Friday, 5 February 2010

Little things we easily miss.....











My father was a clever man. Unfortunately he was born in the late nineteenth century when, apart from the few rich people in every village, the majority of villagers were poor. At eleven years old he passed what was then called "the scholarship". but his parents were just too poor to be able to afford his school uniform - also they could not afford him to stay at school until he was sixteen - a prerequisite of going to Grammar School. He was never bitter about the situation and he was always one for improving his knowledge throughout his life - he loved poetry and knew many poems off by heart and he loved all natural history - we spent hours together bird watching, looking for nests, spotting wild flowers etc. And - above all he absolutely loved learning - and flaunting - their Latin names. A bit of that has rubbed off on me; I am more likely to know the botanical name for a garden flower than I am to know its colloquial name.
So it will therefore come as no surprise, after reading this paragraph, that Tess and I have been out today spotting Lichenes and Bryophyta!
Yet another grey day here, although relatively warm after the recent cold spell. Tess and I set out on our afternoon walk and I took my camera. When the farmer enquired what I hoped to photograph on such a grey day, I said I was just going to look for anything green - anything at all.
It was easier said than done - everywhere was brown, wet, soggy and dirty. That is until we spotted some bare branches absolutely covered in green - brightest green imaginable. I have no idea whether this is lichenes (lichen) or Bryophyta (moss) but I have no doubt someone reading my blog today will be able to enlighten me. Whichever it is, I am sure you will agree that close up these little plants are exquisite. I suspect they are lichen because although they look so soft and velvety, they are actually rather hard and coarse to the touch. (the same is true of those lovely gambolling lambs one sees in the fields - they look so cuddly but if you get to pick on up you will find they feel a bit like a pan-scraper).
Later on the walk - by this time accompanied by the farm cat - we came through our walled front garden and saw that the moss on top of the wall was really flourishing, and the lichen on the garden wall was leaving large whorls of the most beautiful pale grey.
Well, I photographed them all and I hope you enjoy seeing them - certain proof that all is not dead in this winter season, that as well as all those plants stirring under the soil and popping up little shoots, the lichenes and the bryophyta and playing their part in adding a little colour to February.

30 comments:

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for the virtual tour! Lichen and mosses are very interesting. Yesterday I heard that they grow on the north side of trees. May be you can find out if that's true?
Your post is a great tribute to your father. He must have been a very wise man!

Teresa said...

You always have an eye out for those interesting little things that are so easily passed by without notice... and yet have their own beauty.

Enjoyed the walk!

Cindee said...

Hello Weaver,
Being a "Daddy's Girl", I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I also love the tiny treasures that are more visible in Winter. Thanks for a lovely post.
Cindee

Derrick said...

Well spotted, Weaver! I always like seeing lichen on trees. It grows aplenty in the west coat of Scotland.

Denise Thornton said...

Hi there,
I live in Wisconsin in the U.S., and I can tell you that moss often grows on the north side of trees, but lichen will grow anywhere. Don't try to find your way by lichen, unless you are just wanting to find the way to something beautiful.
I recently posted on my environmental blog about lichen in North America, check it out if you like,
http://digginginthedriftless.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/likin-lichen/

and greetings to all lichen lovers
Denise

Bovey Belle said...

It must be the week for lichens and mosses as John has been writing about them too http://westcountrybirdingandwildlifediary.blogspot.com/2010/01/lichens-of-dawlish-warren.html

We have a lot of them here in Wales as we have quite clear air.

Delila Jemaiel said...

i am so glad that i discovered your blog. i must begin reading it now...
i live in rural Finland, but i am just aching to travel in England and see the beautiful nature in there.

Delila

Heather said...

I love mosses and lichens - thankyou for sharing your finds with us. Our fathers sound rather similar - mine had to leave school at a young age and get a job but still continued to 'educate' himself from books throughout his life and passed on his love of nature to me.

Leenie said...

Thanks for the knee-high view of some wonderful botany. Such items such as moss and lichens are often just tromped on without appreciation for their small detailed beauty.

jeannette stgermain said...

Can tell that you are very proud of your father:) So many very smart people of his generation did not have the chance to study.
Yes, I heard the same of moss and lichen, that they grow on the North side (I'm thinking it's true).

and I love your new header!! Glad you found some things alive in winter.

Cloudia said...

I so enjoy these walks with you, Tess & farm cat...


Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Totalfeckineejit said...

Weaver, you are like The North Star.For those of us lost in the firmament, it's nice to have an anchor, a foothold.

willow said...

Beautiful moss. I love moss. The only color we are going to be seeing this week is white! 24 inches expected and six of it is already down.

Poet in Residence said...

What is this life if full of care
and we have no time to stand and stare...
(W H Davies?)
you tell them Weaver!

CE Webster said...

I loved the article it was very interesting--I even learned a few things. Thanks.

DJ said...

Green...beautiful green...

dinesh chandra said...

good to read the post .

Regards
Dinesh Chandra

ChrisJ said...

Brought back memories of high school botany classes! As I remember moss does grow on the north side of trees, but lichen grows anywhere. The photo on the right of the first two photos is I believe what some call 'pixie cups' but I can't remember if they are lichens or moss.

Elisabeth said...

You are fortunate to have such a father, Weaver, one who helped you despite his own disadvantages, one who could continue to learn and pass on his knowledge.

steven said...

weaver - like you, i learned about learning from my father. he read voraciously and immersed himself in gaining knowledge of almost anything that came his way. being aware of the little things is a gift - you are very fortunate!!! have a lovely day in the dale. steven

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes reader wil, others seem to agree with you that mosses grow on the north side - and I have to say that the ones on the tree were north - but the ones in the walled garden face due south - so I don't really know what to think.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks BB Just popping over to your husband's blog.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Nice to see that several of you had dads who really inspired you. I am sure I got my love of nature and my love of poetry from mine - I think of him every day.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Love the idea of "pixie cups"

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely comments - thanks to you all.

Golden West said...

Isn't it amazing how the smallest growth will persevere ad do its part in the whole bigger scheme of things? I like how Nature can be so wild and random on the one hand and orderly and systematic on the other.

Jenn Jilks said...

I adore the lichen around here. With everything else buried under snow...well, it is pretty!
I love your post about clandestine reads! I did that too! :-)

Stuart said...

Starting from the top we have Tortula muralis (moss), then a grey lichen, then a combination of lichens; the yellow-green one is Xanthoria parietina. The pic on the right appears to be the (purely fungal)fruitbodies of the Xanthoria. (Not Pixie Cups, which are Cladonia sp. lichens, and are not present on your pics.)

Nice to see someone talking a close look at the small stuff.

Stuart

The Weaver of Grass said...

Do read Stuart#s identification comment - thanks so much for that Stuart..

sanjeet said...

Your post is a great tribute to your father. He must have been a very wise man!

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