Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The wood in winter.







The beck naturally runs through the lowest points on our farm and one particular place for many years became so boggy that that part of the field became unusable. About thirty years ago the farmer and his father, who also farmed with him, decided to do something about it. We are lucky to have a forestry expert in the village and on his advice they planted a stand of spruce trees and a stand of alders. These are now mature trees and they form the backbone of our little wood, which we call The Plantain.
It is only a small area but it is surprising what you can find there. There are three beautiful trees on one edge - an aspen, a hornbeam and a whitebeam. In amongst the alders there is an oak which was planted when my father-in-law died and several self-seeded sycamores. Last year we tacked a little bit more on the edge. We found two cherry saplings - both from self-seeding. They don't appear to be going to fruit but they are now quite big and have glorious blossom in the Spring, so they went in. We dug up three or four sycamore seedlings and planted those and a few beech seedlings. And, best of all, we grew an apple tree from an apple pip and we have planted that in the new part and last Autumn it had three large red apples which were delicious - we shall never know the variety.
In the far corner, under the spruces, there is a large rabbit warren. It is very dry under there and our dogs and cats know very well that there are rabbits there, so they pay frequent visits. When they arrive, rabbits scatter in all directions, leaping over the water and dashing down the burrows.
In Spring there are celandines and marsh marigolds along the beck's edge, a scattering of foxgloves further in, and large clumps of daffodil, snowdrop, blue, white and pink bells which we have planted. There is always something to look for.
Moorhen and coot nest there, as do mallard ducks and a carrion crow puts his nest in the highest of the alders every year. We try to discourage him as he gets the chicks.
In Winter plenty of pheasants roost there. If we go along the footpath at dusk, however quiet we are we seem to disturb them and they all fly out with a great cacophany - if they sat still we would never know they were there.
In the Spring come with me into the wood looking for the flowers. In the meantime, here are a few photographs of the wood in snow. Where there is fencing the farmer has created a drinking pool in the field for the cattle. When the beck is low he has to go down there in his wellies and dig it out.
We love our little wood and we hope you do too.

24 comments:

jinksy said...

What a magical sounding place you seem to have created there, with all those trees...

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

I have been entirely too busy the past couple days. Visiting my favorite blogs has been difficult, and scattered at best. I'm snatching a few minutes to drop in and see what's happening in your neck of the woods. I am pleasantly surprised to find glorious photos of...woods!

Lovely photos, Weaver. Going for more than one day without visiting is far too long. I have much reading to do to catch up. I enjoy the photos of the dairy ladies (cows). Growing up we always had one cow and one pig that eventually became dinner. It was very difficult for me as a young girl. They were my pets! I wouldn't allow myself to think of them as dinner and refused to eat anything except vegetables or fish. Now I realize it was a way of life.

Leilani Lee said...

I have been threatening to come to England for many years now. Someday I just may and go for walk in the spring and see all the lovely flowers and experience nature in England. Thank for you the comments you leave on my blog. One either likes chocolate a lot, or one doesn't. Just the way it is... I have not been able to keep up with your blog as much as I would like. I have missed reading you..

Reader Wil said...

It sounds all so inviting and lovely! Thanks for sharing your wood. You live in a very beautiful world.You said you wanted to hear the didgeridoo. I made a video together with this post, where you can hear the sound of this instrument.

EB said...

It sounds lovely. Hope the sycamores don't make you regret being so kind to them - they are pushy so-and-so's!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

How lovely to have a wood, with such a history and to keep adding to it!

The photos look beautiful, Weaver. I have always loved this time of year in woods, when there is that sense of waiting and suppressed energy.

Poet in Residence said...

Winter has its compensations like the lovely play of light on the snow in those woods. It's an oasis.

BT said...

Oh I love it too! We have 2 'woods', both very small, but I love them. At the bottom of the orchard is a wooden area which has mostly tall thin aspens, one horse chestnut, several firs and 2 huge buddlea! There is also an oak growing and some Rowan trees. The other wood in off our 'arboretum'. I'll have to blog about them, won't I?

Dominic Rivron said...

I love it. There are two particularly good trees for climbing. You can sit in their top branches, looking out over the canopy, and admire the view.

Coastcard said...

How wonderful to have space in the countryside. I have a wonderful sea view, but not much space around as we are in the city. I grew up in rural Norfolk, and miss the wide skies and fabulous sunsets ... but I adore the sea! Our last house adjoined a small wood, but we had problems with vandalism (& occasional fires). It was a great place for bluebells, woodpeckers, bats and tree creepers, though. We still get bats ... they love the suburban Leylandii! Fine photos: the middle one is pure magic!

Robyn said...

I definitely love your little wood!

Teresa said...

Your wood sounds like a wonderful place of wonder and respite. Do post more photos when the spring flowers pop up!

Bdogs said...

The names of growing things you cite fall like poetry on the ear. Such a richness you have made from your plot of land...and the fine growing qualities of your soil and weather. This is wonderful to read,as ever.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a lovely area it sounds, and looks...

acornmoon said...

What a lot of catching up I have to do!
I will look forward to exploring your little wood when spring comes.

I love your poem below, and also the sheep photo with the farmer feeding the sheep in the field. It's a gem!

clairesgarden said...

its lovely, the first thing I did when I moved here was to plant two trees, sthe rowan is fine but the sycamore is going to be too big for my wee garden, you're lucky to have so much space.

Heather said...

Oh yes, your little wood sounds delightful and very personal to you with all the saplings and your homegrown apple tree. Forest are majestic and awe-inspiring but a little wood is more comfortable. I thought I'd let you know I have just posted my list of Ls on my blog and had great fun making it - thankyou. I could have gone on and on!

Woman in a Window said...

It's perfect. How that fence puckers there and relents to the tree, absolutely wonderful.

The power that we have to grow things...well, you've got me all off track today. I was going to write about something else and now I feel the pull. You inspire me.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Such a wonderful, enchanting place, your sweet little beck and woods. And such a lovely post—so delightfully readable with the bonus of those excellent photos.

Again and again, you capture that sense of time and place with a true countryman's (countrywoman's?) eye. All the telling details, the overall mood of rurality. You are a fine writer.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to you all for the comments - there is no point in writing individual replies as it is obvious you all enjoyed the photographs. I will put more on as and when the flowers arrive - celandines will be first - I can't wait.

Elizabeth said...

Yes, yes, so exactly perfect.
I will bring my wellies....

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BT said...

Weaver, there is one celandine out which I saw today in the boreen (old track). I was thrilled.

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