The barley field behind the house is now the colour of fresh-baked buttery shortbread. A bit perverse, then, to display it monochrome. But then I find the abstracting effect intriguing; all the textures.
I am much in love with black and white photography and often use the monochrome setting on my camera. My small Lumix Panasonic ‘point and shoot’ camera used to produce the best results, the current small Canon not so good. The photos here are a mix of original monochrome and converted colour shots featuring various views of Townsend Meadow in different seasons.
Excavating the flood attenuation pond at the top of Townsend Meadow 2017
Bringing in the wheat harvest
Clouds over the Edge
Lens-Artists: black and white Anne at Slow Shutter Speed wants to see black and white this week.
What’s with the barley? Some may say I need to get out more. Others may be quite mystified by my fascination with this summer’s crop in Townsend Meadow behind the house. In my defence I have to say that this particular grain is so very lovely on the stem. Also this is the first year it’s been grown in the field while we have lived here. And then there’s the fact that barley-growing has great heritage: around 10,000 years ago its evolution played a key role in the development of hunter-humans to farmer-humans; the wild grasses (including wheat) of the Middle Eastern plains transforming themselves into useful food crops. This happened (most probably) by some accidental selection wherein some plants for some reason failed to shed their grains as their wild forebears did, and so could be harvested. Then it was discovered (again perhaps by accident) that any of a stored crop not eaten could be saved and sown and produce similarly cooperative plants. It was the beginning of settled living – the creation and management of fields.
These days in the UK, barley is still a common food staple. But most important of all, when malted, it is an essential ingredient in the making of British ale. And until fairly modern times ale was the drink of necessity, even for children, in the absence of clean water supplies. So: now you’ve had the barley-praise. Here are the pictures.
Copyright 2021 Tish Farrell
One single corn poppy amongst the barley in Townsend Meadow, and snug inside a fast-asleep bee. And what cosier spot, dappled late-day sun through gauzy drapes, the gentle swish of barley all around. I wanted to curl up inside there too, and dream whatever it is bees dream. Sad to say my curiosity got the better of me. After I took this shot, I gave the poppy stem a gentle nudge – just to be sure the bee was sleeping not dying – and off it zoomed. So sorry, bee, for spoiling your siesta.
copyright 2021 Tish Farrell
At last! Spring has arrived. Or perhaps I shouldn’t tempt fate by proclaiming it. Anyway, after freezing wind and deluges, here’s the proof of brightness, photo taken two evenings ago. You can see Windmill Hill in the distance. And as for Townsend Meadow and this fluffy looking crop – this year the over-wintered plants that I took for wheat, have recently transformed into barley, their feathery top-knots tall and shimmering in the sunshine. I am in love with the field – the way the light dances over it.
This week Tina asks us to find inspiration in blue and green. Please go and view her (as ever) stunning work.
This week the icy currents have retreated. Instead we have storms. I was at the allotment yesterday when this one crept up on me. I was planting out some pea seedlings, the skies ahead sunshiny blue, and all well with the world, but when I turned round:
Heavens! A swift retreat looked called for. Lately the rain has come in sudden deluges of tropical ferocity, the sort of downpours that leave you soaked no matter how water-proofed you think you are. I’ve been caught out before between allotment and home. For sure it’s only a five minute hike across Townsend Meadow, but it’s amazing how much wetter than wet you can get in that short space.
So home it was, the storm on my heels.
But it was only a tease. Almost home and scarcely a drop, I stopped to take the header photo and watched the storm slip over the Edge.
It came back later though: hail, thunder, downpour. During an early evening lull I went out into the garden. The birds were singing. It was almost warm; the sky looked amazing: so many shades of grey. And then it started to rain again.
Earlier this week it was a case of Musical Starlings on the Townsend Meadow power lines. Here, back in February, the moon was also having a go. Can the moon play a tune? I think it might – if we listen with our inner ear.
I was on my way home from the allotment (Wednesday’s summer’s evening before the big chill reverse) when I spotted the starlings. These once common garden birds are a rare sight nowadays, and this is a newish colony that seems to have established itself at the north end of the town. I know for a fact that they go every day to a chum’s garden for their elevenses and try to eat all the bird food she puts out. Later in the day I see them around the gardens that border the field path to the allotment. On Wednesday they had gathered on the power lines and were singing away, darting from wire to wire, for all the world like moving musical notes. They made me laugh. Next time if they repeat the performance, I’ll try to film them. For now a couple more bright-spark shots of them.
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.