Always moving on

Weaving winter stock, I just spent a very quiet month in a borrowed farmhouse, alone with a family of kestrels. The babies, a male and a female, are just learning to fly now as I depart. I spotted the first fledgling last week crouched in the bushy mint beneath the nest, nervously hidden. Fallen? Jumped? Pushed?

I’ve seen them hopping between logs with some wing help practice. The mother has been more present than the father, bringing mousy morsels back from the wheat fields some twenty times in a day, till nine at night. Sometimes I’ve spotted the whole family perched in the tall willow, or in the big walnut, or, more quarrelously, in the nearer oak.
I’ve woken in the morning to the little crang of claws on the tin roof outside my window, and watched them land, look about, check me out, duck the swallows’ divebombs and take off again, from my bed. I’ve had supper in the garden while they had supper on the woodpile. I’ve cleared some undergrowth so they’d have more perches unsurrounded by predator cover. I’ve tidied their tinder-dry carcasses from the patio. Followed trails of entrails. Swept up white down from the sitting room. Woven kestrel colours into a cowl. Said goodbye honoured and sad.

Every time I leave a place I leave a bit of my soul, ouch. Every place gives me a generous bit of hers to carry with me.

8 thoughts on “Always moving on

  1. We had kestrels nesting under our roof this year. It was one female and two male and they got along pretty well. More food for the babies. Strange at first to watch, but if it works for them who am I to judge birds 😉
    I was sad to leave for traveling Brittany, I saw just 3 of 7 babies fly away but when I return the roof will probably empty..

    Wearing my ocean shawl here sometimes in the crazy wind..seeing the gorse and heather blooming together – maybe there will be some snugs again in that colour?


    • Hi Gilduath, forgive me, I’m just trying to work out your name as I would know it. ‘Ocean shawl’ narrows it down a lot but still to more than one (if that includes a throw that I might have thought of as a blanket?), and I don’t think I realised that one of my seascape bearers also travelled in Brittany…? Lovely!

      So there were three adults feeding the babes, and two were male? How fantastic! The LBGT+ community would be awash with joy to hear!

      Mine was a much more conventional 2.4 family (I’m actually not sure whether there were two or three babies). I feel that returning to that place in their flown absence will be dreadfully hollow and sad!

      I’ll bear in mind your gorse/heather appeal. Yes, I’d like to do that. For environmental reasons I’m wanting to move away from the chemically-dyed, imported alpaca that I’ve used in the past for gorse and heather, but I can actually achieve those colours with plant dyes, I found out this spring. However I’ve not combined those particular colours in the chunky yarns I’ve made and I don’t know when I’ll next do any dyeing. But I’ll mull… Thank you!

      All the best for now,



      • Hi sorry -I’m Hannah. I have two rugs as well. I am traveling with the tablet and it gives me automatic that name..
        I do like the wild landscape. UK, France, Norway. Harsh cliffs make my heart sing..

        Yes two male and one female. And no fights between the males. All three of them sometimes sitting together on a branch, watching the nest.

        I bought a gorse and heather for my sister and sometimes I envy her. After walking yesterday through heather/gorse filds even a bit more..
        And plant dyed sounds very interesting!


        • Hannah S, I’m sorry! There were two – or was it three, my brain is very addled at present – different seascape shawls and one blanket, so I wasn’t sure which of you it was! And I forgot you’d bought the gorse and heather snug (though I certainly haven’t forgotten the rugs!).

          Harsh cliffs are exhilarating indeed… I’ve not seen the Norwegian sea, but hope to one day – I liked Oslo and environs, and would love to see Scandinavia’s wild places… the politics there seem wiser too…

          All the best as I return to doing my accounts with a deadline… I hope you’re well.xx


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