All Things Bright and Beautiful

Here I am sitting in my garden under a tree. We may only have a small garden but in it there are 3 trees. When we first moved in there were 3 little ponds. Next you’ll be asking if we have 3 little pigs.

Unfortunately I haven’t inherited my family’s green fingers. No pristine English lawn with its fresh green grass. My father must be ‘turning in his grave’ at the sight of our patch of moss. Oh well! You can’t be good at everything.

We live in a village on the main street and there is a constant flow of traffic during the day, so I can’t say it’s quiet. We are lucky, however, to have visitors of a furry or feathered kind, especially early in the morning or in the evening.

All Creatures Great and Small

Let’s start with the birds, the names of which I’ve just about mastered in English (very difficult to remember in German). Sparrows, tits, chaffinches, dunnocks, redstarts, wagtails, pigeons, magpies, jays and a family of greater spotted woodpeckers.

Of course, when you feed the birds you attract other animals who thrive off the supply of nuts which fall on the ground. Squirrels and mice I can tolerate but rats are so cheeky and fearless. I admit to being afraid of them and the diseases they can spread.

As I am sure you know, pine martens (Marder) are quite common in German and can do a lot of damage. One winter’s night I had a close encounter with one on our roof as we looked out of our window. The tap tap across the tiles and their screams and yowling is enough to keep anyone awake.

We love them all (well, almost all!)

Snakes are another story! In the cellar we had a small grass snake (Ringelnatter). How sweet I hear you say. Totally harmless! At the time I thought it was a toy (“Schleich Tier”) which my kids had dropped on the floor. Noooo! As I went to pick it up, I soon realised my mistake. I swear it sat up and hissed at me. Paralysed with fear I called for help and then insisted that it be transported in a bucket to a field kilometres away.

All this talk about little creatures has reminded me of a hymn I used to sing in the church when I was young. I listen to this and other rousing hymns while I clean the house (a job I don’t enjoy) – it seems to give me energy.

All Things Bright and Beautiful (Cecil F. Alexander)

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The lord god made them all.

1. Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their little wings.


2. The purple headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky

3. The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

4. The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day.

Happy cleaning!

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