Uphilldowndale

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


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Apple Tart

We know when it is truly Autumn, its when Spud the dog’s ratio of tennis balls to windfall apples, that he leaves lying around the house is 2:1 in favour of apples.

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They are something of a health hazard, one of these days, it will the incident with the toy fire engine all over again, which  as I painfully remember resulted in a very bruised coccyx, rather than a cox

I’ve turned into a something of a mad apple lady, we have so many, the branches are straining under the weight of them and we’ve four trees.

I don’t seem to be able to make any inroads into them at all.  I’ve become obsessed, everywhere I go I have a  basket or box of apples with me. Please take my lovely apples  friends, colleagues neighbours, the ladies at exercise class,  no one can say no. (I could try standing on street corners I suppose, a bit like  like the man with the yards of lettuce).

Apples basket

Mind you, picking them is not without its hazards (Spud has to stay indoors, he runs off with them, and no one seems to keen on apples with canine teeth marks) On trying to reach the biggest and rosiest apples, for my friend Mrs McN,  the ones right from the top of the tree, one hit me in the face, I’ve an apple green bruise on my cheek… it’s ripening nicely

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Still Life

A beautiful dragonfly, sadly deceased. I lifted it out of the pond this afternoon.

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It did give me a chance to have a close look at its beauty, the shadows from the sunlight falling on it translucent wings

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gave it another dimension.

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divine.

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The Berry Report

I was concerned in the heat of the summer that there would be a shortage of berries for the birds this winter, great swathes of the best blackberry banks had withered and died,

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The winberries, had the very life blood sucked out of them by a young oak.

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And of course my beloved pink rowan, had failed to flower, oh how I will miss it this winter, the birds will probably be more adaptive about it than me.

But things have rallied, acorns are abundant, I thought I’d be seeing the jays with their stitching flight, working across the field to their favourite oaks, but I’ve not seen one, I think they have found one tree and scoffed themselves silly, until they are unable to move

The red rowans are heaving with berries, well they were, the chickens have made inroads into them, further than you’d expect of a chicken.

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They seemed to be having training seminars on how to get to the best position,

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I wouldn’t mind but I’d put the wire cloches there to stop them digging up my plants

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The same flourish can not be said of the grass. Farmers are still very short of feed for the winter.

 


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Away with the fairies

Onwards into south Wales, Joe is living and working in Cardiff , on his placement year, part of his university course. We brought a van load of ‘essentials’ and helped settle him into his new abode.  We took the opportunity to head on to our favourite spot on the Gower peninsular, Nicholaston camp site, as well as  the joys of underfloor heating in the shower block, it has easy access down on to the beach. The path takes you through ancient woodland, with many autumn delights

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Once through the woods, the path laces through the dunes,

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that have abundant flowers

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so much for snails not liking sand and prickly things

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I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t brought Spud the dog down to the beach with me, but the plan had been for a medative kind of meander, that was led by the eye, not the tennis ball; walking three Springer Spaniels must be a whole different ball game

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There was much  beauty hiding in plain sight

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A reminder of the lunacy of British politics flashed up every now and then.

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The tide sorts the shells by size, the waters draining from Oxwich marsh,

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sweep them out to sea again.

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Growing on Trees

 

There are some beautiful trees at Westbury Court Gardens,  this is star of the show

Westbury Court M'toe 3 uhdd-1A 300 year old oakWestbury Court  oak uhdd-1.jpgIt has some cohabitees, I don’t know what species of fungus is, the bees seemed quite interested in it, the beads of liquorice black, looks like the patina of Jacobean furniture, you normally see inside National Trust properties; whilst the tree is old, I don’t think the fungus is  Westbury Court  Fungi  3 uhdd-1.jpgThere were fungi that had a much fresher look,  this fabulous,  mustard yellow specimen for example, it looks smooth, not unlike like deer antler velvet (oh here I go off on a blogging tangent, who ever knew deer antler velvet was harvested for medicinal use! Not me until I just googled deer velvet to make sure I was using the correct term…)

Westbury Court  Fungi uhdd-1.jpgI think this was a species of ash tree,  I was more concerned in avoiding the bees nest we were warned that was lurking under the bark, or at least making sure Mr Uhdd, kept out of their way,  (they don’t get on very well) Westbury Court  Fungi  2 uhdd-1.jpgThere was a lovely cluster of the  semi parasitic plant mistletoe it doesn’t grow in ‘up north’ so I was interested to get a close look,  I don’t usaly get a look any closer that spotting its globe like form in the bare winter trees as we whizz down the M50Westbury Court M'toe 2 uhdd-1I think the host tree was a species of hawthorn,  I being botanically lax in this post aren’t I?Westbury Court  M'toe  4uhdd-1.jpgWhat I do know is what grows on trees, falls off, naturally. Falling conker