Uphilldowndale

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


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Longer Days

Taxal Moor

The days are getting a little longer, the nights a little shorter, lovely.

I do struggle with the dull short days. Goodness knows how I’d fair in a Scandinavian country; I’m guessing that very grumpily,  and whilst stuffing my face with comforting ginger pudding and custard,  that I’d come to a grinding  halt. It’s no wonder Scandinavian countries make such a celebration of mid summer

This photo was sunset last Thursday. Rain on Friday cleared the snow and the weekend has seemed pleasantly mild. The forecasters say the cold weather will be back with vengeance this week  (hopefully not like areas of the USA though)


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More Snow Forecast

It was heading for dusk when I drove over Peep o’ Day today. It remains cold and icy around here, and the forecast is for snow again tonight.

dusk 3

 

Time to tend to the livestock and head indoors, the lights were already going on across the valley.

 

dusk_

 

The delightful name of Peep o’ Day, comes from the name of the farm house at the top of the hill, named I’m told because of it’s small window, that faces due east, and catches the first rays of the morning sun, at peep of day… that’s what my mum told me so it must be true. (You can stay there is you like). Oh and if you do come to stay; do this


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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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Frosted Fizz

A sharp frost overnight gave the great outdoors a bit of a boost this morning.

frost fizz

The garden was lifted from its damp decay.

frosted mahonia_

And the field effervesced

frosted leaf 

The remains of the field maple glowed in the cold.

berry

And a spiders web was frosted filigree

frosted web

Whilst the hedgerow was barbed with ice.

frosted hedgerow-2

 

As a family we’ve come close to hibernation over the last couple of weeks,  I think we all needed it. I’m feeling torn now, between wanting to regain some semblance of routine back to my life, or staying in my cosy little world. Sigh.


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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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