squirrel. Living in the forest, it is not surprising that the grey squirrel is a common visitor and, when given the opportunity, will raid the bird feeding station.
Although personally I have not seen one, I know of sightings of the native Red Squirrel in Brechfa Forest!! I would dearly love to see one here as I have only ever seen them in the Lake District so far.
I have not started on the birds or insects, maybe another day!!

One rustic forest resident I forgot to mention!!

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