Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

Dog friendly web sites

September 16th, 2006

TWO FIELDS at the back of the house, which had been in  set-aside', have now been ploughed and sown    Set-aside' means they were taken out of production, and left uncropped, for this past season   Being uncultivated meant they looked a bit scruffy but, agricultural policies aside, there were definite benefits for a man with two dogs to walk every day   More...

Inka could clear the garden fence with one bound, but Macbeth had to be lifted over as it is rabbit-proofed with chicken wire along its length – so it's Macbeth-proof too   Without the normal agricultural attention the weeds grew, providing cover for the nesting oyster catchers and meadow pipits which I mentioned in past articles  

The stream which flows through the garden separates the two fields   Pheasants and mallards nested along its banks   Several pairs of partridges produced families in the long grass at the foot of the beech hedges   And there will have been plenty more activity which I missed.

It was great to have such a good walk just at the back door, but nothing stays the same for ever   With the harvest all combined there are stubble fields aplenty for us to walk in until the agricultural round gets up to speed once again  

I watched a local contractor sowing a field with winter cereal   The machinery is so powerful nowadays that the plough could carry out two functions at once   It had a tank on the front carrying fertiliser and one at the rear carrying seed, and it took little more than an hour to sow a field of some fifteen acres   Our grandfathers would have looked on in astonishment, and their fathers would scarcely have believed their eyes.

Mention that our swallows had gone, flown south, brought a chorus of  €œWhat are you talking about, the sky round our house is black with them €   Well ours have went, and that's that!

There are a lot of interesting dog-related web sites   One,   calls itself the only dog-friendly site you'll ever need, run by dog owners, for dog owners and, of course, their dogs   Its range of interests is wider than many and you can do canine jigsaws on-line, which I found even more maddening than doing them the familiar way.

We – the dogs and I, that is – sat down for a breather on the embankment of the long-abandoned Brechin to Edzell railway line   Little reports all around me, sounding like a distant battle, caught my attention   It was the dried seed pods on the whins bursting with the heat of the sun and spraying their seeds – their method of regeneration  

I counted twelve seeds in one pod   Many of them will be eaten by the birds, but many will germinate and produce new bushes   It's not just popular breakfast cereals that go  Snap, Crackle, Pop'.

Written on Saturday, September 16th, 2006 at 5:48 am for Weekly.