Squeaky Snow and Frozen Flags

Today was wonderfully cold. Minus 10 overnight and utterly clear and bright during the day. The snow is squeaky and every blade of grass poking above brandishes a tiny banner of ice.

Our footprints carve their mark on the fresh fall and all around us are the patterns of creatures that were out before us. Most of the marks are rabbits, who I now realise feed much further from their burrow than I appreciated; deep neat marks are deer ; round footprints are cats and light prints are martins. Some longer prints maybe hare and small dog like prints maybe fox. Out in the open three grassy circles with smooth snow edges would seem to be the spots were deer lay down as the snow fell heavily, though why they stayed out in the fields, when the shelter of the forest was so close, I do not know . Under apple trees a mole hill is brown and fresh above the snow although the soil  is already frozen hard. Coin sized round holes in the snow indicate where voles had emerged at some point from their runs under the white blanket which now keeps them safe and sheltered from the hungry buzzards wheeling above in a cold blue sky.


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