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


Hare Today

The snow keeps coming and going, this morning we woke to delicate confection,  a butter cream topping of snow upon a squelchy sponge of a soggy muddy field (I despair of keeping the mud out of the house) the light was  diffused and sort of floury for want of a better word, I rather liked it.

Floury light 3-1

Spud the dog, Jammy and Dodger the kitten-cats  all came with me for my turn around the field, but I’ll save the resulting mayhem for tomorrow.

Floury light 2-1

We’ve more snow forecast for tomorrow, how much remains to be seen.  Here earlier drifts lie under today’s ‘top dressing’.

Floury light -1

I was just about to go back indoors to toast my cold toes when I spotted a brown hare in the next field.

Hare 2-1

I do like hares, but I never get very close. Maybe I need a longer lens…

Hare 3-1

He lolloped over by the sheep, before exiting over the ridge.

Hare -1

Derbyshire Harrier has some lovely shots of mountain hares, over on his Flickr page


Woolly Winter Tales

What I can I tell you, we have snow. Is there any part of the UK that doesn’t have snow? I wonder.

The sheep in the next field seem quite unperturbed

snow covered sheep -1

They are fed daily, which seems to make them happy.

contented sheep -1 

It took a wee while to find a sheep that would look me in the eye, as most had their backs to the wind (and wind chill).

Wind from the east-1

I can vaguely remember a farmer telling me this is how sheep end up stuck in snow drifts, they keep working their way along, keeping the wind behind them, scratting for grass until they run out of field and the snow piles in behind them.

heading out of the wind-1

He also told me in the winter of 1963 that whilst many of his flock perished in snow drifts, some were able to survive by eating their own fleece.

But there are people better qualified to comment of sheep and snow, have a look at herdy’s blog, up in Cumbria.

cold nose sheep-1

We’ve just watched a cracking little programme on BBC2 about the winter of ‘63 (flighty, it is worth watching on iplayer (Winterwatch)


A Fine Winter Coat

I should be carful what I wish for, after the relentless rain, this morning dawned dry and bright, but the light came with a high wind-chill price tag.

I took a trip out to the recycling centre (formerly known as the tip, goodness, I’m a girl that knows how to have a good time!) en-route I paused to admire some fine winter coats.

Highland cow -1

There was a camouflage version

Highland cow winter coat-1

One of the problems of pulling into  field gateways when driving a Land Rover is that, as they are still the farmers vehicle of choice around here, every beast around thinks you bring food*.  I attracted some attention; coming down the hill at speed was the leader of the herd, if it were summer you’d  have described him as gadding.

Highland bull-1

You may notice this photo is not that sharp, sorry, but never mind fiddling with the camera, I wasn’t going to stand the other side of a pile of loosely assembled rocks  with that hurtling towards me, all beef and horns, a steep hill and a muddy field under hoof, I stepped swiftly behind the Landi as he skidded to a halt. 

I don’t think there was any malice in him.  See he is rather sweet (I do want to liberate him from under that fringe though maybe he has to run fast to see where he’s going).

Highland bull 2-1

Then there was the horse, equally well wrapped up.

Horse coat -1

It’s a beautiful spot, but one that gathers the wind, by this time I’d lost, sensation in my fingers, and my hat.

* This has happened before, I once pulled over into a gateway in our old Land Rover  (a Defender 110) to take an important business call. I was immediately surrounded by about thirty heifers all mooing loudly, demanding to be fed. Fortunately the client had a sense of humour and was tolerant of my country ways


The Lightning Tree

I’ve been intending to post photos of the lightning tree since Spring, you may have thought it dead. But it was not.

lightning tree-1

Life forced its way back out into the world

lightning tree 3-1

Clever eh?

I’ve been searching for this poem since Spring,  following a bit of a banter with Gerry,  it was something about trees and seasons, I can’t now remember what. It would have helped if I could have remembered who wrote the poem, it was Roger McGough.

It is National poetry Day, so it seems fitting to have finally got my act together.

Trees Cannot Name the Seasons
Trees cannot name the seasons
Nor flowers tell the time.
But when the sun shines
And they are charged with light,
They take a day-long breath.
What we call "night"
Is their soft exhalation.

And when joints creak yet again
And the dead skin of leaves falls,
Trees don’t complain
Nor mourn the passing of hours.
What we call "winter"
Is simply hibernation.

And as continuation
comes to them as no surprise
They feel no need
To divide and itemize.
Nature has never needed reasons
For flowers to tell the time
Or trees put a name to the seasons.

~by Roger McGough
[This poem can be found in McGough’s
book Melting into the Foreground, 1986]


Spud on Sunday Part LXIXII

Spud the dog has been in high glee today, its a dream come true*

Man and digger has arrived to sort our drains… Oh joy!

digger digger-1

For Spud the dog this means the biggest mole hill to dig in that a dog could wish for.

Spud and the giant mole hills -1

It is going to mean mud everywhere, of that I’m sure.

Spud and the giant mole hills 2-1

Mind you, you may notice sheep in the field at moment, if the pile of top soil distracts Spud from rolling in sheep poo, it’s no bad thing, top soil smell sweeter.

*It’s a dream come true for us too, we’ve been expecting arrival of  man and digger since spring!


Seaside Rock

How quickly our seaside holiday is becoming a distant memory. How quickly the real world piles in to the vacated mind.

How heavy it has rained today! Just as well I have some holiday snaps to look back at.

On the coast path there were some fine lumps of rock (you know I’m fond of them) ancient gate posts, long since disused girded with hand forged iron.

seaside rock -1

The remnants of old walls

seaside rock  1-1

The bizarre weather we’ve had in UK this summer seems at least to have pleased the costal flowers, or just made them flower later than usual. I can’t ever recall  ever seeing quite so many as this year.

seaside rock  4-1

The insect world seemed appreciative

seaside rock  6-1

Just delightful really, *sigh*

seaside rock  5-1