It's the last day of February. Such a grey muddy last day of the month too. It's raining, but we go for a walk anyway. The dog doesn't mind and as Billy Connolly said: "I hate all those weathermen, too, who tell you that rain is bad weather. There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little." So, suitably coated, hatted and booted (but perhaps not in a sexy way, sorry Billy) we set off up the bridle path.
This used to be the green lane - now it is more like a brown, muddy motorway thanks to some fencing work the farm has had done under the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme. Little bits get done every year. It looks horrendous at the moment with fresh muddy scars everywhere, but spring will erase of all that. It's all in the name of protecting the environment - in this case the traditional Pembrokeshire hedgebanks have to be fenced so the sheep don't climb all over them and destroy them.
Lovely wooden gates are popping up too. This gateway hasn't had a gate in it for the whole of the 25 years we have lived here. This is a novelty to us all. The fact that they swing open and shut without dragging on the ground is a novelty too, as is the fact that they have proper hinges and catches, not baler twine.
A lovely stretch of new fence makes this field sheep-proof for the first time (ever?) and gives us a nice little summer paddock to stop the ponies getting too fat. There are a few piles of trash to be either piled up as habitat (which gets us Brownie points on Tir Gofal) or burned (which doesn't).
There's a new gate at the top corner too. We like to walk down the field. Joe Public is supposed to walk down the lane, but I have my suspicions that this gate might look at little too tempting for some and some straying of walkers might take place. I think the ponies will look very pretty leaning over this making goo-goo eyes at anyone who happens to pass by.
And another gate to another newly sheep-proofed field and a second small ponies-on-a-diet field. I'm not sure what the animal residents are going to make of these new fangled arrangements. They're used to roaming where they please on these two fields at once (over the banks if it pleases them) and hassling anyone who walks or rides along the bridlepath. Being confined to either one of these two fields is bound to irritate them.
Spring isn't really in the air yet, there's still a sense of limbo or mother nature holding her breath before all the full glories of spring burst forth. These hazel catkins are early sentinels, though, but everything else is still brown and asleep.