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.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A Winter Walk
B Baggins and I went down Shorts Lane and onto Blackamoor this morning, there were grey skies and a cold wind blowing. I saw the farmer ploughing this field in the autumn and now it has a new crop growing - barley I suspect if it's the same as last year.
I don't think the farmer will be very pleased to see these little heaps of soil! Moldy Warp the Mole has been busy by the looks of it. Does anyone else love the Little Grey Rabbit books by Alison Uttley - Moldy Warp is one of the characters from these delightful stories. I have only ever seen one mole and that was a dead one kindly deposited on the back porch by my wonderful old cat Raffles - now long gone across the Rainbow Bridge. It was totally undamaged and must have died of shock I think. It was a lovely little creature with the most beautiful fur. I was very sad about it's death and after I'd told him off Raffles was very sad too! I apologize for the poor quality of the photograph, I tried several times and this is the best of a very bad lot.
These old moss covered dry stone walls give me pleasure every time I walk past them. It's sad that so many of them are poorly maintained these days. Dry stone walling as a country craft is definitely reviving but it's very expensive to employ someone to repair walls. In the old days the farm labourers would have had the skill to do such jobs in the winter months. My dad had this skill along with several others including being able to use a sickle. Judging by the rabbits that came home in his capacious pockets I suspect he had some skill as a poacher too!
B Baggins investigating the various scents in the grass verge, apart from other dogs there are horses,foxes,rabbits and badgers around here. There's a large badger sett close by and in the early summer I'm going to go at dusk without B Baggins and see if I can watch them for a while.
Even in the depths of winter, when everything looks lifeless at first glance, there are signs of life if you look for them, these are fresh young nettle leaves emerging in a sheltered spot protected by a high bank from the icy winds that come whistling down off the moors.
After the snow melt and a couple of nights of heavy rain Blacka Dyke is looking pretty lively, it sounded as though it was having fun as it raced merrily along.
This stone plaque has appeared very recently and will weather nicely into its surroundings I think. Although we have Alderman Graves to thank for giving Blackamoor to the people of Sheffield he hadn't actually owned it for very long. It was bought from the Duke of Rutland in 1927 when the Longshaw Estate was sold.
Thick stems of ivy twisting round the branch of this tree. This doesn't, contrary to common belief, strangle the tree. Ivy has its own root system and simply uses trees for support in the same way that a climbing rose does. I speak with the authority of the Royal Horticultural Society behind me:) Ivy has great value for wildlife. As ground cover in woodland it greatly lessens the effect of frost, enabling birds and woodland creatures to forage in leaf litter during bitter spells. Growing on trees, it provides hiding, roosting, hibernating and nesting places for various animals, birds and insects (including butterflies), especially during the winter months and in areas where there are few other evergreens.
Even in this wintry landscape there is some colour, the reddish brown of the dead bracken fronds adds some warmth to the scene and the green of the moss cheers things up too.
This is where I often cross over Blacka Dyke via the stepping stones and climb up to Lenny Hill, from there you can take several routes depending on how far you want to walk. Today though I stayed on this side of the river and walked further up into the woodland area. No photos though as this is also where my camera instructed me to 'Change Batteries' and I hadn't brought any spares!