‘Okay! So that’s weird,’ I mutter to myself as I open the door to the Cosy Shed. The floor is covered in a thin layer of fine soil, particularly either side of the gaps in the floor boards. I haven’t been here regularly to work over the last few months because of the awful weather, but I have popped my head in occasionally to check all was well, and I’m sure I would have noticed if the floor was covered in earth.
I’ve been chased up to the wood today by the glimmer of sun. I’d felt desperately in need of some peace in the chaos. As I’d walked to the Cosy Shed, the quiet had begun to seep in. I was stopped by the tiniest violet flowering in my path; the deep purple of its petals contrasted beautifully with the vibrant green of the moss in which the flower nestled. Birds chirruped overhead, and I could hear the wind in the tree tops. Only a gentle breeze reached me as I walked on between the trunks. I spotted the little bear footprints of badgers, huge cow footprints of the red deer. I stopped again to admire a primrose, then again to look at the shiny emerald leaves of the lords-and-ladies, now fully open and speckled with sooty spots. Sun beamed intermittently onto the trees spotlighting the elm buds beginning to burst, lifting colour from the grey.
In the wood there is a wonderful smell; fresh and clean and green. But I am confused on opening the door of the Cosy Shed and finding this soil. I have been vaguely aware of odd things happening round the shed for a while; I’ve just been sorting them out and thinking nothing of them – Amos’ seesaw moved from its place by the side wall, my drying fire logs pushed out from the space under the shed, scratches on the outside walls. I had put it down to wandering wildlife; deer or squirrels, foxes or badgers. It is their wood after all. Now I look down at the soil and wonder if the high winds could have blown it up through the cracks of the floor? Surely not. Have mice been in here and nibbled something that looked like soil? No, this is definitely soil. The only thing I can think of is that something has been throwing soil up at the shed base from underneath, but that seems unlikely; perhaps a bird desperate for a dust bath in all the wet weather? I go outside to look under the shed.
I’m not sure what to expect, but I am not expecting this. A badger sett entrance… underneath my shed. It’s massive. It’s undermining the breezeblocks my shed is resting on and the badgers are obviously getting in to the hole from both sides. This is so exciting (assuming my shed doesn’t subside down the hole 🙂 )! My head is suddenly full of questions. Will the badgers use this entrance if I am in the shed? Could I come and watch badgers from my shed, while sitting in comfort and having a cup of tea! Would I be able to get close up views of the badgers? If I put down peanuts close by could I get them to stay close for a while so I can watch them? I am so keen to answer my questions but I know I will need to wait a little while, till the nights are shorter and the weather is warmer. I am impatient, but as I walk home I feel so lucky to have this to look forward to. And more than that, I feel a little bit as though I have been accepted, as if the badgers feel that we are okay and that they can share their space with us. They had the whole wood to choose from and they decided they would dig under my shed. We are going to be neighbours and I’m very excited about it…