Uphilldowndale

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


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Who so ever plants a tree winks at immortality

Spud the dog and I went for a walk  today, this was a big event; it’s the first time Spud has been out for a proper walk since his accident in August.  His bone is healed thanks to the great skill of his vets. Now he needs to build up some muscle.

We walked up the lane it was full of wondrous scents as far as Spud was concerned, I’ve always thought it a rather magical place. We met other dogs and had a good time.

We found in our absence  the council had been doing some work on the gullies at the side of the road.  They’d grubbed up a young yew tree, it was lying exposed, root ball and all on the far side of the gully. I thought I could probably mange to carry it  home, to plant it for perpetuity, yew trees are thought to be special, you see,  I was wrong, it was far too heavy.

I returned later with the Landrover, and it was a bit of a fight to get it in on my own, a passing neighbour offered to help, but  I declined her offer, she was wearing a beautifully cut tweed jacket, far to nice for wrestling muddy roots of which there were many more that I’d realised.

Look what lovely roots.

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I think I’ll let Mr Uphilldowndale dig the hole, once we’ve decided where it will be happy for the next 300 years or so.

It made me think of the quote, by Felix Dennis that forms the tittle of this post, I’d seen it at an exhibition at Kew Gardens. So I looked it up, once I’d got the mud off my clothes, and look at this beautiful, beautiful poem. Felix Dennis, how come I’d never heard of him before?

Whosoever plants a tree
Winks at immortality.

Woodland cherries, flowers ablaze,
Hold no hint of human praise;

Hazels in a hidden glade
Give no thought to stake or spade;

London planes in Georgian squares
Count no patrons in their prayers;

Seed and sapling seek no cause,
Bark and beetle shun applause;

Leaf and shoot know nought of debt,
Twig and root are dumb— and yet

Choirs of songbirds greet each day
With eulogies, as if to say:

‘Whosoever plants a tree
Winks at immortality!’
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Cold Feet

Cast you minds back, to November and I’ll tell you the adventure of a bold, but not very bright bird. Primrose the chicken.

Dusk arrived early, and the role call of chickens showed we had a problem.  Primrose was missing.

We called the neighbours, searched their gardens, scoured the lane by touch light, looked in the shrubs and bushes,  all to no avail.  Eventually we had to conclude she might have been picked off by a fox, who, made bold by hunger, made twilight strike, or she had gone broody and gone off somewhere to make a nest.  We called off the search.

It was bonfire night, rockets streaked across the night sky scattering glittering stars in their wake,  Spud the dog shifted uneasily in his bed.  Eventually all fell quiet, and then the rain came by the bucketful pounding on the roof in the small hours.

At first light, Mr Uphilldowndale went out to resume the search, to be honest he was expecting to find a drift of feathers somewhere nearby.

He couldn’t find anything. However, he could hear something.  Cluuuuccckaaaa, Chahhhaaa, Cluck! But where was it coming from?

As befits the start of a pantomime ‘It’s behind you!’ he turned on his heels to find…

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Can you see in the bulrushes, in the middle of the field pond? Oh you silly bird.

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She’d been standing, up to he knees (do chickens have knees?) in the water, all night.

Mr Uphilldowndale gallantly went in , braving chilly waters and slippery pond liner to get her*.  If you’d like to see how he got on, pop over to the video.

We took her into the kitchen to warm up. She can’t have had much sleep she kept nodding off in Mr Uphilldowndales arms.

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we don’t know why she was there, she will flap and fly a little, especially if startled.  She obviously didn’t have sufficient ‘runway’ to make her way back again.

* I think I’d have built a bridge, I’ve never been fond of cold water.


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Seasonal Selection

Striding out in the light and fresh air, can be a challenge on short winter days.  I’m lucky that I can flex my work a little, so as to grab the best of the day, for a cobweb blowing yomp up the hill.  My was it chilly today, the wind was biting.

A seasonal selection of photos.

Banks of cloud sit on the hills

low cloud December-1066

I find it interesting how some fields at the same altitude seem ‘hold the snow’ more than others, I imagine it is  to do with how they have been grazed

Berry Sky Snow-1088

So nice of the drystone walls to underscore the beautiful view

Rushop Edge -

Feasting sheep,

Hungry sheep

and no place like home at dusk on a snowy winters day

Home -


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Extended hospitality…

I mentioned we’d had a lot of visitors to the garden, especially at the birdfeeder;  well look who turned up today!

On the roof of my workshop, a buzzard.

To think it was 2009 when I first saw (and wrote about, on this blog) a buzzard in this part of Derbyshire.

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It is as tough as ever being top  of the food chain, the rooks were not pleased by our guest. There was a spat.

 

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Having dismissed the rooks, the buzzard landed on the wall, and was joined by a second buzzard*.

Other guests included the beautiful thrush

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and a timid robin.

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* I think the time is approaching to upgrade from my  world weary Canon ESO400D camera, any suggestions?


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Buzzards and Bramblings

How lucky am I to be able to sit and watch birds great and small from my window. I think these are bramblings, a bird I can’t recall visiting us before, there are greenfinches and goldfinches too.

Finch feeding_

We’ve moved the feeder, closer to a hawthorn, and it seems that with feeding wild birds, as in retail, the three most important things are position, position and position, there have been upwards of 40 birds visiting  at any one time, the hawthorn shimmers with them. But hard to try and capture in an image, especially when it is snowing, as illustrated here..

many birds in a bush

This afternoon a buzzard was soaring over the field against a blue sky, always a treat, it used to be rare to see to them here: and last week we had several sightings of a raven, much bigger than a rook and being mobbed by them, it was his distinctive call and a check with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust members on social media that confirmed our suspicions.

Saturday’s weather lifted everyone’s spirits  after a week of snow ice and rain: even if the  mood of the day was tempered by the news that after eight days without a telephone connection,  thank you Doris, we now face at least a week, probably more, before can expect to be reconnected, as the repair involves new cabling,  requiring traffic management, cherry pickers and cable drums.


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Sharp

A sharp frost and a foggy morning, and more than a little black ice.  I must be getting to be a grown up, because I chose to travel the road more travelled, not less, where I could be more confident of some salt on the road. I managed to find some pretty things though.

Frosty Taddington_

These burrs look much more attractive on the plant, than they would entangled in Spud the dogs fur.

Frosty Taddington 2

The seed heads of the cow parsley looks poised for the insertion of ice diamonds

Frosty Taddington 3