A Little Bit Of Earth Magic While Out Foraging For Leeks And Parsnips

Well one thing was certain, when I waded through the snow to the allotment yesterday afternoon – no-one else would be daft enough to be there. A hundred or so yards from the house, I almost turned back. The snow was coming in over my wellies, and it truly was hard work tramping through the low drifts. My well trodden path along the field edge was no longer familiar. The world was iced blue-white with only a passing buzzard to break the stillness.


You might wonder what had induced me to go up there at all – with all the garden plots buried under a foot of snow. But I needed parsnips, and I needed leeks, and parsley and Tuscan kale from the polytunnel. And once I was there, I thought I’d better shift some of the snow from the polytunnel roof, since we’d been promised all-day snow on Sunday, which has indeed come to pass.


It took a while to find and extract the parsnips. The soil wasn’t frozen under the snow-blanket, but was very, very sticky – doing a good impression of stuff stuck in quicksand. But mission accomplished, veggie-wise, I noticed a change in the light and started taking photos instead.






As I was heading home, I realised I could hear the whoops and cries of happy sledders. You can just make them out on the hillside north-east of the church tower. But for the power-lines (that intrude on most views of Wenlock) it might be a traditional Victorian winter scene.

Which reminds me. While I’m here, I’d like to thank all the local farmers who have been out on their tractors clearing roads and spreading grit. My entranced-by-snow moments are all very well, but some people need to drive places. Multiple gold stars to the farmers then.

copyright 2017 Tish Farrell

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61 thoughts on “A Little Bit Of Earth Magic While Out Foraging For Leeks And Parsnips

  1. love the photos, Tish, particularly the water droplet. Although I would love to pop in for a White Christmas, it is stories like yours that make me appreciate our winters and Christmas weather….cold, wet, and usually fairly warm. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

  2. Clone out the electricity pylons, convert to mono with a sepia tone, and voila! A Victorian scene of sledders! I am most impressed with your stamina and determination, apropos veggies….

  3. Tish, you would have seen me out there as well, not after veggies, but just enjoying the snow! Oh, how I wish we had some. At any rate, I enjoyed the walk with you and now being inside with a warm drink. While all the photos are lovely, that header photo is the best.


  4. Enjoy looking t the photos.. You are brave to venture out.Just don’t end up in a heap with anything broken.goodness knows that would make for a very long winter.
    ps. wish my hoop had something good inside besides the lemon tree but no.

      1. You’ve got our share. Just as I hit the send button it started to snow. 🙂 Home now and I think I’ll abstain from photos till morning 🙂

      1. Even the campanula was still managing to flower with huge snow bonnet on top of it. Doubt if it’s still doing so this morning. V.V. frosty out there.

  5. Lovely photos Tish, especially the header shot. From what my mum in Northampton has said, it sounds like the snow is pretty widespread. Stay safe and warm and enjoy your garden harvest.

    1. hi – had to chime in su – we also have been bombarded with some snow – all the way over here on east coast of US
      pretty widespread indeed.

  6. gold star to the farmers and all who help clear…
    and how nice – really glad you needed those leeks….
    led to such splendid photos
    the ice ones are my fav

  7. oh you’ve caught blue remembered hills whilst out parsnip hunting – not many allotmenteers pack a camera

  8. Half our world is on fire, hot, drying up, while another quarter is drowning … and WE are getting early — and heavy — snow. I think overall, the snow is the best of the choices. I took a few pictures today. Yours are better.

    The light after a snow is magical. I don’t even know how to describe it, but you captured it beautifully. Your world is perfection in the snow. So is ours and it isn’t the snow’s fault that I’m getting to an age where plowing through it is so very difficult.

    I always take a camera wherever I go because you just don’t know when you’ll see THAT special picture 🙂 Love your hanging ice. Looks like Christmas tree decorations. I am guessing that is what they had in mind when they made the original decorations.

    1. Today all the snow fall of the last 2 days is frozen. It’s like a sculpture park in the garden. But it wouldn’t be so lovely if we didn’t have a nice warm house to live in, and had to flog about the place searching for firewood. The world we live in has become a very strange place in all sorts of ways. Just as the snow changes the landscape so you hardly know it, I somehow feel we’re also losing our moral compass. It’s tempting to think it would be nice to have a clean sheet and start again, and build systems that meet everyone’s actual needs, instead of nation states that serve only to fuel unnecessary wants while their elites run off with all the loot. But yes (before this turns into a rant) that ice crystal hanging on someone’s coat thread – caught on the fence wire who knows when, did make me very happy.

  9. Another wonderful post to feed snow-nostalgia. I can guarantee I won’t be able to feed it here. I’m slowly discovering – it took me long enough – that it’s always worth going out! And you’ve given me the benefits without the hard slogging. That palette of blue and black is superb, and the sledders make me wonder why I didn’t have a go last winter. I’m probably not as breakable as I think!

    1. I popped out into the garden an hour ago, and nearly froze my fingers off taking a few photos. Not had this much coldness in ages. So yes, it’s good to keep warm indoors. You stay warm too, Janet 🙂

    1. My parsley is in the polytunnel so it should be OK. I think it should survive outside too, though I haven’t risked it. Also it keeps growing a bit in the polytunnel which it wouldn’t do outside at this time of year.

  10. Wonderful pictures, Tish! Isn’t it rare to get this much snow…and so early? I enjoy pictures of winter magic even more than I used to, now that I live in the ‘evergreen world’. Thank you!

    1. We’ve not had snow like this for years. For the last few winters we’ve got by with hardly a frost. It’s been like an extended holiday – roads closed, and very reduced traffic in consequence. And so much quietness about the place. Schools closed too and all the kids out sledding. Big hugs to you and Dylan.

      1. Sounds beautiful! I am going to spend the first part of my holidays in Stockholm at my sister’s and saw today that a snow storm was predicted for middle of next week 🙂

      1. Oh, indeed. The older generation in my family used to say the best parsnips needed a frost to bring out their full flavour. The same with swede.

      2. Of all the things our elders tell us, isn’t it funny the things we retain? My great grandmother was said to have made the most excellent parsnip wine.

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