Uphilldowndale

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


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In the Local News

It has rained this week, rarely does such a thing constitute as news in this part of the world, but then the month of May has been exceptionally dry.

Other local news; someone has stolen the post box; as in, the red, Royal Mail post box from down the lane. We discovered this when Mr Uhdd went to post some letters, and there it was gone. It looked a bit like this,

ER

except it bore the legend, VR not ER* and the slot was narrower (I know this because you could never get birthday cards in it without bending them.) So there it had sat**, in public service since since Queen Victoria sat upon the throne, and now it has gone (along with any post it might have contained at the time.) I interrogated the postie about its disappearance and his theory was that, ‘it would fetch good money in America’. My theory is that it will fetch little money when it is weighed in as scrap at some dodgy scrap yard. (although I’ve just looked up the price of Victorian posts boxes on Ebay and the postie is probably right!)

Here is a more soothing rural scene,

cutting sialage -2

even if the  silage crop isn’t very heavy this year, due to the lack of rain..

*VR, for overseas readers, Victoria Regina and ER, Elizabeth Regina

** This post box is in the Lakedistrict, well at least it was.

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Home Building

Whilst I’ve been clearing out the barn, a pair of swallows have been sizing the place up with a view to building a nest. Swooping around my head, chattering excitedly.

House hunting-2

It must be three or four years since they last nested in there, as nest sites go, it has risks last time they only just ‘broke even’ on survivorship, despite raising two broods of chicks.

Darcey the cat is the main predator, although at 15 years of age she is not as spritely as she once was, she is still a hunter, but she has switched her preference from birds to rodents, she spends hours watching and waiting patiently

Darcey-2

for something to emerge ( our other car, Dandy, can’t summon the energy to get out of his basket, baby rabbits used to be his thing, in his younger days.)

The other problem with the barn is the ‘shared access’ sometimes there is a queue to get through the ‘hen flap’

Hen flap-2

The swallows are building high up in the roof of the barn, so fingers crossed that all fledge safely; although I’m not sure they’ve factored into the risk assessment, the neighbours cat though. she is watching and waiting.

Cat watch-2 

I love having the swallows nesting in the barn, (but not the mess, although the chickens are messy enough in their own right) there are far fewer suitable nesting sites than there used to be as, so many agricultural buildings have been converted to residential use. The challenge will be to photograph them on the wing. Watch this space.


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Sitting Pretty

There is absolutely no point in me being precious about the garden. Generally speaking, I do my bit and it takes its chance. Any aspirations  I may have for a glamorous garden are dashed before they have germinated. If it is not Spud  the dog stealing the bedding plants, it is the chickens reeking destruction.

Sitting pretty-2

Excuse my whilst I go and replant my new herbs plants and re-sow my planters; which I shall then have to cover with some chicken wire*, if I am to stand a chance of growing some poppies this year. I like poppies.

*Chicken wire, the clue is in the name,  I’m not the first to face this problem am I?


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Sunday Snapshot

I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend, ‘mucking out’ the barn, it is a fact the more space you have,the more rubbish you acquire to fill it; the job has been hot mucky, dusty work, but I can see progress, that, and the need for another trip to the ‘tip’ coming on (sorry,  the ‘recycling centre’ as it is now more formally known). Such work it isn’t a photogenic task, so here are some  other pretty things to look at instead.

morning light-2

It’s been another scorcher of a day. The ground is bone dry, I can’t ever remember it being quite like this before; or maybe I just wasn’t looking.

Ash leaves-2

The ash trees are just about into leaf, just think, all the leaves will all be gone again come October, there’s not much  growing time available each year for a sapling to soar into a mighty tree is there?

The Bluebells are as delightful as ever,

Bluebell-2-2

but they must bound for a short season in this heat.

bluebell-2

Tom is safely home from his camping trip and is possibly even grubbier than I am.


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Chasing Butterflies

Spud chasing a butterfly-2

Chasing butterflies is hot work today, it has been exceptionally warm: even before 8am

Hot dog-2

By 11am the temperature was 25c. Keeping hydrated seems to have been the issue of the day, Tom is away on his ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ camp and Mr Uhdd has been to the Lake District, to compete in the ‘Old County Tops’ fell race,  the old counties being, Westmoorland, Cumberland and Lancashire, the tops being the summits of Helvellyn, Scarfellpike and The Old Man of Coniston; 11,000 ft of climb and a distance of some 36m. I can tell you that despite drinking somewhere in the region of 8-9 litres of water he only had one pee! (is that too much information? Sorry)


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Becoming Cooler, Later

Spud the dog is in for a bit of a surprise, for when he arrived, as wee pup, last September,

spud u like 2-2 

it also happened to be the day we turned the Aga on. Making a snug kitchen for a young dog to call his home.

However we humans have been finding the kitchen a little too hot to handle over the last few days, so we’ve turned the Aga off (hopefully for the summer, but never cast a coat till May is out, as the saying goes.) I think Spud is going to miss his tummy warmer, here he is, just this morning.

Toasty tum-2

It’s a dogs life.


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Even Handed

‘Spud has stolen my marigolds! I’ve found two of them but one is still missing.’ I announced.

Tom and Mr Uhdd exchange perplexed glances

I continue my rant, ‘I was going to plant them out today: but he ran off with the tray, I found two down by the bonfire, but goodness knows where he has taken the third. They’ve survived the frost only to be trashed by the dog!’

‘Ahhh,’ says Mr Uhdd, ‘I get it now, I thought you were talking about Marigold gloves,  not bedding plants, I couldn’t see what the problem is, I mean how many rubber gloves do you need?’

image  image

Tom shook his head in that ‘Oh mum’ sort of way, that teenagers do.

The marigold thief

Marigold theft -2 

The third plant was eventually found by the rhubarb patch (which survived the frost, I’m pleased to say, as I’ve not made a crumble yet.)

Frost rhubarb -2

What I didn’t tell Tom and Mr Uhdd, the Marigold gloves by the sink? They are both right handed, I keep wearing the left ones out, I wonder how that happened?

Spud also had a chew on a log, whilst he was in sack cloth and ashes mode

Spud and charcoal-2