In recent days there has been a bit of a coup over in the crab apple at the top of the garden. Mama Blackbird has staked her claim to the crop. In fact the other morning I caught her seeing off the male blackbird in a most aggressive manner. No quarter given there then. He went off in a fluster.
Back in early December it was he who was King of the Crab Apples. There had been no frost or snow to soften the fruit, and he was finding the going tough, adopting a fencer’s lunging stroke to slice off shreds of fruity flesh. Once in a while he’d (accidently) end up with a whole mini-apple wedged in his beak, too hard to scrunch in one pincer movement. Next would come a rapid descent to the garden path to sort himself out. Once or twice I thought he was in danger of choking, and wondered what the procedure might be – to unchoke a blackbird. But then he hopped back on the fence and, if birds can cough, he coughed a few times and returned to lunging.
And so now all is clear. There was naturally a very good reason why Mama Blackbird was biding her time, waiting for wintery weather to make easy pickings of the apples .
Apple Sorbet on a stalk. Mine! All mine! says Mama Merle.
Square Up #7
Here are some of the many photos taken in the last few days in my various spheres of activity. First: snow scenes in the Linden Field.
And in and out the garden, over the garden fence:
And up at the allotment and surrounding vistas:
And finally my Happy New Year photo: all the very best to everyone in 2021.
The Changing Seasons: December 2020
By this morning most of yesterday’s snow had washed away in the rain. But then back it came at midday, leaving a layer deep enough for some happy sledging on Windmill Hill and giant snowball rolling in the Linden Field. Wenlock dogs were fizzing with delight and even the grown-up humans were having a good play. Nothing like a snowball fight if you’re well wrapped up. And it was bitterly cold this afternoon even as the trees began to drip and drip.
I had only popped out in the garden to photograph the crab apples, but one thing led to another, and soon I was heading for the Linden Walk, and then across the old railway line towards the Priory ruins. And while I was there I thought I’d carry on and have a wander round the Church Green, and see if I could get a photo of the Prior’s House from over the graveyard wall.
Time passed as I stood to watch the Highland Cattle tuck into their silage. So did lunch-time. He who binds books and lives in my house was very glad when I finally did turn up to make some soup. I made no excuses for absence without explanation. Nor did he expect any. He knows as well as I do: you have to make the most of snow-days. The only thing lacking was a spot of sunshine to brighten up the place. Now as I write this, a frost has set in for the night, and there’s a fat moon shining over the Linden Field.
On Saturday night we had high winds and deluge. Rain pounded the roof-lights for hours. The gale buffeted about the cottage. Today we woke to eerie stillness, the sort that only comes with snow.
This is probably the last shot of the ‘guerrilla garden’ for this year. I’ve been enjoying the silhouettes over the fence, so have yet to raze the dead stems of our unofficial planting along the field edge. Golden Rod, Fountain Grass, Teasels, Michaelmas Daisies and the crab apple tree, and in front, the winter’s light on the ash log sundial that a good chum made us one year as a Christmas present. I’m sorry you can’t see what time it’s telling, though I’d say it’s around noon, the sun in the south. And talking of sun, in the northlands the days are already lengthening. Soon there will be signs of spring in my Shropshire garden. You will be the first to know.
Happy holidays to all who visit me here on the Edge.
And a big, big thank you for the many kind words you have posted here in these strangest of times. Wishing us all better days ahead.
Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Gates and fences
White-tailed bumble bee in nasturtium: a rude perspective?
Square Perspective #17
I have a few sugar snap peas growing in a bucket at the top of the garden by the seat. They have a few willow twigs for support and they seem quite happy surrounded by a profusion of geranium Rozanne. Also as I’m continually walking past them, I can easily spot the pods as soon as they’re ready for picking – usually enough to add to a stir fry or salad. So no glut of curly, tough and past-it pods. And then when these first plants have done their stuff, I have another bucket of later sown sugar snaps coming on beside them.
None of this was planned, but now that I’ve done it, I’m thinking it’s a good way to create small successions of this particular crop. Besides, the pea flowers provide ideal landing platforms for raindrops.
Square Perspective #2
Pop over the Becky’s to see her handsome pusscat perspective.
Six Word Saturday
Pop over to Debbie’s at Travel with Intent
That would be of the hawk-moth variety, Deilephila elpenor. The elephant in the name is not due to its size, though with a wingspan of one and half to two and half inches (45-60mm) it is quite large, but to the appearance of its caterpillar which has a trunk-like protuberance. The caterpillars like to feed on Rosebay Willowherb and bedstraws found in rough grassland, while the moth prefers to sup on the wing, from dusk till dawn, feeding at tubular flowers such as honeysuckle.
Before this particular Elephant hawk-moth was in the garden, it was in the utility room. We found it on the window blind, but decided it would be better off outside with the honeysuckle. It did not react to being moved or having its photo taken. In fact I think it was asleep. A very striking livery though, as moth colour schemes go.
Most of you who come here often will know that over our garden fence beside the field path we have been encouraging a wilderness garden to flourish. Most of it is not on our land, and so we call it ‘the guerrilla garden’, referencing a movement that began some years back and involved certain UK citizens going around, often under the cover of darkness, establishing gardens in derelict and unsightly corners of public spaces.
Our version was aimed at encouraging bio-diversity, mostly of the insect kind. It is wholly unplanned and includes some cultivated herbaceous species i.e. those that had grown too uncontainable in our small garden and had to be set free, the crab apple that had to be moved when the garden steps were being rebuilt, wild flowers sown and invaded, and quite a few weeds. I don’t do much to it beyond a big tidy up in the autumn, though I do have to tackle the fieldside margins now and then to stop the thistles and brambles from taking over.
Anyway, the ensuing floral jungle is a great source of pleasure for six months of the year, and once you start peering over the fence to study it whole hours can pass. So here’s a glimpse of some of what goes on there . I should perhaps warn you before you set off, the photo of the Mullein Moth caterpillar is very much larger than life. Also, who can spot the crab spider in the close-up of the Giant Mullein flowers? And anyone who has more accurate identifications of the ‘?beetles’ and hoverflies (Pete?) please shout up.
Lens-Artists: Detail This week Patti sets the challenge.
For more about the Lens-Artists photo challenge go HERE