Uphilldowndale

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


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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.

Ate my garden_

Some things seem to have been freeze dried.

Ate my garden 2

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

IMG_20180306_184813_434

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’.

Bandit cat-0004

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.

Finch hawthorn-0010

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

bee snowdrops 2-0046

bees are humming and feasting. Whatever next.

bee snowdrops 3-0040

* 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

ShalX 1-1413

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

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.

 Buzzard -1115

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

 

Rook Buzzard -1119

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

Other guests included the beautiful thrush

Thrush-1104

and a timid robin.

Robin -1113

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


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Share Nicely

Spud the dog and Bubble the cat,  settle down for the night.  There is no such thing as an empty box with a cats in the house.

Share nicely

Storm Doris has raged around us today,  I think we’ve  escaped lightly, the barn doors broke free of their bolt, but thankfully the doors and hinges survived without damage. The lane is currently blocked by a fallen tree,  but I suspect that Derbyshire County Council have far more urgent cases than our tiny lane, and we can take an alternative route,  I’m very glad not to have been traveling today, it was a bumpy ride for many.

I wrote this  post last Thursday, the 23rd of February, shortly before our telephone and Internet connection disappeared. It’s now the first of March and I’d really like them back now. Our mobile data is disappearing fast.


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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