Uphilldowndale

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


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Patchwork

I find it hard to imagine our landscape without drystone walls

Patchwork

This shot, as the morning sun catches the tops of the hills on a frosty morning.

It’s not been as clear as this today, the day has been shrouded in low cloud, visibility has been poor and the temperature has never come above freezing; it’s about -3 Celsius this evening . The farmers are taking advantage of the frozen ground are out muck spreading with vigour, (the frozen ground means that the tractors tyres doesn’t churn the soil into deep ruts and the freeze thaw action will help breakdown the muck.) But if you really want to know all the facts about muck spreading physics…..

‘centrifugal spreading is a very important step in precision agriculture.’

We’re in that odd no man’s land between Christmas and New Year, who and what is and isn’t working is all a bit of a mystery, the farmers are, because they always are (but the agricultural merchants were closed today when I went to buy some hen feed) The building and construction industries usually shut down for two weeks over Christmas and New Year, but uncharacteristically I’ve seen lots of builders busy at their work in the last couple of days, maybe they are just thankful with the financial climate as it is, to grab any work that’s around at the moment, a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush (but then builders merchants was closed when I went to buy two handles for the kitchen units)

But the butchers was open and venison is on the menu for tomorrow night.

Happy New Year, I’ll be back in 2009

(I’ve just re- read what I’ve written, this post is indeed aptly titled, it is  a patchwork or a total mish mash of topics!)


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Repeats

There are plenty of repeats and compilations programs on the TV over Christmas and the New Year, (Porridge being a popular one with all the family) so I don’t see why I shouldn’t do the same myself; I know I’ve posted this photo before, but I like it; so I’m going to indulge myself and post it again (I keep thinking I’ll make a year book of my photos, but I don’t seem to be getting very far with the project.)

Building bonfire

(Mr Uhdd, builds a bonfire)

but then I like  this one too

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(Sunset with attitude)

Actually, I just like taking silhouettes

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(One tree on skyline)

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(Climbers @ top of crag, sunset)

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(Sculpture in country park early morning)

and more recently

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(Fishing, frosty morning)

I think I’ve spotted a theme, maybe I’ll  take some more next year


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All Gone

The turkey is all gone*, our guests are all gone: before they left ‘Thing One’ the chicken

 Thing one 2

was spotted undertaking a routine inspection of the boot of my brother in laws car,

Boot chicken

just to check he wasn’t leaving with the family silver, her efforts were in vain as

  1. We have no family silver
  2. He is family

Now every one has gone I’m not quite sure what to do with myself, I’m rattling around the house like a flea in a bottle. I went off for a relaxing soak in the bath, using my nice scented bath oil (a Christmas gift) and fell asleep in the bath, so maybe I should do very little, other than have an early night.

*save for a pan of stock that is destined to be soup.


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Boxing Day Feast

Left over turkey is best eaten simply (personally, I’d have added a bit of mayo!)

Turkey Buttie

I never complain about having to eat up any surplus turkey (or trifle*) on Boxing Day, for I enjoy foil parcels and cling film wrapped goodies from the fridge all the more because ‘the heat is off’, it’s more relaxed, the preparation is done, as is most of the washing up: it just needs eating.

We took a nice walk by the canal (stopping off at a couple of pubs en route for a couple of half’s of Timothy Taylor’s)

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A beautiful crisp sunny day, cool enough for everyone to wear the new hats and gloves they unwrapped yesterday

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before returning home as the sunset, behind the only cloud in the sky,

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here reflected in the barn window

Barn window

* My dad always ate trifle with a slice of bread and butter (I suspect it was a habit that dated back to his childhood and having to make what  food they had go as far as possible, in the same way as ‘Yorkshire pudding’ eked out the available meat)


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From the Family Album

 

 

I originally  planned this post for Remembrance day, Frosted poppies 1

I knew exactly which photos I wanted to use, it just took a while to locate them, eventually mum found them deep within the ‘manila envelope filing system’ of her sideboard draw,

other Christmas theme photos have emerged from there

So with the Christmas day truce of 1914 in mind, It seems appropriate  wish you a very happy Christmas, peace and goodwill to all.

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My father and my Grandfather (I’ve seen those curls and eyebrows somewhere before!)

One of many 2

And two of my great Uncles 

Family 1

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Have a peaceful Christmas, where ever in the world you might be ( and it would be lovely if you could leave a comment to say which country that is, I’m just curious.)


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Small But Perfectly Formed

 

We had a bit of a problem with the Christmas tree, when we bought the house it came with a fair few ‘Christmas trees’ of various sizes, over the years they have provided a steady stream of Christmas trees for house and for family and friends: in 17 years, they have grown a bit as you can imagine,  the remaining few are now about 30 feet tall;  latterly we have cut down a large tree and used to top few feet as a Christmas tree for the house and  the rest for fire wood. We’ve planted some replacements, but they’ve a way to go yet, before they are useable.

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This year however we failed to find anything in the remaining trees that looked anything like half decent. It was hard for us to accept, but we would have to go and BUY a tree: but too late, they had all gone, save for enormous ones (both in size and price, bear in mind we never parted with cash for a tree before so anything seems expensive.) This is an old farm house, the rooms are not large (‘one bay’ wide, but I’ll come back to what that means in the new year.) Tom and I scoured the usual purveyors of Christmas trees on Sunday afternoon, to no avail.

Yesterday Mr Uhdd and I looked again, trying to convince ourselves that something would work, but it was no use (and I’ve been know to splice two weedy tree tops together with cable ties in the past, to make a respectable looking tree, bear in mind putting bits of foliage together in a reasonable looking fashion has been a life’s work) So in the end sacrifices had to be made and one of my ‘topiary’ conifers had to be cut.

A Christmas tree of sorts

It’s scrubbed up quite nicely and is compact enough to allow for the four of us and our 7 guests, to try and squeeze around the tree tomorrow morning. I would take a photo,  but I’ve ‘that pudding’ to make, the clock is ticking (the recipe is here.)

New Year 1

Thank you for your kind wishes and words, have a happy Christmas.


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Turn the Lights On

The lights are on (which is more than can be said for the unfortunate residents of Rawtenstall who are in the dark at the moment) these Christmas lights are 60 years old this year, my mum bought them at the local Co-op store in 1948, I re-strung them last year you can read about it here

Vintage lights

If you are struggling to get in the festive mood I recommend you take a look at the  Christmas traditions in Denmark over on  Birgitte’s blog, I’ve really enjoyed reading about them over the last few weeks and I’ve concluded that we in the UK lack imagination in the Christmas department, the Danes know how to Christmas!

Vintage lights 2


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What’s for Lunch?

We were just having a bite to eat, when we caught site of a Kestrel hovering over the field, (I’ve long since given up on getting decent photos of such things, but never mind.)

Kestrel

The ground falls away from the house so you can be at ‘eye level’ with a hovering kestrel, (and they are mesmerising to watch) it held it position in the strong, buffeting wind, with no more than a twitch of it wings, before dropping like a stone

Kestrel 2

A second later, it flew off with a generous meal,

Kestrel 1

We think its catch was a mole, we certainly have plenty about,

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they are digging up the lawn

Mole, deceased 1 

as well as the field: I’ve posted about moles and mole catching before..

Mummified Mole