Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Land of Snow and Ice

A selvedge of snow still remains, banked up against the drystone walls, it lies in dips and gullies (or ‘gips’ as I used to call them as a child, no point wasting words when you can blend).

April snow -1

There are lanes  that are still full to the brim, some with cars still entombed! Our lane was cleared  of snow this afternoon, by man in a JCB digger.

Tom has returned home from a geography study trip to Iceland*, it has been warmer there all the time he’s been away than it has here. How silly is that.  On his return he said how ‘green’ everything looks at home, but this is only in comparison to Iceland, not ‘as it should be’, at this time of year, in this part of of the world. It is dire for livestock.

Here are Joe and Spud on our walk on Sunday

Spud Joe and Trees-1

Mr Uphilldowndale wanted to show me some mine workings that have ‘opened up’ recently: as a child I used to play no more than a stones throw from here.

mine shaft -1

My Mum has said for over fifty years that she is convinced the loud crash she and a friend heard one summers evening could only have been to do with the old  mine workings, of which there are many around and about, both coal and lead.  It’s not really what you want at the bottom of the garden.

Making them safe is the remit of The Coal Authority.

mine shaft 2-1

* I’ve been envious of Tom, I went to Iceland in the early 1980’s with my friend Bob’s-mum; it seemed a bit off beat for a holiday destination back then. I loved it, however unlike Tom, I didn’t get to swim in The Blue Lagoon, or see the Aurora Borealis… sigh.


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Iced Plum Jam

The deep freeze continues. But there are buds of hope. Jammy the kitten-cat would like to show you, look he’s pointing.

Jammy and buds-1

Tiny blossoms are lying in wait.

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Here is the same tree on the 28th March 2011  it looks a little different, frosted granted, but not marooned in snow and ice. I think it’s wild plum, look I’ve even found a recipe for a recipe for wild plum blossom ice cream, written by Blanche Vaughn (I really couldn’t line up any more snowy, white  icy themes if I tried).

The snow isn’t going anywhere fast, here is the lane to our house.

snow filled lane 2-1

Here is Jammy tip-toeing through the snow.

Snow kit-1


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, March 24th 2013

Well you can guess who has enjoyed this weather, Spud the warrior dog with his icy  breast plate.

Snow warrior -1

The rest of us may be finding it all rather difficult, not Spud the adventure dog

MJB 3-1

I know that in many parts of the world, this amount of snow is not a big deal. But it is here, and so late in the year,  I’ve not seen this much snow in the lanes since my childhood

Snow girl 2

(which wasn’t 1947 since you ask).  It is the winds that have caused the drama, Tom  and Mr Uphilldowndale spent hours digging out the lane yesterday, it was all back again in a few hours. As Tom wryly noted, it won’t stop filling in until every field east of here is empty of snow or the wind drops.

We went to visit Mrs Bee and her boys, they are not  very happy. Mrs Bees road is worse than our lane, it is not going to plough out, it will be a snow blower, digger or a long wait for it to thaw.

SPB 6-1

We took emergency supplies of cheese and wine (essential do you not think?) and Tom helped carry a bail of hay for the farmer whose sheep are in the next field. Brownie points all round.

The space between these two drystone walls is the road, the walls are about five-six foot high at this point, full to the brim.

Snow filled lane -1


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Snow Spectrum

It’s March for goodness sake, not even early March come to that, frosts and snow showers are acceptable but not blizzards.

I’ve been feeling a bit better today,  I felt inspired enough (from the warmth of my desk) to get the camera out of the bag  and capture  the snow, as seen through a bowl of iridescent glass baubles

snow bubble 3-1

 

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snow bubble 6-1

I was less keen about Jammy the kitten-cat and a bowl of baubles though.

snow bubble 5-1


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Spud and Ice

Not really the further adventures of Spud the dog, but we thought you might be pining for him, so here he is surveying the state of play of any remaining snow.

a little snow -1

A little left under the walls. But the temperature remains chilly.

Mr Uphilldowndale tipped me off that there were some very blog worthy icicles over the hill.  In fact he insisted we go take a look this morning before breakfast.

Clough -1

Tucked away in a deep clough, that sees not much in the way of sunshine at any time of the year. The icicles have formed from water that oozed from between the rock and roots,

Icicle 3-1

dripping on to vegetation they seem to defy gravity at times; the Circ Du Soleil of the icicle world

Clough 5-1

as the growing weight of ice shifts the centre of gravity.

Clough 7-1

And the icicles head off in a different direction.

Clough 2-1

Splashes of water on moss, freeze before they have chance to soak away.

Icicle 13-1

I feel this one has a touch of the Dale Chihuly about it.

dale -1


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Hare Today

The snow keeps coming and going, this morning we woke to delicate confection,  a butter cream topping of snow upon a squelchy sponge of a soggy muddy field (I despair of keeping the mud out of the house) the light was  diffused and sort of floury for want of a better word, I rather liked it.

Floury light 3-1

Spud the dog, Jammy and Dodger the kitten-cats  all came with me for my turn around the field, but I’ll save the resulting mayhem for tomorrow.

Floury light 2-1

We’ve more snow forecast for tomorrow, how much remains to be seen.  Here earlier drifts lie under today’s ‘top dressing’.

Floury light -1

I was just about to go back indoors to toast my cold toes when I spotted a brown hare in the next field.

Hare 2-1

I do like hares, but I never get very close. Maybe I need a longer lens…

Hare 3-1

He lolloped over by the sheep, before exiting over the ridge.

Hare -1

Derbyshire Harrier has some lovely shots of mountain hares, over on his Flickr page


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Winter Walk

Nothing finer than a  winter walk for  the restoration of equilibrium, Mr Uphilldowndale and I were both in need the other afternoon. We went down by the river, always a good move.

Riverside walk-1

Up through the woods and across the fields.

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Spud had a high old time, you can just see him here, heading off  towards a rather handsome wall, that’s topped with snow.

late afternoon walk 1-1

At the moment freezing rain is hammering against the windows and the rising wind has been piling snow back into the lanes this afternoon. The forecast is for the weather to get warmer over the weekend and for the snow to melt; we’ll be glad to see the back of it for a while I think. The weather conditions have led to tragedy.

We walked back past the church, not a bat or a bear in sight.

late afternoon walk church -1

I saw some photos of ‘ zombie snowmen’ in the press this week, I had to admire the skill in their making, their location was described as a disused graveyard in Bristol,  it led me to wonder, how can  graveyard be disused? Its not like a factory is it? Isn’t always going to be ‘in use’ by its residents?


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Not So Blue Monday

It was more white than blue around here; well, white with a dollop of grey. I walked to work.

Walking to work-1

This view is never blue, the myth of today being blue Monday can be explored here.

Walking was easier and safer than driving, I was passed en-route by one of the local farmers who is contracted to go out and plough the lanes. (He is straight talking about those who drive the lanes when they should know better)  I thought he might offer me a lift but he ploughed by with a cheery wave, but then he’d probably assumed I was just out with the camera having a photo jolly rather than commuting, it’s an easy mistake to make.

But I was grateful for his work, it made the walk easier, that and my Yaktrax

Walking to work 2-1 

I passed by a flock of sheep, who seemed reluctant to rise from their slumbers, maybe they think it is blue Monday?

Some had hunkered down in the lea of a bank.

sleepy sheep-1

All were snowy

sleepy sheep 2-1


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, 20th Jan 2013

Spud likes the snow, he even manages to look tidy in it.

Spud pristine -1

Snow is more user friendly to a dog than mud. (Did I ever tell you about the time an neighbours Chow Chow dog, wallowed in the outfall from our septic tank, one hot summers afternoon? There is mud and there is mud, there are muddy dogs and there are muddy muddy smelly dogs.)

Snow is a new adventure for Jammy and Dodger the kitten- cats

Dodger-1

But, at the end of the day, keeping snug and securing the lions share of the sofa is the priority.

jammy-1

 

‘Mum! The cats have got a mouse in the porch!’ Said the boys.

‘Well go and get it off them then’. said I.

No one volunteered.

Ever helpful, Spud the dog stuck his head out through the cat flap, from the kitchen into the porch, and stretched as far as he could, and a bit more besides. He plucked the now deceased rodent from off the door mat in the porch and brought it back through the cat flap into the kitchen and presented it to me.

‘Well thank you Spud, what a helpful doggy you are!’ Now what do I do with it?


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Woolly Winter Tales

What I can I tell you, we have snow. Is there any part of the UK that doesn’t have snow? I wonder.

The sheep in the next field seem quite unperturbed

snow covered sheep -1

They are fed daily, which seems to make them happy.

contented sheep -1 

It took a wee while to find a sheep that would look me in the eye, as most had their backs to the wind (and wind chill).

Wind from the east-1

I can vaguely remember a farmer telling me this is how sheep end up stuck in snow drifts, they keep working their way along, keeping the wind behind them, scratting for grass until they run out of field and the snow piles in behind them.

heading out of the wind-1

He also told me in the winter of 1963 that whilst many of his flock perished in snow drifts, some were able to survive by eating their own fleece.

But there are people better qualified to comment of sheep and snow, have a look at herdy’s blog, up in Cumbria.

cold nose sheep-1

We’ve just watched a cracking little programme on BBC2 about the winter of ‘63 (flighty, it is worth watching on iplayer (Winterwatch)

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