Uphilldowndale

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


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The Luxury of Lux

The sun shone brightly today, it’s been so grey, I was quite giddy with it.

Tulips on my desk glowed

tulip sunlight

The hazel catkins, as hot as mustard

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Pussy willow, shooting stars against a deep blue sky.

pussy willow star light

The Christmas lights in the kitchen window (I can never bring myself to take down all the lights, until at least late January, I need  a little sparkle on the darkest days) caught the sunlight and were truly solar powered

solar powered fair lights

Then in a magical moment they flashed a rainbow  across the kitchen sink to the north side of the house.

rainbow and the kitchen sink

(These swift  light markers of the changes of the seasons, we call ‘sun on the lintel’ moments).

Hummm, the light  also indicated that a little house work might be in order, cobwebs on the fireplace,cobweb fire place.jpg

but that can wait. I’m off out into the sunshine.

 

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The Berry Report

I was concerned in the heat of the summer that there would be a shortage of berries for the birds this winter, great swathes of the best blackberry banks had withered and died,

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The winberries, had the very life blood sucked out of them by a young oak.

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And of course my beloved pink rowan, had failed to flower, oh how I will miss it this winter, the birds will probably be more adaptive about it than me.

But things have rallied, acorns are abundant, I thought I’d be seeing the jays with their stitching flight, working across the field to their favourite oaks, but I’ve not seen one, I think they have found one tree and scoffed themselves silly, until they are unable to move

The red rowans are heaving with berries, well they were, the chickens have made inroads into them, further than you’d expect of a chicken.

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They seemed to be having training seminars on how to get to the best position,

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I wouldn’t mind but I’d put the wire cloches there to stop them digging up my plants

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The same flourish can not be said of the grass. Farmers are still very short of feed for the winter.

 


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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.

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

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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!