Much like Cee’s current ‘black and white’ challenge, this blog is blowing all hot and cold this week – from Kenya’s tropics in the past two posts to a Shropshire winter in this one. These photos are from LAST winter I hasten to add. And much as I had the most enormous fun out in the snow with my camera, I do not need a repeat performance yet. (Please and thank you in advance, Weather Gods). Anyway, here are some sunshiney snow-scenes from my favourite places around Much Wenlock: Windmill Hill, the old railway line, and the Linden Walk.
March first and the Snow Dragons of Winter were unleashed over Shropshire – huffing and puffing great gusts of iciness over the land. Oddly, there wasn’t a heavy fall, and the flakes were very dry, but they did a lot of travelling. In the night the dragons racketed and roared over the roof and blew all the field snow into heaps behind the house.
This movie of blowing snow was shot from the bedroom window yesterday afternoon. Today we have slushy roads and biting winds. Who let Siberia in?
copyright 2018 Tish Farrell
The continuing freezing temperatures in the Britain made me think of this photo, taken back in December. Now I have cropped and enlarged it, it looks like a Christmas Tree bauble, a piece of intricate glass. I also imagine I see a cloaked figure, a woman I think, fleeing for her life on a galloping horse. Or else it looks like a Victorian woman’s reticule, soft velvet with a drawstring closure. Or perhaps one of Scrooge’s stash of money bags.
How it formed like this, suspended from a coat thread caught on a barbed wire fence up at the allotment, I have no idea. It just goes to show that we do not need to know the hows and whyfors and whats of something to see its wonder. When I found it, I thought the elements had left me a gift.
Copyright 2018 Tish Farrell
It’s snowing again today, but hopefully without conviction: just enough to dust the field behind the house, and coat the roofs of the garden sheds. Otherwise, despite the winteryness, there are more signs of spring everywhere – winter pansies in full fettle in Wenlock gardens, allium leaves pushing up through the soil, buds on the flowering currant, more hellebores emerging, snowdrops and catkins in the hedgerows.
The December snow days were very beautiful, but best remembered now in photos. Some of the following shots were taken in monochrome, and some I’ve converted. The header is a conversion, and it’s only in this format that you can see that the sun is melting the snow from the branches in a mini snowstorm. It isn’t dust on the lens. The photos were taken in and around the Linden Field and I’m posting them in response to Cee’s Thursday black and white challenge: out doors – walks and roads. Follow the link below to join in.
Well, it’s hardly been gardening weather – far too wet; not at all like our good old winters where on fine, cold days you could pile on the gardening togs, balaclava and all, get out your trusty spade and dig the allotment, naturally always standing on a plank as you went so as not to compact the soil.
I actually like digging, though I’m trying to wean myself off the practice (as many of you who come here will know) opting instead for the no-dig approach which relies on raised beds and the annual autumn application of compost. Around 2 inches worth says no-dig guru, Charles Dowding, and only on the surface (he has lots of useful videos on You Tube and grows parsnips and carrots the size of cruise missiles).
The only problem with this approach is you need loads and loads of compost, and despite my having a dozen assorted piles, bins and bays of decomposing garden waste, I never seem to have enough garden-ready stuff at the right time. I also completely forgot about the autumn application as I had left my brain in the olive groves of Kalamata back in October. Drat! However, it did return briefly in December to remember to gather leaves for making leaf mould, and it’s probably not too late to go out and gather more if only it weren’t raining, and Wenlock’s likely byways a sea of slithery Silurian mud.
We also had more snow in January, but not the glistening, Snow-Queeny landscapes of December, but the dank and dreary sort followed by more rain, which soon washed it away. Except that when I went up to the allotment on Monday I was surprised to find heaps of it lurking along the sides of the polytunnels. Oh no! I remembered the old wives’ tale which says that when snow remains we can expect further falls to carry it away. Hmph. A curse on old wives for being so doomy. We’ve done snow. Now we want spring!
But then the odd thing about that is, along with our snow and frost we have also had spring, or at least if the pot marigolds are anything to go by. These are self-seeded annuals that grow hither and thither around my plot, and not even being buried for a week under December’s snow drifts stopped them flowering. When the snow receded they emerged full-on, like floral headlights, though their stems were somewhat misshapen from the burying. As anyone would be.
Anyway, here are some views of the allotment taken on Monday. I’m including some of my compost heaps – not a pretty sight, I know, but they bring joy to this gardener’s heart. Also of my parsnips, which as you will see were exceedingly hard to extract from the mud. They are also nowhere near the size of Charles Dowding’s cruise missiles, nor as perfectly formed. But then as the shed-building man who lives in my house says, who needs parsnips that big? A vaguely existentialist enquiry to which I find there is no answer…
For those who haven’t caught up yet, Su Leslie is now our very excellent host for The Changing Seasons monthly challenge, having taken over from our former very excellent host Max at Cardinal Guzman (btw fantastic ski-ing video at Max’s blog). We have thus shifted across the globe from Norway to New Zealand. Please pop over to Su’s place to see her and other bloggers’ monthly round up from their corners of the world. And please join in. The ‘rules’ are simple.
This sheep was having a lot to say for herself as she crossed the Priory parkland. Not a call of distress, more of a bad-mood grumble. Perhaps she was fed up with the snow covering her grass.
Meanwhile on the far side of the field her fellows seemed to have found something more to their liking.
And now here’s a better view of the old parkland behind Wenlock Priory – once the domain of jolly, hunting monks, and believe me, hunting was among the least of their reputed bad habits.
Thursday’s Special In the first challenge of 2018, Paula is definitely giving our little grey cells a post-Christmas shake-up. Algid was a new word for me. So here it is: cold and chilly. Now please visit Paula for the other options and some very fine photos.
Our week of snow in mid-December was probably the highlight of the month for many of us – more magical than mithering about Christmas shopping or if the larder shelves had enough food on them. So here are more scenes of ice art. Also a big, big thank you to Max for hosting the The Changing Seasons challenge.
When I left the house I only meant to go to the Post Office, this to be in time for card posting to the US. But then just as I was setting off I also picked up my camera. From the start, then, it was likely there would be diversions.
Outside the front door I had a choice – take the five minute direct way along the main road whose pavement was now heaped with dirty snow, or step straight across to Station Road and into Snowland.
…and then next I’d take the field path known locally as the Cutlins, from where, no matter the weather, you always have one of the best views of the town. This is where I stopped to take the header photo.
The path brings you to the perimeter of Wenlock Priory. Once you are down there and through the kissing gate, you can just see the ruins through the trees…
And it was at this point that I really did mean to turn towards town…but then, when I looked beyond the Priory towards the lane that runs through the ancient parkland, it was all too beguiling.
Just a little way then…
I did eventually make it to the Post Office, where I had to wait and wait in line, all of us standing in a lake of melting snow which we had tramped in with us.
Outside again, the town looked very pretty. On the Church Green the trees were scattering their snow like confetti, and the ancestors looked well tucked up in their snow quilts…
And as the sun was still shining I decided to take another path, back up the Cutlins but diverting along the Priory parkland boundary so I would end up on the old railway line below the Linden Walk.
It was totally silent there in the cutting beneath the trees; no ghost of roaring Great Western locomotive, but I could see that things had not been quiet. There were a number of casualties – saplings felled by the weight of snow. It felt like Narnia: those first steps out of C.S. Lewis’s old wardrobe. No sign of Mr. Tumnus though. Better push on before the White Witch whisks up on her slay.
Back on the Linden Field quietness there was broken by distant whoops of joy. On Windmill Hill a family and their dog were busy sledding. It looked like fun, and I was tempted to make yet another diversion. But no. My quick trip to the post had turned into a two hour meander. He who presently binds books instead of building sheds might be wondering where I’d got to. And somehow lunch time had been and gone. How did that happen?
Jo’s Monday Walk Please visit Jo for magic views from her walk around Belém, Lisbon. You will be glad you did.
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