My journal and my life

Posts tagged ‘outdoors’

Post #34 Winter Swim

This is where Hayley should have been, but there she was – gone!

Pleasley Woods

Entering woods from a different direction, I’d forgotten that this path led to an open glade, complete with a pond.  Hayley hadn’t forgotten – she’s a labrador water diviner – I’m sure her dad must have been a seal, her mum an otter.  As she suffers with hip dysplasia, I tend to keep her away from water in winter, but by the time I reached her, she’d actually broken through a thin layer of ice & done this:

A pond full of logs

Hayley has a mission, she has to rescue any branch or log drowning in the water & will amuse herself for ages retrieving pieces of wood, even submerging her head completely to reach them as they bob under water.  There was a large log that proved particularly difficult as it’s girth was too big for her jaws & all she ended up doing was spinning it round & round. So frustrating 🙂

Winter pond

After a good roll in the grass, she selects her favourite branch from the newly rescued wood pile & patiently carries it back to the car.  She’s never happy to leave it behind, but if brought home, she’d set to & shred the wood into little pieces with her teeth.

Carrying a favourite stick home

We have a routine once home, I have to sit down with Hayley on my lap for the first half hour of her exhaustion, otherwise, she follows me round & won’t settle.

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Post #24 Feed the Birdie

Blackbirds love cheese 🙂  I had a bird table at my last house, but left it behind when we sold & moved.  Then I lived with my son, his wife, small back yard & a cat or two so it wasn’t really fair to attract birds into the garden.  Since moving here to my own home, a bird table has been on my shopping list.  When the weather turned to ice & snow, I left bird food on the top of a wheelie bin at the bottom of the garden where I could see the birds from my window.  Perhaps not as attractive to look at as a bird table, but at least the birds were fed, & that’s what matters.

How do the birds know where to come for food when it’s not been there before & how do they know it’s edible?  Is it extremely keen vision or do the birds see you pottering about, leaving scraps behind?  No sooner as I’d put a mix of crumbs, cheese & sultanas on the bin & retreated to the house, I was watching a blackbird tuck in.

The following day, the fourth with snow on the ground, a number of hungry seagulls were wheeling around my garden, beady eyes on the food.  However it appeared that there was insufficient room to land on the bin as they soon departed.

Flock of seagulls

At a previous house many years ago I remember watching a sparrow hawk plummet into the hawthorn hedge immediately outside the window.  It quickly grabbed a sparrow & flew off, almost before I realised what had happened!  In the garden of another home, there was a holly tree full of red berries until one winter afternoon a flock of birds descended & loudly stripped it bare in a matter of minutes.  They were bigger than sparrows, but smaller than a thrush & later research revealed them to be redwings, a member of the thrush family.  According to RSPB information, redwings overwinter in the UK, but are rarely seen in gardens, except when snow covers the fields, their usual habitat.  We were privleged to witness their brief arrival & fight to prevent starvation.

Redwing

Blog #5 Tilting at Windmills

Love them or hate them, wind turbines are becoming a feature of modern day life.  I happen to love them & these five are in fields close to my husband’s house where I walk the dogs – look carefully in the foreground & you’ll see black lab Hayley rolling in something disgusting & smelly.

Wind Turbines, Mansfield

When they were first installed (& I was disappointed not to have been there to see the sails lifted into place) I was intrigued how noisy they would be.  However, there’s a busy road running past & no matter how many times I walked by to listen, the sound of passing traffic was prominent.  The best I’ve heard is a low swooshing sound, not at all invasive, so why do so many people object to having these elegant structures built close to their homes?

In the small farming village where I grew up from the age of eight, there’s a big protest with posters & signs in the locals’ windows & gardens at a proposed wind farm.  Too be honest, I can’t see the problem & have been slightly tempted to pop along to meetings & voice my support, but it’s not really anything to do with me.

I think the turbines are much less invasive on the countryside than traditional coal power stations, but with my fascination of industry past & present, I’m also impressed by the massive cooling towers.  Perhaps the problem is pure ignorance & not recognising that modern windmills are far sleeker, quieter & more efficient than the early models.  Not far from my home village, district planners should soon be making a decision about a wind farm proposed to be a Community Interest Company with any profits to be ploughed back into the local community, an anticipated £750,000 per year.   With the loss of industry in this former mining area, high unemployment & government funding cuts to essential services, how can they not approve?  Watch this space.

Blog #1 New Year’s Day Walk

I’d already decided to share a photo per day and briefly blog about it from 1st January, when an email from Michelle Shaeffer dropped into
my inbox – the power of email marketing!  I can’t remember signing up for newsletters, but obviously must have thought they would be
beneficial and the challenge to blog every day for the 31 days of January at www.ultimateblogchallenge.com just fits with my resolution.

Midday on New Year’s day in the East Midlands of England 2013 is typically cold and grey, but at least not raining as it’s seemed to have
done none-stop for weeks.  My black labrador Hayley needs walking so we set off in the direction of a path that’s the least wettest
underfoot, merely muddy rather than soggy.  Everything at this time of year appears to be dead in muted tones of brown, beige and grey,
until I came across this bright yellow lichen.  An ideal picture for my first post!

Yellow lichen on winter branches

Now my husband has treated himself to a fancy SLR digital camera, but other than a dog lead, I’m not fond of carrying anything that won’t fit into my coat pocket so my photos are taken with my iphone.  Compared to the early digital cameras, smart phone’s now have a much better resolution – plenty good enough for my requirements.

Another goal for 2013 and beyond is to stop rushing around so much, to slow down a little, notice and appreciate the little things. So, after admiring the lichen, I slowed my pace, opened my eyes and looked for anything else interesting and found lots as the pictures here demonstrate http://goo.gl/5OyRZ   I must admit that I am fascinated by the texture and colours of bark, and Winter of course, is the best time to admire tree trunks without troublesome leaves getting in the way.

I’m not at all artistic like my friend Lin who’s paintings of trees I love www.linc-art.com but I do often think of how the bark could
possibly be replicated in fabric and embroidery. One day when I’m retired and have more time as another resolution is to set aside some
time to get out my sewing machine and use it.

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading – catch you tomorrow.

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