By archmiles, 27-Feb-2014 13:21:00
I popped this wonderful old ash coppice stool on the blog last August, but was up in Broxash Wood yesterday & the lack of foliage on the surrounding trees meant that a better, softer light was getting through to it. It really is a stunner. Getting an indication of the age of such trees is very difficult, but it must be one of the oldest in this wood - 200? 300? Older? Who knows? It remains to be seen how remarkable ash trees such as this will weather the storm of Chalara fraxinea. Some trees that coppice well, such as alder, appear able to fight back from disease after coppicing, but the path for veteran ash trees is unclear at present.
By archmiles, 16-Feb-2014 22:48:00
Picked up a big bag of Seville oranges last week & Jannie got weaving with the marmalade yesterday. Came into the kitchen at teatime and the whole kitchen was suffused with the exotic aroma of those oranges rolling over in the boiling pan. Careful not to catch the bottom. Keep up that steady boil. Continuously check the batch for setting point with dribbles on to cold plates from the fridge. Then inhale deeply as together we ladle it into the waiting jars, quickly screwing down the lids to catch a vacuum.
Came down to make the coffee this morning and the early sunshine made those golden jars of bitter orange glow enticingly. First slice of toast. First twang of the new batch. Why can't commercial marmalade manufacturers make it taste as good as this?
By archmiles, 03-Feb-2014 20:36:00
Today, I will mostly be looking at mud.
Rather taken by these random patterns created when fine mud or silt precipitated down from local fields, highlighted by salts or minerals. Chance has left micro-landscapes forged by the rushing water hitting the tiniest of obstacles causing diversions and forks. Minute pebbles, even grains of sand become ample means to effect such diversions and describe a path. A tiny scratch runs horizontally, across the flow. How has this happened? On much, much closer examination I discover a trackway, a trade route, carved out by some barely visible beings, crossing the arid wasteland. Their mission unknown, I cannot see them, only their passing.
Tonight it is raining and I picture this landscape once again swept by the onrushing floodwaters. I must hope that those travellers reached safe ground before the deluge.
By archmiles, 22-Jan-2014 22:44:00
All around Hill House Farm we've been wading through this winter, up to our knees in mud, watching, with a mixture of smug hilltop satisfaction and genuine pity for those poor souls set adrift from their homes. Will the ground ever be baked dry again? It seems inconceivable. Will spring be drowned in a sea of slime before it can burst into life? Took to Shucknall Hill for a quick ramble with the pups on the way home from Hereford. The sun shone, we were still squelching, but this little golden beacon of springtime, trying its very best, was a truly cheering sight.
By archmiles, 11-Jan-2014 21:31:00
Jannie & I away up to Croft Castle Estate for a walk with the pups on such a glorious day. Just brilliant to be out and about after all these grim, grey, soggy days of late.
Fishpool Valley, as its name would suggest contains a series of damned pools that were once used to stock fish for the nearby Croft Castle. Abandoned long ago, they do have a certain atmosphere of serene dereliction.
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