Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Deck the halls..............


Walked round the fields in the snow with Tess this afternoon. There was a biting North West wind; one of those winds that is a constant blow rather than being gusty. There was no need to wonder which direction it came from - all I had to do was to look where the sheep were huddled in the hedgeback shelter. On the moor the snow lay thickly and the sky above looked full of it, and all coming this way.

Tess loves the outdoors whatever the weather and spent the hour chasing rabbits. At one point she jumped over the beck. It was full and black and flowing swiftly but luckily she cleared it and scampered off in her search for more rabbits.

A fortnight ago the hedges were thick with hawthorn berries, the hazels had plenty of hazelnuts and the blackthorn still had its sloes. Now they are all gone. All the leaves are gone too and the trees and hedges are bare and black.

There are no cattle out now but the sheep have the free run of the farm as all the gates are open. This doesn't altogether stop them from breaking out but it is a help when they are free to wander. There is a stillness about the fields and I feel that there may be snow coming.

On the way back Tess and I walked along the holly hedge which borders our vegetable garden and there - in the middle of the hedge - is a holly tree and it is still covered with berries! I photograph it and wonder whether to get the step ladder and collect a few branches and keep them in the shed to decorate up at Christmas. But then I catch sight of a flock of maybe five hundred fieldfares and redwings and I decide that their need is greater than ours, so I leave the berries to their fate. They will make a good meal for the birds tomorrow. My guess is that by the end of the week all the berries will be gone and it will be greenery only for Christmas!

The local huntsman called to say they will be hunting around our area on Saturday. I have very mixed feelings about hunting as I love foxes - but they have hunted these fields for generations and the members of the hunt are well-known to David. He enjoys the sight of the horses and hounds in full flight, so I keep quiet and keep my fingers crossed that all the foxes are well out of the way when they come.

I will try and catch sight of them for my blog if they get this far.

21 comments:

mrsnesbitt said...

Gosh, reading this made my ears feel real cold. I dont know about you but if my ears are cold I find country walks so painful. Fortunately I have my sheepskin hat. As my mother would have said" It doesn't matter what you look like - as long as your ears are warm! " LOL!

Heather said...

I feel guilty for saying how cold it has been for the past few days when I live in the soft South West!How thoughtful of you to leave the holly berries for the birds, but you are right - their need is greater. We have enjoyed visiting Slimbridge for the past 40 years, and first went when we lived in Cheshire and would come to Gloucester to visit my husbands' family. It has changed a great deal since then but of course it has to move with the times. I hope the birds leave you a few berries for your decorations but you could always cheat a tuck a few artificial ones into the greenery.

Dominic Rivron said...

Anyone not aquainted with farming would think leaving all the gates open on the farm for the sheep to wander round would be the last think you'd do. Interesting, that it actually makes life easier.

Crafty Green Poet said...

hope the winter thrushes enjoy the holly berries,

Reader Wil said...

You wrote the story in such a way that I was actually walking with you! It must be absolutely wonderful to live there.

willow said...

Your holly is wonderful!!

Sharon said...

The birds are very lucky to be your neighbors! It all sounds heavenly.

There is a lot of "sport" hunting where we live too, and I often find myself having to swallow hard.....especially with the bears and cougars. Hopefully your huntsmen will enjoy their ride and comradery but find few fox.

Rinkly Rimes said...

A very nostalgic account for a very hot Aussie! (Ex Brit)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Amazing mrs nesbitt how our mother's sayings come back to us as we age!!! My mother used to wear a knitted "pixie hood" (remember those?) when she pegged out the washing. On monday I wore my bobble hat (best not viewed ny anyone else) and had to smile to myself.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Heather for the update on Slimbridge - yes I agree these places have to move with the times.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Makes life much easier Dom.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Nice to hear them called winter thrushes, c.g.p.

The Weaver of Grass said...

It is wonderful reader wil but, as they say "home is where the heart is."

The Weaver of Grass said...

Willow - this particular tree never lets us down - always peppered with berries every year.

The Weaver of Grass said...

My sentiments exactly, sharon. Like the "sport" in inverted commas.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for visiting rinkly - could do with a bit of that Aussie heat here right now.

Teresa said...

Enjoyed your nature account tremendously. A couple of days ago the hubby and I were out for a walk down the road and I was surprised to see a holly tree - with bright red berries! - growing at the edge of the woods. Not something you see around here very often. It was the highlight of our walk!

patteran said...

Fieldfares and redwings - I don't know when I last saw either bird. Or holly with so seasonal a berry on board!

Janice Thomson said...

I agree with you about the foxes. I hate to see anything hunted down. To me they have as much a right to live as we do. Beautiful holly - didn't realize the birds like them so much -for some reason I thought they were super bitter even for birds...

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Thanks for taking us along with you on this most wonderful walk! We enjoyed it so much.

elizabethm said...

Glorious holly picture. We have a big tree on the boundary of our field which is normally covered in berries. Went up there today and there are practically none left.