Uphilldowndale

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


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Thirty days wild. 16th June

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_16

 

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

 

Don’t go losing you head

headless cow_-2

But seek zen calm and contentment

contented cow


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Thirty Days Wild. June 2nd

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_02

 

The best thing that you can do for nature is to make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild…

 

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust I endeavour to bring you a post everyday.

 

Well that was certainly a wild night if not a day wild. A storm did rage.  What a difference a day makes, this morning not a dandelion clock could be found, not one in sight, in four acres.  Where ever the seeds were blown too, at least they would have been well watered.

30DW Clock_

 

Dandelion clocks are a joy

I had planed to show you some of the goings on at the nuthatch box that Tom fixed up for me at Christmas, it seemed to have a nest of blue tits in it, yesterday I could just about see a beak or two, and their was a lot of cheeping;

30DW Bird box_

today it is deserted. Either that or they are having a long lie, after such a wild and disturbing night. I hoping for more shots like this.

Little bird 2

My nest on the other had is full, Tom is home, for a few days, before he goes off on a big adventure.


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Anniversaries

This week is my blogs eighth birthday, fancy that, eight years ehh? A long time in the blogosphere I suppose?

This week also saw the hundredth anniversary of my fathers birth, now that really is a long time ago.

 

As a teenager I remember being amused by a waitress telling Dad he had ‘laughing eyes’, it wasn’t something I saw in him then, but I can see it here…

Dad baby

His mum died of TB when he was seven, he was raised (and indulged, so my Mum said!) By  maiden aunts, post the First World War, there were a lot of Maiden aunts.

 

Blanche Marian Joseph Ford 002

He didn’t like school at all, reading and writing did not come easy for him; but as an adult he could read an engine like a book ( he’s on the back row, eighth from the left)

 

 school 1926

He was one of the first Scouts of a Group that still runs  in the village to this day, his hat was so big they he to pack it with newspaper to stop it falling in his eyes.

 

Dad 1926 scouts

Turning heads as a young man, clock the girl on the far right, on a grand day out.

Dad 1932

And off to war…

 

Joseph Ford, off to war

After service in Burma, in the Royal Engineers, home to love.

Mum Dad

Dad died, eighteen years ago, when Joe was just a few weeks old.


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The Easter Bunny is Dead

Please don’t tell the children. When Mr Uphilldowndale opened the kitchen door yesterday morning, Jammy  the kitten-cat shot past with a baby rabbit in his mouth, he shot through the hall and jumped up on to the widow ledge where he hissed loudly and defensively over his catch. Sadly it was a very dead rabbit; not the sort of Easter gift we were hoping for.

 

Today the sun has shone, a beautiful spring day, there has been a frog fest going on up at the pond, Spud the dog found it very exciting

Spud frogs

Which wasn’t very helpful to me, trying to take frog photos.

I had to make do with them swimming below the surface.

frog 2

The bees were a bit more ‘up front’

 bee tulip

The chickens were a little too keen on eating my beautiful spring flowers

rocky and roxanne_

However, Roxanne the little black hen has surprised us all this week by laying three eggs. The first since she and Rocky moved in last September. Excellent.

eggs


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A Mothers Place is in the Shed

 

I’m the proud owner of my very own girl shed, workshop, studio, call it what you will: once it was a stable, and whilst we never kept a horse in it, we did keep a cow. Then it housed the lawn mower and Mr Uphilldowndale’s tools, and such like: now it has light, heat, hot and cold running water. The walls are smooth plaster over super cuddly insulated plasterboard.  Mr uphilldowndale has sourced a very nifty device which uses surplus electricity from our solar panels to heat it. I’m as snug as a bug in a rug, and very content.

The idea is that it  is my space for anything creative, my sewing machine, fabric and wool, the paints, inks and pencils that I seem to spend more time choosing than using.

I’m not fully settled in yet, but I had to unpack some treasures I’ve had stashed away since we cleared Mums house, a tobacco jar from my Dad’s garage, button boxes and bobbins, sort of a little still life arrangement, cum mothers day shrine, if you will; with some beautiful catkins. 

Mothersday collection

It was soothing to arrange a few things, simply for the pleasure of it, an antidote to the kitchen perhaps? (Heather would understand)

Kitchen Spud and Jammy 

I’m really not sure what I shall do in my new space. But I shall get creative and enjoy myself. (Did anyone watch The Big Painting Challenge on BBC2 tonight? Ouch those judges were savage… probably put more people off trying art than it encouraged. Shame.)


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The Eye of a Hawk

I’ve just finished reading H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, it packs a powerful punch; its language is beautiful,poetic; its observations of nature, life and death, are heart achingly observed.

It may be  of course that it caught my  interest and emotions on two counts,  there is a powerful story of loss bereavement in the book, and I  also had the privilege to meet a glorious goshawk called Mo a few weeks ago.

 

We met at a party, as you do.  She is only young, but look at the power in those talons!

Mo

It was Mr uphilldowndales uncles 90th birthday celebration so Mo was probably  a more appropriate star turn than a children’s magician of a kiss-o-gram.

She stay’s (to use the scots phrase, as I don’t think she could belong to anyone) with Mr UHDD’s cousin.  I got to hold her, which was a treat, she did that gimbal /snake head manoeuvre, where her whole body could be moved, up and down or from side to side on my arm, but her head, or more importantly her eyes, never moved, not a fraction of an inch

Mo 2 

For Christmas I was given a remote video camera, a  Bushnell Trophy Cam (lucky girl ehh?) The website appears to be into a different sort of ‘shoot’ and ‘capture’ than I have in mind, but here, see, have a look at what can be done (when I’ve sussed it out!)


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Lovely Ladies

Happy New Year to you all.

This little video made me smile, it reminded me of a generation of wonderful women who were part of my childhood.  They were kind, skilled and tough, they made Christmas puddings in white bowls with muslin lids, carefully tied up with string. They grew giant rhubarb and strawberries that tasted divine. Their quarry tiled kitchen floors were glossy red and their fireside brasses glowed in the firelight over the hand made rag rug . One especially has a place in my heart, Laura, my mums neighbour when she was first married, she could solve any crisis, knitted clothes for my dolls, baked cakes like these

old fashioned cakes_

and  she read me Winnie- the- Pooh  from beginning to the end, a chapter at a time, every Wednesday night when she came round for a natter and a gossip.

Oh yes, she was very like these ladies.

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