I tried to go down to the reserve at Harty at 6.00 this morning only to find that the Police had closed the Leysdown Road at Eastchurch due to a large fire on a farm close to the Leysdown Road. I did try a little known route through to Leysdown via Warden Manor and down an unmade track but this had been blocked by Leysdown market traders who had found the track unsuitable for their vans, so nothing left but to go back home.
Having mentioned in my blog yesterday of how the hay crop was mostly in and good profits could be expected this winter it turns out that one of the largest hay producers on Sheppey has lost 3,000 tons of hay in the fire and a barn load of fertilizer. Apparently he was still taking hay off the fields along the Elmley track late last night and has now lost a large chunk of his stored hay.
Sitting in the garden this afternoon I was delighted to see my first Small Skipper of the year. It had joined a large number of assorted bees on a lavender border and was followed onto it by a pristine Comma butterfly. I sat on a garden seat amongst this lavender and was captivated by the frantic activity of these insects. It makes all the hard work of planting all the right things in the garden on a cold winter's day so worthwhile to be able to experience such simple delights a few months later. The garden has an unkempt appearance which disgusts my fastidious gardening neighbour but in turn attracts all manner of wildlife - that for me is what it should do. The largish garden pond is similar, a tad overgrown and with a bit too much blanket weed and not what a lot of gardeners would want too see but it gives a lot of reward for being like that. Earlier this year I witnessed at least two Emperor Dragonflies hatch out, followed by some Common Darters and currently there are loads of Blue-tailed Damselflies using it. I've thought of cleaning it out a few times but then worry about the huge cycle of wildlife that I would destroy so it plods on in its scruffy state and lets face it, scruffy is normally just what wildlife loves.