Thursday 8 October 2015
Tuesday 6 October 2015
Wednesday 22 July 2015
A few months ago, one of the terriers (who in order to protect the innocent I will call Jack!) found a pheasant sitting on her eggs beside the burn. Unfortunately he chased off the hen and destroyed some of her nest and eggs. I waited an hour to see if the pheasant would return then brought the remaining eggs back to the cottage and put then in the incubator with some Dorking eggs we were hatching. In the fullness of time, the Dorkings hatched along with a day later, two pheasant chicks. After they were all fully feathered they all went out into the ark for a week to get used to all the other poultry before being allowed to run free in the orchard. I fully expected the two pheasants to disappear into the wild at the first opportunity but a month later they are still happily trotting around the orchard and garden with their "siblings" the Dorkings!
Tuesday 21 July 2015
Monday 20 July 2015
As she is home for a week before heading off to New Zealand on a three week placement, we had a little family get together at the cottage. Myself, Hilary, Lauren, Jonny and Rachel, Helen and Hugh; the five Dorking and two pheasant chicks (more another day!) wisely opted to stay in the garden as Lauren has a fear of hens? Just remember that one next time you go to your local Veterinary Surgeon....!! As it was the first time we had seen Lauren since her birthday we baked a cake which Helen, in her own inimitable style, decorated. A pastoral depiction of green fields and a wealth of animals, which Lauren thought was hilarious!
I have to confess that I ate the duck, couldn't help myself.......
Tuesday 26 May 2015
A dandelion beside the burn.
A plantain flower going to seed.
Cuckoo Flower growing in the lawn.
[caption id="attachment_3031" align="alignnone" width="300"] Cardamine pratensis[/caption]
Back to work tomorrow.......
Wednesday 20 May 2015
Tuesday 19 May 2015
Sunday 26 April 2015
Thursday 16 April 2015
Sunday 5 April 2015
We had my Mother for lunch, a bit tough but the young folks seemed to manage with their sharper teeth...!!! A day of curlews and deer in the field and a glorious, dramatic sunset......
[caption id="attachment_2999" align="alignnone" width="300"] Curlew[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_3000" align="alignnone" width="300"] Photo: Hilary Porteus[/caption]
Friday 3 April 2015
Hilary had advice from her little band of helpers.....
So far we have managed to plant about two thirds of the new fruit trees and hopefully the rest, mainly "Heritage" varieties will arrive from Scottish Heritage Fruit Trees in the next few days.
Apart from the constant chatter of the wild birds and the ducks laying again, Spring is also heralded by wild flowers starting to bloom.
[caption id="attachment_2989" align="alignnone" width="711"] Coltsfoot[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2987" align="alignnone" width="715"] Germander Speedwell[/caption]
It could be a good year....... Anyone want a pound of apples?!!
Wednesday 1 April 2015
Such a change to the weather we have had here the last couple of days, back to the winter with cold, wet and sometimes snowy North Westerlies. Brrr......
Monday 16 February 2015
The Egger plant in Hexham on an atmospheric afternoon. If you buy chipboard in this country, chances are that it came from here.
[caption id="attachment_2974" align="alignnone" width="711"] Egger - Hexham[/caption]
Later on the same day, this misty sunset viewed from our kitchen window.
[caption id="attachment_2975" align="alignnone" width="720"] The Shire[/caption]
Tuesday 3 February 2015
[caption id="attachment_2968" align="alignnone" width="739"] Smiddy Shaw Reservoir[/caption]
When we were kids we used to picnic here and paddle in the edge of the water, I don't know about the picnicking but the paddling was banned years ago.
[caption id="attachment_2969" align="alignnone" width="740"] Hishope Reservoir[/caption]
This shot of Hishope Reservoir just a very short distance away shows just how inhospitable these moors can be at this time of year. A third reservoir, Waskerly, is behind me, all but hidden in the gloom.....
Sunday 1 February 2015
Tried a little re-work of this photo from 2011, seems to work...
[caption id="attachment_2965" align="alignnone" width="745"] Northumbria 2011[/caption]
Monday 26 January 2015
Friday 23 January 2015
Hilary and I had a quick shopping trip to Hexham this afternoon, one of us for groceries, and the other for wheelbarrow wheels and boiler valves and and such things that we chaps know little of.
During my wanderings, the sky closed in, becoming more threatening by the minute. I passed the Wentworth Sports Center just as the light cast dramatically across the grey roofline, underneath the even more grey sky.
Thursday 22 January 2015
Before the "bunny huggers" start complaining, I don't actually mind the odd rat around but in numbers they are a real problem, first chewing wires in the loft (nothing concentrates the mind at two in the morning like the sound of a longtail gnawing something vital in the loft!), we sorted him out a few months ago before he got into the house! The last week has been spent trying to control those near the poultry and horses, when you start seeing them in the evening you have a problem. Fortunately the light covering of snow has made it easier to track the "rat-runs" back to the nests and place poison in the most effective places. Hopefully this will bring their numbers down to more reasonable levels. I have noticed that they have been digging underneath the new concrete floor in the field shelter but this morning I discovered that one had, more seriously, chewed it's way though the floor of one of the hen houses. Not acceptable! This meant that the morning was occupied by replacing the floor with new and heavier ply, the hens can now sleep in peace. From our personal point of view, Weil's Disease is carried by rats and we just can't have them running riot over the place. Hands duly and thoroughly washed......
The joys of living in the country........
The morning run up the field with the terriers in the hard frost and bright sun was a pleasure but with most of the top of the field and the meadow by the burn still shaded by the trees at this time of year, cold with few opportunities for photos.
I liked shot of the veining in this bramble leaf.
This afternoon Hilary asked me to take some pictures of a moss she had collected, my favourite shot because of it's graphic, slightly surreal feel is this one.
[caption id="attachment_2955" align="alignnone" width="528"] Tortua muralis[/caption]
Tuesday 20 January 2015
In the little meadow beside the burn, the light was very flat and wintery but seemed OK to try a panoramic shot with the new Lumix. Quite pleased with the result.
Walking back along the burn towards the cottage there is an ox-bow forming, the downstream end of which is partly dammed by this tangled old willow tree. Some of this will need to be pruned back in due course but for the present it is fascinating to look at, with it's tangles of roots and layering branches, the dead of which are sprinkled with various fungi.
I spent most of last Easter Weekend cutting back scrub in the wet meadow below, and on the bankside, adjacent to the new orchard, in this snow it's appearance is transformed once again. More work is needed before the new fruit and nut trees can be planted but not long now.
The caravan that we will be living in when building work starts is just visible, perched in the existing orchard and has a lovely view over the fields towards the Hall. I would have to say that in the gales it does feel somewhat insecure up there, with visions of a sharp nocturnal descent into the burn after some particularly aggressive blast of buffeting.......
Wednesday 14 January 2015
A walk up the field with the terriers and a cold wait while they dug holes looking for moles in the bankside ensured frost nipped finger tips. Fingers quickly thawed out in time to take a few pictures of gloriously coloured bramble leaves in the scrub.
Back in the orchard Pip was not looking too impressed with her first winter.
And Duck was having a damn good look before he committed himself......