Uphilldowndale

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


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Storm and tempest.

The weather over the last 24 hours, can leave us in no doubt the Summer is over. High winds and torrential rain have roughed thing up a bit.

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If the leaves can hang to the trees for a little longer I think we might be in for a particularly good display of Autumn colours, thanks to our long hot summer.

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High Summer

Goodness me its warm, I’m a delicate skinned Derbyshire lass, like the landscape around me I tend to get a little frazzled in the heat.

Moorland fires are still burning, on the hills above Manchester, we’ve had grass fires locally, but thankfully they’ve been caught in time.

At this time of the year, just briefly, the sun is high enough to cast its rays through the roof-lights on the north side of the house, the shadows that form surprise me, we’ve been trying to work out how this image, of a palm frond, taken around noon today, on the grey tiles of the hall floor, appears to be a negative image. My heat addled brain didn’t really compute this, until the moment had passed.

Negative Fern.jpgWe shall have to investigate further tomorrow.


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Sweet Scented Shady Lanes

A delightful place to be on a hot day, the deeper the lane the better.

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Whilst many plants suffered during the ‘Beast from the East’ some seem to have had a bit of a boost, rhubarb for example, every one seems to have so much they are making rhubarb gin, or maybe it is that  rhubarb crumble has fallen out of favour.

The honeysuckle is divine this year, especially  first thing in the morning, so sweetly scented.  However, my precious pink rowan, has not a flower on it, and its usually smothered at this time of year, we came home from Ireland, to find small withered stick and buds scattered along the path, presumably what should have bourne this years flowers and berries, oh my how we will miss the berries


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The beast from the east ate my garden

Warm weather has arrived, hooray, its been a long time coming, mind you we have a yellow weather warning for rain, so one mustn’t get too excited.

I’ve been taking stock of the damage done by the winter storms, namely the Beast from the East. There were casualties

Mahonia, euphorbia, viburnum all took a hit.

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Some things seem to have been freeze dried.

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As I’m something of a sentimental gardener, I particularly sad to lose a lavender plant from my mum’s garden, and it touch and go if an Edgeworthia Chrysantha, from my father in laws garden will survive (I do have an heir and a spare so to speak, by way of another plant, potted up in a container, that I took into the barn for safe keeping)

But perhaps the thing that made me go ‘ohhhh noooo’  has been the demise of my Dad’s ‘degging can’ . I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t part of my gardening life. It was precious

Anyone know a tinsmith.

leaky watering can_

 

 


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Seasonal Variations

It all seems a little odd, first we were prisoners to the storm, the beast from the east; we’ve certainly had more depth of snow in the past, but never such a blizzard,  it roared on for 36 hours.

We hunkered down and were grateful for lives both personal and professional that allow for a generous dollop of flexibility, and that no longer involve the great debate of can we get the boys to school in this? Will it be open when we get there? And will it be closing anytime soon? We don’t miss that scenario at all…

Last Sunday the lane was still full to the brim with snow,

Drifts 2018

It was deep enough to dissuade the usual selection of 4×4 adventurers that come out to play when it snows (  and who were busy being helpful to those in need). We were able to get out in the opposite direction, after the top road was ploughed, by one of the farmers who is contracted to clear the roads when the going gets tough.

It was Wednesday before the ‘garden cat’ reappeared from the drift that had engulfed  it a week before

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Then more snow came on Thursday and ambushed it again, at least it covered the filthy snow* and as Clive James  describes it ‘hushed the whole thing up’.

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There was something rather disorientating  about so much snow and ice at this time of year, the light, the birds singing, when they could be heard over the roar of the wind, it just didn’t seem natural.  So many hungry birds.

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Today it has been 11c, in the defrosting pond toads are croaking (Spud the dog, scared them away from a photo opportunity) and amongst the snowdrops

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bees are humming and feasting. Whatever next.

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* this was the first and probably the last time you’ll find me cleaning windows, at –3c, after the blizzard passed, we couldn’t see out!


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Home Improvements

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Now, I know, in the scheme of things (especially for North American readers) the snow and cold we have here in the UK at the moment, isn’t such a big deal, but it is unusual for the whole country to be so snowy and cold at the same time, so forgive us for going on about it, we like to talk about the weather at the best of times. 

There has been a flurry of discusion about ‘bad winters’ past, of 1947 and my fathers adventures (and I came across a tragic bit of local history about  the winter of 1947 the the other day, lives were lost).

Snow 1947

I can even dig a photo out of the shoe box of some serious snow in 1901

Snow 1901

I was around for the winter of 1963, in my fetching knitted snow suit.

Jane snow 1963

But given that we know there was a house on here, as far back as 1606,

Map 1606

which was during the Little Ice Age we can only  try and imagine how tough it must have been to keep warm and fed.

On that time line, our 26 year living here, is but a blip, but with a new roof, (so good not to have scrabble up there to dig out the snow that had blown under the slates) ground source heat pump, double and a dash of triple glazing and a new door that both keeps the snow out and is thicker that a single piece of plywood. Trust me we are very, very grateful for our warm and snug  home.

Spud and his feild-140701


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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

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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

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So nice of the drystone walls to underscore the beautiful view

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Feasting sheep,

Hungry sheep

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

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