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.

Bee’s future

May 2nd, 2009

A PUPPY kept in an outside kennel and run is rarely a problem in the house, mostly because he's never allowed into the house. So when Inka came to us aged seven months, and having grown up indoors, we were a little apprehensive that the upheaval of coming to a new home might result in some destruction.

They say that if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't. Inka's been with us a month now and compared with previous puppies – fingers crossed – he's given us a surprisingly easy time. By the same age Macbeth had chewed the bottom drawer handles of several chests of drawers and we were just thankful that his legs were even shorter then than they are now and he couldn't reach the next level of drawers.

By chance I was passing Eassie Farm, between Glamis and Meigle, on the morning farmer Sandy Pattullo cut the first asparagus of the season. It's not a common crop for this part of Scotland but Sandy has grown it for years and I always stop by when I see the notice advertising it at his road end. Getting it so young and fresh was a real treat and an unexpected tasty starter for our supper that evening. The season lasts about six weeks so I've no doubt I'll be calling in at the farm again before the season finishes.

Just off the main road (A94), and close by the farm, there's an interesting Pictish standing stone in the old, roofless, Eassie Kirk. Strathmore was obviously an important centre for Pictish activity for this is one of many sculptured stones that have been found. Close by, in Meigle, there's an excellent museum in the old school containing one of the best collections of standing stones.

I've hardly seen a bee this spring; a few bumblers, but not one honey bee. Bees are in the news because they are under serious threat of extinction from parasitic disease. Apparently one in three mouthfuls of food we eat is produced from flowering crops pollinated by bees. Just what happens to our food supplies if bees do become extinct or so scarce there are not enough to carry out their vital function, I don't quite know. But I don't like to think that, along with butterflies which are also becoming scarcer, these essential insects might disappear before I do.

I watched a power struggle develop between two somewhat unmatched birds. I don't know the cause, probably food, but time and again the jackdaw was firmly sent packing by the collared dove which was only about two-thirds its size. It was a reversal of perceived characteristics too. I've always thought jackdaws to be rather bully birds, and the very name  dove' conjures up ideas of peace and timidity. But the worm had turned, in a manner of speaking.