Friday, 28 October 2016

time forgotten ...

A cool, dry day - no sunshine to speak of. In the afternoon I did a little exploring.  I went on a jaunt to photograph Foxon's Lodge, the abandoned farmhouse, a five minute walk down the road.

The farmhouse lies at the bottom of a valley; the track is steep and lined with ancient apple trees that lean to the south - weathered by the prevailing north wind.

I have found a little history of the place.
Alfred Foxon and his wife Harriet moved here in the 1920's and farmed the land around what was then called Peashill Farm.  Alfred was one of thirteen children and Harriet bore him four girls and four boys.  One of the sons, Reg, and his brother Alf, took over the farm after the second World War and ran it until the 1970's when it was sold.  The land is still used but the farmhouse remains empty and has steadily become derelict.

It is always sad to see, that, which was once a home, fall in to disrepair; the window glass all gone and the roof falling in; the farmyard overgrown with weeds.

I look through the windows and let my imagination take flight:  A home that would have rung with the sound of children's laughter; the clank of milk pails from the dairy; hens clucking and scratching around the yard; the heavy horses that pulled the plough and hay cart; mother at the stove cooking rashers of bacon and eggs fresh from the coop for breakfast - a very different sight from what it is today.
Of course, it was probably nothing like that but occasionally I put on my rosy-tinted spectacles and dream.

 Abandoned Buildings
by Dennis Go
Abandoned buildings
Made to undress
In the wilderness
See forth a cue.
Another requiem
Passes through their walls
Stripped by dust.
Wandering spirits
Roam and clutter
Around echoing voices
Left by souls
Residing somewhere
In structures
Time forgotten
Years and years ago.

Friday, 21 October 2016

golden days ...

After a dull start it turned into a beautiful day.  Worked in the veg garden clearing the beds; weeding the paths and generally tidying up.  At about 4 p.m. the sun goes in and I bring the washing in off the line; still a little damp; the sky starts to cloud over.  I watch the day come to an end ; the birds leave the feeders to find a roost for the night; the garden becomes silent.

Oh what a difference a day makes on this sceptred isle of ours.  Yesterday, doors and windows flung open to a warm autumn day - today, the sky is gloomy and gunmetal grey; the rain pours down in an unending torrent; splashing in bullet-like drops against the window sills, sounding of machine gun fire; fast and repetitive.  Not a bird to be seen in the sky or garden; they are sensibly waiting for the rain to stop; sheltering in the still-leafy trees.  Then an hour or so later the clouds disappear; the sun shone and everything was golden.

A bright, sunny, chilly, windy morning.  Two magpies flew into the garden but didn't stay long; exotic-looking birds, but with a harsh, cackling call like a coven of witches. One for sorrow; two for joy, as they say.
Still bright and breezy in the afternoon so I put on my adventurers hat and went exploring down in the hollows behind our house.  I found the bridge that crosses the stream and went into the thicket of scrub.  It rises quite steeply, with leaning, wind-blown trees and old dry twigs that crackled and snapped as I stepped on them.  Brambles snagged at my coat and whippy growth stung my face as I pushed through.  It felt like a secretive place where foxes would come to eat their kill or shelter from the weather, where pigeons come to roost and rabbits dig deep burrows. I almost felt as if I was trespassing on the wildlife's private domain so I didn't stay long.

Went for a wander round the village; took a few photos of the leaves turning; horses and riders - everywhere had a wonderful autumnal hue; blue, blue skies.

A breezy day perfect for drying the washing outdoors.  Spread horse manure on the veg beds and fresh bark on the paths. All ready now for planting next spring.


Went shopping - a warm day - I wore a light coat but didn't really need it.  Bought some more bulbs, a mixed pack called Woodland Glade; containing fritillaries, chionodoxa, scilla and miniature narcissus ; purchased some half price shallow containers to plant them in.



A soft, hazy start to the morning - the cows seem reluctant to get up and get on with the day. In the afternoon I walked down the road as far as Foxons Lodge, an abandoned farm.  The hills, fields and hedgerows all around were looking splendid.


We have been watching an amazing natural history programme every day this week on BBC One -  EarthFlight - stunning photography - a birds eye view of the world.  Wildlife photographers have my total respect for this amazing series.

Finally,  all the summer containers safely tucked away in the greenhouse for winter - loving the profusion of flowers and colour.

And that's it for another week - where does the time go!
  "It was a beautiful bright autumn day, with air like cider and a sky so blue you could drown in it." ~ Diana Gabaldon, Outlander


Friday, 14 October 2016

the rise of the apple and the fall of the oak ...

Early morning.  We drove down to the lake for a stroll in the autumn sunshine; the air was chilled in the shadows but the sun was bright.  The water level was still very low; we have had hardly any rain for weeks.  On the spit of land a gaggle of Canada geese preening and resting.  The water still and calm.

We walked further along the lane, and there just around the bend, my favourite oak tree; a lopsided old thing with winky-wonky branches.  But all was not well.  The trunk had split and there was a gut-wrenching open wound.

I loved that old tree and always take a photograph of it when we are down there; a kind of tradition.

Now, half the tree lying on the ground - only fit for firewood - such a shame - I felt really sad.

Spent the morning pruning the Amelanchier which had outgrown its space.  My neighbour came round with foxglove self-seeders which I planted beneath it now that there is some room.  I have finally come to the end of the garden restoration project - it is far too tidy for my liking, as if it is minding its manners - but this time next year I know I will be doing it all over again.

Amelanchier at its best in June of this year 
(I won't show you a picture of it after pruning too depressing :()
When I left home to go shopping this morning the fog was really thick; by the time I had driven five miles to town, the sun was out and it was really warm; when I returned home an hour later it was almost as foggy as when I left; how can the weather change over such a small distance.  The garden furniture has been oiled and stored away for winter - a sure sign that summer is over.

As I drove past the hedgerows they were full of colour from the blackberries and bryony berries, draped like Christmas garlands.

Apple picking time.  The Bramley cooking apples were ready.  I picked at the lower level; Dave picked right at the top.  This is the best year I have had with this tree and have had to wait twenty five years or more, since I planted it, for a really good harvest.  There is something about climbing into a tree; hanging on to the scaly trunk and smelling the sweet, green, fragrance of the apples; bringing back happy childhood memories. There is plenty of fruit to see us through the winter and to share with friends and neighbours.  Plenty for pies and crumbles and sauces and for my favourite - Eve's Pudding.


And, so the sun sets on another fruitful week.

Autumn Song - Mary Oliver
In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

Friday, 7 October 2016

My Week in a Nutshell ...

The hazy, cloudless skies of Indian Summer.
Leaves scurrying down the street before the wind.
The cold shiver from an arctic blast.
Indian Summer.
The last warmth of the sun.
Chilly mornings and glorious warm afternoons.
The touch of frost on grass and window pane.
The smell of burning leaves.
Keith C. Heidorn

A beautiful clear, rainwashed morning.  The garden smells fresh and earthy.  A robin is singing and sparrows fly on and off the feeders.  A slight breeze is gently moving the leaves which glisten with drops of rain; a gull glides overhead shining silver as the sunlight flickers off its wings.  Shadows move across the fields; some bare and brown after ploughing; some green with clumpy grass; others bleached almost white.  A perfect day to work outside;  can one be addicted to the outdoors?

My Ode to Autumn

Beneath a tawny canopy
October flicks her skirts of golden hue.
Leaves of amber twist and turn
and touch the ground.
Wisps of smoke
drift skyward
And purple berries
with morning dew.

Woke just before 7 a.m. to a rose-coloured sunrise.  The back fields were swathed in mist; the treetops rising,  ghost-like, hovering in mid air, as shafts of sunlight coloured their leaves russet and gold.

The cherry tomatoes growing outside are still producing and ripening even though we have had a touch of frost - soon I will have to pick all the tomatoes off and pull up the plants.

Another lovely day, although the wind was very strong.  Later, just before bedtime, I went out and looked at the night sky, there was no cloud cover and  the sky was studded with a myriad of stars shining brightly. With our feet firmly on the ground we forget sometimes to look up and see the wonder of the universe.

The second hand bookshop is still selling off hardback books at £1.00 each.  Every week I pick one up.  The one I am reading at the moment is 'Letters from Skye' by Jessica Brockmole. (United by letters. Separated by an ocean. Devastated by war. Through their letters they became the people they wanted to be).

A dull morning.  I woke at 6.30 a.m. it was still dark.  I slipped out of bed and went downstairs to make a pot of tea.  Then returned to bed and read till it got light.  There is a word for people who read in bed -  Librocubicularist, although I couldn't find it in the dictionary!  I buy yellow chrysanthemums because they make the room look cheerful.

And there you have it - my week in a nutshell.