Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

In Search of Spring

Bilbo Baggins and I went in search of Spring yesterday and I have to tell you that in this part of England there wasn't much sign of her. We walked along Old Hay Brook and these alder catkins caught my eye. They are one of the earliest trees to flower and are invariably found alongside streams and rivers. In autumn they produce small cones which are loved by goldfinches, siskins and redpolls.

Over the old stone bridge which I think was originally a pack horse bridge but I've never been able to find out anything about it. There were several water-powered mills in this area so I imagine this route would be used to transport lead ore to the mills for smelting and then on to its final destination - usually the coast to be transported by sea.

Signs of life in the field - docks, creeping buttercup and a plant I feel I should know but can't quite bring to mind - ground ivy perhaps?

Over a style and following a public footpath on the other side of the road we attracted the attention of this rather handsome sheep which came racing over to the fence to inspect us.

Practically nose to nose with Bilbo Baggins who was rivetted to the spot - I didn't dare let go of his lead to take a photo of the two of them as he is a sheep chaser and I have to be very careful where I let him run free.

Not really a sign of Spring as it's rare for the gorse not to have a few flowers open - a nice cheerful sight on a dull day though. I believe the flowers make a lovely wine too.

The path goes up through the fields belonging to this farm, it can be interesting the summer months as there are often cattle grazing here! Cows are incredibly nosy and will nearly always come and check you out - just try standing at the gate of a field full of cows and I'll lay odds that inside five minutes they'll start coming over for a closer look at you.

Almost back on the road and I spotted the first of this year's lesser celandine flowers - soon there will be sheets of these cheerful little flowers all over the place but for now there are just one or two members of the advance party doing a reconnaissance.

Finally can I recommend to those of you who would like to learn more about the countryside and its flowers, trees and wildlife a new blog started by my friend Bovey Belle. It aims to pass on all the old country knowledge to those who are interested in learning it themselves and/or passing it on to children who these days are further and further removed from the countryside and the natural world and have never known the joys of sitting in a flower filled meadow and listening to a lark singing as it soars high into the summer sky.


Val said...

After all our snow, isnt it lovely to see the sun and feel the warmer air. Ive been hunting signs of spring too, saw my first celandine yesterday! And catkins! Hurrah!

solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

oh a lovely post~the stream looks so good~i am one of those people who cannot resist running streams, i love the sound and dipping my hand in to see how cold it runs!

MoominMama said...

I do love the picture of the sheep!
What a fantastic hair style. :)
Many thanks for posting the link to your friends blog, I'm trying to learn more about the flowers, trees etc it's something I've always wanted to be able to do - pass by a tree or flower and know about it!
Many blessings x

Anonymous said...

No, there is not much sign yet of spring Rowan. The plant looks like the leaves of a Field Speedwell (maybe)

hippymummy said...

Thankyou for this lovely post, i almost feel like i was on the walk with you! Our countryside is so beautiful, especially so in the coming months, i smile when i look out of the windows in the morning, it seems greener every day. There isn't any snow on Skiddaw or the surrounding mountains now - i hope we don't get a mad flurry now that i've said that! Lol! I really believe that the slightest hint of spring can make so much difference to us, the daffodils and snowdrops lighten my heart for definate. Thankyou for the heads up to your friends blog, this is something i could really benefit from. Brightest Blessings to you xXx

Thimbleanna said...

That pretty little yellow flower sure looks like a sign of spring to me! We're still below freezing thanks for sharing your pretty pictures (love that farmhouse!)

Gracie said...

Thanks for the stroll in the english countryside! I always love it. This morning here it seemed like the clock was running back, mid-november, foggy, little rainy and cold!
Gracie at

Jenny said...

Lovely pictures- I especially enjoyed the ones of the bridge and farm. I hope you start seeing some signs of spring soon. I can hardly believe it, but it's going to get to almost 90 degrees here in a few days- too warm for me at this time of year!

Ragged Roses said...

I love this post Rowan because it captures so well the excitement and anticipation of Spring. I think one of my favourite seasons, it always seems so optimistic. We tidied our garden this weekend and were amazed at all the signs of new growth, hooray!

PAT said...

I missed this post, Rowan! It's beautiful! I love when you take walks. Always something wonderful to see!

We are watching for signs of spring!

Julie said...

Thanks to the link to the new blog. I will check it out. I love the snowdrops in your new banner. And there's plenty of spring for me in this post, when all I see is white. Yes, love the gorse, the catkins, the sheep, even just landscape with no snow.


lila said...

Wonderful, I love going on these walks with you!!!

Tammie Lee said...

Wow, what a sheep that critter is! It muzzle looks like a lion to me.
Is the plant you could not figure out- a violet?
Thanks for your visit.

bathmate said...
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