Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Good fences make good neighbours.


Tiny green shoots are pushing through the ground under the Scots Pines. Outside the back door the shoots are well up and showing glittering white "eyes". Yes, the snowdrops are coming through - a week to Christmas, five days to the shortest day, but there they are large as life and twice as welcome. With unfailing regularity, every year, they make their appearance just when the days are short and dark. "The dark days before Christmas" my mother used to call this week - and what better time than that to give us due warning that the snowdrops are coming!
Last night the sun had gone to bed well before four o'clock and by five o'clock it was dark. There was a sprinkling of hazy stars. When we get a cold, bright night here in The Dales, the sky is spectacular. The field opposite our house is flooded after Saturday's heavy rain and I was hoping for a bright night last night before the water goes down, because then we can see the reflection of the stars in the water and we get a double dose.
A combination of cold, frosty weather, a Southerly wind and two inches of rain on Saturday has brought down the dry stone wall around my cottage garden in the village. It came down suddenly, leaving a gap and blocking the path.
David took our local dry-stone-waller, Fez, to look at it on Sunday morning, and - hopefully - he is going to rebuild it some time this week. As the poet, Robert Frost, says "Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down."
It happens all the time up here, but luckily there are plenty of skilled wallers around to quickly build it up again.

24 comments:

Leenie said...

I spent a lot of hours gathering rocks off new fields, but there were never enough to make a good fence. We had to keep our cows in place with barbed wire. Not nearly as scenic. Rock wall is a craft not valued like it is in the UK. Too bad.

Elizabeth said...

You write so lyrically about the natural world.First snow as I write -big fat fluffy flakes.

Travis Erwin said...

I love your prose style.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dry stone wallers here are worth their weight in gold Leenie - it is such a valued craft up here. Our has done the wall today and it is looking very smart.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Snow is so pretty when it comes, Elizabeth - but then we can't wait for it to go when it begins to get all dirty.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the commet Travis.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Your snowdrops begin early, Weaver! Ours do not usually emerge until early January.
I so appreciate your writing, and all the thoughtful and uplifting items on your blog. I've put it on my list 'First Class Blogs I like to read' which I've just added onto my blog.

acornmoon said...

I have been absent from blogging so now I am looking forward to catching up.

I love the way snowdrops bring an omen of Spring.

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh I'm going to have to have a look now and see if my snowdrops are coming up!I think Robert Frost makes a good point Weaver :)

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

I can visualize myself there in your yard as I read your post. You have a wonderful gift for writing, Weaver. It is quite warm in Atlanta today...68 degrees with warmer temps to come in the next few days before the cold returns. I wouldn't mind a white Christmas but that isn't likely in my area. Please post a photo of your lovely snowdrops. I've never heard of them.

Sharon said...

Beautiful! I'm glad your wall is mended.

Geri said...

The rock walls are the only way to go. I had not seen them before my husband and I travelled to France and England about ten years ago. America is covered with barbwire, and the rock walls are so much prettier in the fields.

Matron said...

I would love to see some photos of the progress of your dry stone wall being repaired. Would you be able to post some?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comment and the compliment Raph.
Our snowdrops are in quite a sheltered spot I think that ius why they come through early.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Have missed your blogging, acronmoon, glad you are back.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love Robert Frost's poetry Janice - he was a real countryman.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Debra - you will see that there is now a photograph of snowdrops on my blog. They usually come into full bloom about the middle of February but they poke through the ground in December to remind us they are coming soon.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Sharon. Yes the wall was mended and the waller had gone before I had time to photograph him.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Geri - thanks for visiting. I do agree - barbed wire is a menace.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Matron. Unfortunately the waller came, finished walling and went away before I could get round there with a camera. Next time a wall comes down on the farm I will make sure I get there in time.

Dreadnought said...

All our fencing were dry stone walls at the farm so I've put plenty of walls up over the years. The wind, rain and frost was always bad news as far as the walls go. Oh yes, and Masom sheep! Bob.

Heather said...

It's good to know that the ancient craft of dry stone walling is alive and well in some parts of the country. I always feel grateful when I see a properly laid hedge too. In so many places these skills are dying out. I love snowdrops and we have numerous clumps in our garden - they are such a welcome sight each year.

BT said...

Beautiful snowdrops, I love them. If you look at my blog you'll see what was our back lawn. It was full of daffodils, crocus and sowdrops (newly planted). Goodness knows if we'll ever see them again!!

Arija said...

Ilove all the wonderful spring wildflowers but Anemone Hepatica, Snowdrops and those blue, blue Scillas and primroses especially. I once was able to get two little Snowdrop bulbs but they werer the taller Himalayan variety and did not last in this hot climate.We too have stone walls which need constant atention.
Thank you for the snowdrops.