Thursday, 29 December 2011

Windy Days

Blimey! It ain't half been windy lately - not the brussel sprouts sort of windy (although there'll have been plenty of that an' all), that wind that whistles round our lugs sort of windy. Has definitely been blowing the cobwebs away that's for sure.

Christmas day was very mild and windy, unfortunately also wet with it. I shot off in the morning to do the jobs away out bye and had decided I was going to give the cows a rendition of 'We wish you a Merry Christmas', just in case they felt left out you understand. Plans changed and the cows were fed as quickly as possible due to the strength of the wind and the horizontal rain which accompanied it, making it difficult to lift your face up against the driving wetness. Daresay the cows were pleased to get caked in shelter, they would appreciate that more than some nutter singing to them, that bit was probably just for my own satisfaction as I do kinda like Christmas.

Thinking back over December wind seems to come to mind, along with rain, showers, mizzle, snow, rain, frost, wind, rain, more wind.......
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These photos were all taken on the 1st December - it was windy! And this is a sight which I just love, always marvel at. Might just look like a fence to you, but look closer.
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The pig net mesh fence finds it has become naturally woven with grasses
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Here you have the particular grasses which are to blame, known to me as flying bent, due no doubt to the fact that in strong winds it does indeed fly. It more than likely has a fancy name but flying bent will do for me. Coarse hill grass which has died off, the leaves taking on a new life as they adorn anything which comes in their way when the winds do blow. Entwining itself around the wires of a fence it leave intricate patterns on one side
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The other side resembles some sort of shaggy rug as the wind encourages the strands of grass to lie horizontally in the air. I just love the way this grass can transform what ever gets in its way, fences do tend to look the most dramatic but just to get me in the Christmas spirit ....
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The wind had also managed to decorate this self seeded tree, may not have a star or angel on the top but it is well and truly festooned and naturally so at that. A wild beauty. Quite fitting for the month of December.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Boxing Day 2011

The weather on Christmas day was mild and wild. Boxing day was also mild and wild but have to say I can't really remember what the weather was like!

Okay, that's a lie, it was in fact very windy, so windy that I imagined the rounders match would see the ball being blown off course and never managing to reach the bat. There was no need to worry on that front though, all was well, bat and ball connected on many occasions and a great deal of hilarity and competitiveness filled in the afternoon.

After the victorious team had finished their celebrations it was announced that an 'Easter egg' hunt had been laid, I think Christmas sweetie hunt may be more apt, the shops will undoubtedly be selling Easter eggs within the week as it is without encouraging it to come around any quicker. We all duly went off to hunt for hidden sweeties.
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Never fails to amaze me what we see if we open our eyes and look.
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The fungi were quite small but I couldn't help go off at a tangent
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amazing what else can be found clinging to a tree
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however, I found the fungi more fascinating, probably due to the fact that the 'BBQ' prior to the rounders match saw my belly stuffed to the hilt.
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The closer I tried to get to the fungi the more of those peculiar tree inhabitants I found.
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Amazing that this fungi seemed so new and fresh in what is meant to be the deep mid winter, just five days on from the shortest day of the year, hopefully those who were intent on their sweetie hunt didn't notice my peculiar behaviour - I probably just appeared over enthusiastic, climbing trees hunting for what ever may be there
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Fortunately this final shot was on a fallen tree, far easier to access.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Candid Camera?

Let's go back shall we? To an evening in August....

Shep trotted off up the road one evening in August to try and find some grasses with reddish seed heads so I could photograph them for the posting I wrote regarding pink wool. Now normally when I trot off down the road, that is what I do, head down the road, my quest this particular evening took me on a slightly different route and I headed up the road for a change. There's nowt like a change y'know, they do say variety is the spice of life after all!
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Dare say this picture looks pretty innocuous, but look closely. Just in off the bottom left hand corner of the picture there is something on the grass verge.
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I drew closer and was greeted with this sight.

Now there is often cause for high jinks in Tarset, it doesn't always pay to take things at face value and I was feeling a wee bit jittery.

I've got nowt against frogs, don't get me wrong.

Strange tho', don't you think, that there is a bowl full of water with a frog lounging about in it right on the road side........ is that usual behaviour in the countryside?
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I did kinda wander nonchalantly past, beady eyes looking left and right. Was this going to be one of those candid camera moments? Was someone waiting to jump out and exclaim "Gotcha!" just as I bent over to have a bit closer perusal of the situation....... Now then! None one is going to catch me out that easily.

I resumed my wanderings, managing only just to fulfill my quest and find a wee few coloured grasses. As I wandered back past the object I noticed nothing had changed, no one had jumped out, no whirring of cameras, just nothing, a quiet road,little ol' me and a frog in a bowl full of water........... Umm!

I trotted home, asked if the children from the farm were into collecting frogs, making little ponds for frogs or in fact up to anything to do with frogs...... I do believe the farmer thought I had lost my marbles. Upon enquiring why I was so interested I tried to reply in a non commital fashion that I was just curious, as if enquiring about frogs was an every day occurence!

I grabbed the other half and my camera, he was bemused at my jitterings about a frog in a bowl full of water, I was actually beginning to think I was indeed having one of those moments, my marbles were scrambled and my imagination was running hay wire.

We don't have major problems with rubbish in our area. There is rubbish discarded from cars unfortunately but not usually bowls full of water, and right on the edge of the road at that - just all a bit odd really.......

Other half and I trotted back up the road. I guess I've probably played too many pranks in the past on other people and was expecting some sort of pay back, better we were both caught looking sheepish than just myself left with a red face - there's nowt like sharing y'know!

on nearing the spot it soon became apparent that indeed it had not been my imagination, there was indeed a bowl full of water with a frog in it. We both stood and scratched our heads. Was it stuck in there? slippery sides may be preventing it from making an exit. Could it drown? or would a flood wash it out of it's makeshift home?

Regardless, I saw the opportunity for some photos and commenced encouraging little froggy to do some posing for the camera.

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Little chap didn't seem too perturbed at the idea, born to posing he was, or so it seemed.
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Just as I was pondering whether I ought to place some stones into the bowl to give him an opportunity to climb out, or maybe I ought to lift him out and set him free, the little chap gave a great leap and departed his watery little bowl and bounded off in a froggy fashion.

I'm sure I heard him croaking "bloody paparazzi - found my own private pool and I just get hounded! There's no peace in this world"

Friday, 23 December 2011

Fragile World

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The view on Monday morning, the frost was still holding on although the forecast was promising a milder spell.
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The waters edge had taken on a magical quality.
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Water transformed to a 'rock solid' state.
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Three days later and the world was taking on a different look - a more fragile appearance.
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The burn had widened, it's life was changing, tempered by nature.
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A tiny patch of snow, but was it? It had been transformed to ice and now it was changing again, disappearing, fragile in it's very existence.

And so is life, a fragile world, nothing remains constant, forever changing, forever altering.

The spiders in our little cottage are finding themselves homeless, thanks to pre santa busyings. Some are even finding themselves no longer part of this world, nests of eggs are found and disposed of with ner so much of a backward glance. A fragile existence. Lives are turned upside down, whether of the arachnid variety or the human, flora or fauna, ovine or bovine, nothing is ever constant.

As said, a fragile world in many respects, but a special place at that, one to savor and appreciate. A need to live life to the full as who knows whether we'll be the homeless spider, the none existant ice, or the life that never hatched.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Monochrome world

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Aye, that was the sight which dawned on Friday morning, very much monochrome, cold, grey and white.
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There wasn't actually that much snow around, just enough to whiten things and make life difficult.
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Have to say I've been feeling kinda smug, somehow I've managed to miss the colder, snowier, frostier days for heading away out bye. I don't mind working in wintry weather, it's the travelling that is often the drawback, to date I have been fortunate, the odd day of wintry weather Tarset has experienced hasn't been the odd day I have to herd the tups out bye, like I say - lucky!

Until Friday morning that is.
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Now the morning dawned kinda white, not a vast amount of the white stuff it has to be said, just a covering. I had intended to set away at daylight as a necessity to be back down the valley for lunch time could see the morning being a short one, however, the whiteness made me wait a while, hoping it would clear as more traffic hit the roads.

The thought did cross my mind to take our quad, but that was a bit of a wussy idea really, I mean, there was just a whitening, bad job if car and I couldn't manage the gradients we were going to face on our journey.

We trundled off, car and I. Obviously a 'new' car and as such an unknown entity on wintry roads as to date the need to try it out had not arisen. I now know it travels as well as I do on the slippy stuff. In all fairness we trundled along at my well known slow pace and managed to almost reach our destination without too much trouble other than the odd back end slew but momentum was kept up and all was well.

It wasn't until momentum had to come to a halt that all was not well. Just a few hundred yards from our final destination there was a gate required opening. I pulled the car up and walked towards the gate, only to notice from the corner of my eye that said motor was disappearing backwards back down the road. Oh Ho!

The drawback with the road conditions that morning resulted from the weather the previous evening. Rain, frost then snow. The snow wasn't deep enough to prevent tyres cutting through onto the ice so basically the journey had been done on 'white' ice, which resulted in the mishap or not at the gateway.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if only..... if only I'd had sense to fling the gate open before trotting off to retrieve the motor. Laurel and Hardy really didn't seem to have a look in that morning, a black and white silent movie it indeed was. Did I say silent? That's probably an oversight as knowing me there would probably be some cause for an odd swear word or two to pass my lips.

So there I was, just about to open the gate when I noticed the car was disappearing backwards with no one in the driving seat, I trotted off after it, jumped into the empty seat and went to put the handbrake on. Handbrake was already on. I yarked it harder and stepped out of the motor and watched quizzically as it continued in a backwards direction without the wheels going around and again without anyone behind the steering wheel - my car was possessed!!

Next time this ever happens I will open the gate before running after the motor - promise!

Car wouldn't go forwards so we gracefully slid backwards until the soft grass verge halted our journey. I then got out and opened the gate (that was the easiest bit of the whole manouevre!) Car and I were reunited, it still where I left it this time, only I found it seemed to quite like being where I'd left it, going forward wasn't an option and it seemed going backwards wasn't going to be either, a combination of soft verge and icy, snowy road was trying to snooker me - well I'll be damned!

It felt like the longest part of my journey had been that gateway, I had to laugh at the ludicrousness of the whole situation although there was a slight concern of the drains on either side once some sort of movement occurred. It was a slow process, not a steep gradient at all but 'new' car and I were not seeing eye to eye on this one. Eventually I won. We made it to our destination.
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Animals got fed, this Galloway cow just adding to the monochrome morning
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Moss enjoyed his snow bath so at least someone was happy. I felt that I just had time to do the necessaries before turning around and heading back down the valley only to find road conditions had worsened with good old car giving me one or two almost heart stopping moments. We did both arrive at our final destination in one piece however and we never offered to budge again for the rest of the day, and for that matter the car remained stationary for a number of days to follow.

Friday evening saw I and other half heading to the local Town Hall for the Amateur Dramatics Christmas play 'Excalibur', only too grateful to accept a lift off friends so no need to drive again that day. I hadn't been the only one having fun, the other half found himself leading silage over into the Rede and he too had had 'fun' - so pleased the exciting moments were shared! albeit seperately.

The play was well worth seeing, an excellent production. Far better than the roads which were deteriorating rapidly due to slush and ice, even the main routes were covered in black ice.

The following morning saw me heading away out bye with our quad, wussy or not, I really didn't care, car and I were not going to be made a fool of again! We probably arrived at our destination a lot quicker but also a lot colder!
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Not quite such a monochrome day as we had had the day previous, the hard frost ensured some sunshine once the flightering on of snow ceased.
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At least the clarts weren't too bad, and there were some 'pretty' moments.

The day was a cold one, time was running short and not all tasks were completed, again probably my fault for not heading out there as soon as I ought to, more a desire to wait till the frost gave a little, although I doubt very much that it did give at all. The view as I left had a 'warmth' about it which I couldn't feel but could appreciate with the eye.
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There is no doubt that the ground is white and crisp and even. Crisp being the optimum description with -5 and -4 recorded at my back door these past couple of nights, that is all to change if we believe the weather forecasters, mild weather and rain is heading our way, ground will be bottomless but roads safer to travel - there's no winning!