Over the winter we take as much care as we can of the local wildlife. We have discovered that that we can feed most birds that come to our table by scattering birdfood (grain and grated-up fatballs) along the path to our house, so we dispense with the bird feeders for this time of year as they aren’t really used, and the food there just goes mouldy.This brings a number of birds to our table. Crows, pigeons, sparrows, blackbirds, robins and wrens all feed there – we do not discriminate. All birds need food on cold hard days, and all birds are part of our local community.We even have a friendly – and very timid – seagull, and I am happy to feed this seagull (a young bird, I think) so long as he doesn’t bring all his friends along too. Indeed, I rather admire his ingenuity in finding us, and keeping us to himself!When we first arrived here, Poe was good enough to extend our winter hospitality to other small folk. She would be out in all weather, looking for little lost souls.She was sure they would prefer the nice warm inside to the snowy cold outside. Trouble was, she would then expect them to play for a little while …… before she lost them, and they ran off to make new homes inside. A year later, we discovered the small carcase of just such a forgotten mouse, trapped behind the grandfather clock. Such a considerate mouse – never smelt in its decay. Now it has a place of honour on our nature window display.Luckily, Poe is now too old to go out a-mousing, but we have discovered with our shed spring cleaning that we are still caring for the local wild mouse population. I keep my spinning fleece in the garden shed, as well as our supplies of bird feed. The fleece is high up on shelves.One year, I brought a particularly special bag of Crookabeck alpaca out of the shed into the kitchen for dyeing, and I discovered that somebody had not only been making a home in my beautiful fleece, but they’d been helping themselves to the food supplies available in the shed. A cosy way to spend the winter, don’t you think, with food and comfy bedding both on hand?!We always know what the mice are up to in the shed, because they leave little guilty teethmarks all over the bird food.Another year, I caught the little blighters in action. Time for some shed spring cleaning soon – I wonder what we will find in there this year?