Stavehøl through the seasons – 2

After Spring’s bursts of life, everything slows down (except the grass growth) for the lazy warmth of Summer. The Spagerå river diminishes and trickles to nothing as the months go by while it’s twin the Præstebæk maintains some flow thanks to springs and tiny freshlets. Bird song is replaced by the buzz of bees and hoverflies and remarkably, if the wind is from the east, by the sound of the surf on the east coast. When swallows fledge young in the ‘ruins’ of Agerbygård they are brought to the roofs of Stavehøl for feeding and flying lessons – while red kites and buzzards bring food to their nearby nests and swoop and soar above. The days are long so its difficult to be awake for the deepest darkest part of the night – but night owls are rewarded with a wonderful array of stars, planets and the best meteor shower views. Evening skies are often a gorgeous orange and this is the time to see woodcock on their ‘roding’ display flights up and down the river valley.

The warmth slowly ebbs and if the storms stay away then autumn can be a long and mellow season at Stavehøl. The palette of reds, yellows and oranges under a sunny sky are fantastic – like the epheremal fresh greens of Spring though, they are over too soon. Gradually the canopy recedes and the wider landscape is revealed again, while the sounds of the harvest surround us. A wet season brings flow back to the river and the waterfall finally hides the mysterious dark stones of Stavehøl. Groups of bugling cranes migrating overhead from the tundra bogs of Lapland and Siberia are real harbingers of winter while flocks of blackbirds, redwings and fieldfares glut themselves on our crop of apples and pears (far too many for us!). We always have to be quick to harvest walnuts before they’re snaffled away by an army of hungry Jays storing them for the hardships ahead.

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