Every Little Thing

IMG_6811

Out on the line – an unexpectedly good drying day in February

*

This week at Lens-Artists, Amy asks us to show her things that make us smile. So here are some of the happenstance little-big things that, at various times, have caught my eye or otherwise brightened my day:

IMG_6932sq

A neat little cloud traversing Townsend Meadow

*

IMG_7440re

Finding I’d grown a rather good cauliflower at the allotment

*

100_6855re

Spotted in the garden sage bush

*

IMG_7452

Spring sun-catchers: crab apple flowers…

*

100_7068

…that in autumn become perfect tiny apples

*

IMG_7605

The Linden Walk in full summer leafiness

*

IMG_8321

Lens-Artists: Every Little Thing

Dads And Lads At The Severn Valley Railway

IMG_5518bw

This week Cee wants to see tender moments. Here are some that caught my eye on a couple of visits to Shropshire’s Severn Valley Railway.

They make me wonder too: young dads sharing their passion for steam trains; little lads not quite big enough to be sure. Which is also touching.

IMG_5516sq

IMG_1846 - Copysq

*

And quite another take on the topic…

IMG_5565sq

A case of sore feet and

100_6803sq

a tender behind… (I know, it’s an old joke)

*tender = coal wagon

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Tender Moments

Light And Shadow Over The Garden Fence

100_7393re

Late summer and corn cockle seed heads against a Wenlock Edge sunset.

*

P1070087 re

Townsend Meadow behind the house; the fence surrounding the attenuation pond that protects the town from flash floods. And also our local carrion crow couple being nicely scenic.

*

P1100419

The upstairs garden seat in winter; the ash log sun dial, and the last of the crab apples.

*

p1020253p

Autumn dawn, the guerrilla garden in shadow: Michaelmas daisies and helianthus. Townsend Meadow after the barley harvest, but still golden in the early morning sunshine.

*

P1080211re

An early summer monochrome foxgloves and purple toadflax in the guerrilla garden.

*

P1090190

And an almost-monochrome. Shadow play on a dust sheet hug out to dry on the washing line.

*

Lens-Artists: Light & Shadow  Patti has set the theme this week. Please pay her a visit. She has some stunning photos to show us.

Framed In All Seasons On Windmill Hill

windmill at dusk resized

A Don’t Look Now moment? Who is that small, retreating turquoise person?

*

This week’s Lens-Artists’ challenge is from Tina. She asks us to think about ‘the rule of thirds’ in our photo compositions. Please go and see her very striking photo gallery (link at the end). As for me, I thought I’d feature some of my too many Windmill Hill photos. It’s the place where I go to play with my camera.

orchhid time re

June is orchid time, mostly pyramidal (above) and spotted, and  a small population of tiny bee orchids which are very hard to find (below)

IMG_2618re

*

IMG_2155

The grassland on the Windmill Hill is a rare survival – a traditional limestone meadow: clover red and white, bedstraw, orchids, agrimony, ragwort to name a few of its summer floral inhabitants.

*

P1050182re

A profusion of Lady’s Bedstraw. Its subtle fragrance is delicious.

*

P1050007re1

After the flowers, a host of grass species

*

P1000684re2

A seat in winter

*

P1020259sq

Girls just wanting to miss netball practice

*

100_6660re

Little ponies once used to graze the hill in autumn

*

IMG_0323re

Early spring Cuckoo Pint

*

P1030665

Blizzard!

P1040013re

Lens-Artists: rule of thirds

Wild And Wychy On Windmill Hill

IMG_0318cr

Here in the northern spring lands our eyes are presently filled to bursting with blooming displays of cherry, apple, pear, black thorn and magnolia trees. It’s easy to forget that all trees have their floral season, one way or another. Some tree flowers are so inconspicuously green, are so very small, or flowering at the end of winter when we’re least about, it’s easy to overlook them. This is certainly true of the early spring flowers that preceded this branchy display of green-winged fruits, discovered last week, sprawling over the perimeter fence on Windmill Hill.

Its ID took a bit of tracking down. I’d got it in my head that it was some kind of hornbeam. But it isn’t. It’s a Wych Elm sapling, Ulmus glabra. This, I further discover, is Britain’s only native elm, common throughout the land as tree cover was restored after the Ice Age, but much depleted from round 7,500 years ago, when the first stone age farmers began to systematically clear the woodland for agriculture.

The so-called English Elm Ulmus procera  was only introduced some 3,000 years later by our Bronze Age ancestors. This introduction may well be a reflection both of the utility of water resistant elm wood (for boats, wheels, furniture and coffins) and of its ritual significance. The tree was sacred to many peoples of Northern Europe, and in particular was thought to induce prophetic dreams.

Since the 1960s the English Elm has succumbed drastically to Dutch Elm disease – a fungal infection spread by elm bark beetles. The Wych Elm, to some extent, appears to have resistance, though it too is now a rare find in our English countryside. The decline in both species has meant a decline in the white-letter hairstreak butterfly which breeds in elm tree canopies.

IMG_0320

But if the Wych Elm does manage to escape infection, and finds itself growing in a preferred climate of cool summers with damp air, or on a rocky hillside beside a stream, then it can reach 30 metres (100 feet) in height, while surrounding itself with a sweepingly majestic canopy.

And so what of the Wych Elm on Windmill Hill? Did some human hand plant a young sapling there, or did it grow itself from an off-chance, wind-blown seed? That it is growing entangled with the chain-link fence that surrounds the perimeter of Shadwell Quarry, suggests more happenstance than intention. On the other hand, at some time in the past, the old quarry face has been planted with a wide variety of trees – both deciduous and coniferous species. In the next photo you can see the tree-line (behind the windmill) that marks the quarry perimeter. Beyond it, the ground falls away in an alarming manner, the most recent limestone workings lying way below and filled with a deep, deep pool of turquoise water, locally dubbed ‘the Blue Lagoon’.

Anyway, note to self: remember to collect some seeds when they ripen in the summer. A Wych Elm nursery is a fine prospect.

 IMG_0371cr

Corvedale In Late April

IMG_0389re1

Driving up and out of Wenlock yesterday and suddenly all of Corvedale  stretched before us. And so much of it YELLOW!

And so it seems that despite a wild and windy spring, followed by the last two weeks of dry and chilly weather, the oil seed rape is blooming. Its heady scent filled the car as we headed to The Crown at Munslow for a family lunch. The fields of it were everywhere, filling our sights as we rounded bend after bend on the narrow lane, shocking the vision at every turn. Then to the south, there was Clee Hill, rising serenely above a lemony sea. It made us wonder what Van Gogh might have made of this landscape, or if in fact the crop is having the last word: that there is little more to be said about yellow. IMG_0387re

Today Over The Garden Fence

IMG_0300re

There may be a lingering chilliness on the wind, but in the upstairs garden crab apple tree Evereste  is in full floral finery. I don’t remember seeing her quite so blossom laden.  And she’s already attracting a few bees and sundry bugs, all calling in for their spring pollen fix. So if anyone is thinking of a crab apple tree for their garden, then Evereste  is a real treasure. She’s compact too, for despite the suggestion of gigantism in the name, she only grows about 10 feet (3 metres) tall.

IMG_0366re

IMG_0359

IMG_0356

Wenlock Views Near And Far

P1100118sep

The header photo was taken among the ruins of Wenlock Priory, looking towards the trees and roof tops of the Prior’s Lodgings, now a private house, locally known as The Abbey.

This next shot is my well-trodden path to the allotment, along the southerly edge of Townsend Meadow. That’s an ash tree on the skyline – doing a good Ent impression as our Shropshire ash trees tend to do.

P1020405

100_5026cr

And a nearer view of the ash tree – a sundowner shot complete with rooks flying home to their roost in the Sytche wood.

*

100_6398sep

And finally a rather strange and blurry photo of the Linden Walk, taken when all the pale and papery sepals had fallen off the lime tree flowers in late summer. I think if you squint, you might just spot someone at the top of the path.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: In the distance