Tag Archives: pictures
On Sunday we put aside all of the work that we have to do around here (gardening, fencing, building the supports for a highway sign – yes, really – and more) and took a nature walk through our woods. It’s easy not to take the time for these things when there is so much to do.
It was raining lightly, which made the colours of things more intense. Youngest son also brought his cap gun along, and enjoyed pretending he was a bandit in the woods. That didn’t stop him from taking a few quiet moments with a dragonfly or appreciating the stillness in the trees. The mosquitoes were out, but not too bad as long as we kept moving.
We spent the best part of our two-week holiday in England based in Eastbourne, at the eastern end of the South Downs Way. The topography of the area is wonderful and the chalk downs of the South Downs Way make for an amazing, windswept landscape.
Because my husband grew up in the area, he knows it intimately, and he had things on his list that he wanted to show us. Dew ponds were on the list, and we spent a lovely time exploring one just outside of Eastbourne near Beachy Head lighthouse.
Dew ponds were first used in England in the fourteenth century I believe, and were intended to provide watering holes for livestock. On the South Downs, in particular, the chalk ground makes it very difficult to collect rain, as the chalk is very porous and absorbs water, and so clay-lined dew ponds were essential for providing a steady source of water for sheep.
Naturally, dew ponds are a great haven for wildlife in general, and create wonderful spots where frogs, dragonflies and other small creatures can exist. Soulsby Farm recently published a post on How to build a rain garden, which ties in extremely nicely with the focus of water conservation and dew ponds. I recommend you go have a read.
I took this shot minutes after the image I posted just the other day. Seriously, it’s just like some giant was pulling strands of cotton candy across a vivid blue sky.
So, this weird temporary spring that almost feels like summer is set to last all week. Until the weekend, when we’re supposed to come crashing down near to zero again. Feeling just a little bit like a yo-yo. In the meantime, everything is a-flowin’ around here.
We have several streams running across our land, this being the main one. For 11 months of the year our makeshift wooden bridges sit a foot above dry or just wet ground; at this time of the year, they are nearly lost in the rush. One more good rainfall and they will be.
Over at the pond, the stream on the other side is almost level with the pond, which is full as full. We’ve got a bit of flooding here which we’ll need to take in hand the next time we get to work on the dam and its adjacent banks. It took a moment on a recent ramble to notice that a huge log was jammed crosswise across the dam.
In fact, the whole approach from the north to our pond is pretty much flooded. This track next to one of our streams has always been squishy in wet weather, but this is the worst I’ve seen it.
Everything is just so brown here at this time of year, even down by the pond. It’s not our best moment, though the smell of things coming back to life is wonderful.
There are occasional flashes of colour to be found, mostly in mosses and lichens, as on this tree in the pond that runs down through our woods.
We chased boats down the stream on Sunday with our youngest; definitely a first for this time of year.
Moving to 28 acres gave us pause when it came to the idea of how we’d communicate with each other when one or more of us was out on the land. Whistles came to mind quickly enough and we have made use of these when we’re all out together and may need to get each other’s attention from a distance.
A whistle just won’t cut it, however, when I need to call everyone in for a meal and they are scattered to the four winds. Enter the old fashioned school bell. My husband dreamed up the idea that we needed one and we found just the specimen we were looking for when doing the rounds at a favourite antiques / junk spot.
I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen and it rings a treat.