It's a wonderful, frosty Northumbrian morning and the beautiful sound of the song thrush brightens the landscape even more. But this is also a reminder that Spring is on its way and we haven't got long to finish off any big vegetation disturbance jobs before its time to, once more, leave the hedges, shrubs and verges as homes for birds, mammals and other creatures.
There's also still time to get planting. Fruiting trees come in many sizes and provide fresh food for us and wildlife, as well as looking great.
So spring to it!
Happy New Year .
Here's hoping 2016 brings a bit less extreme weather and more improvements to natural habitats, in Northumberland and around the globe.
Yes it's time to celebrate the shortest day. This year we have had to wait an extra day, as the solstice has slipped to the 22nd December, but next year, the leap year will pop the solstice back to its normal 21st December.
At noon today, the Northumberland, the sun will only rise to an angle of 12 degrees, and it will be night time again before you know it. But then tomorrow the days start to get longer and we can look forward to spring.
It was at this time of year, as the sun barely rose above the horizon, and most trees appeared to die back, that our northern european ancestors decorated their dwellings with evergreen plants such as holly and mistletoe, because their ability to remain alive through the dark days of winter meant they were considered to be magical, and bestow good luck for the year ahead.