Thursday, September 29, 2011

29th September - Michaelmas

On the local news they were discussing the fact that this glorious hot weather has confused many garden shrubs into thinking that spring had arrived again - there were blossoms in amongst the autumn leaves... so down in Triangle Wood, I went to visit the honeysuckle vine that I had followed in great detail in the early summer - see my facebook page!

Sure enough there were fresh honeysuckle flowers, smelling sweetly of June!

In amongst the flowers were ripe, juicy blackberries - usually, of course, the shared thicket produces only one of these treats at a time ... but this year there are some very strange bedfellows to be found!

According to country lore, this is the last day you should pick and eat blackberries - because on Michaelmas night the Devil spits on them and turns them bitter!  So make the most of it - I just have and they were delicious!

Blackberries and ice cream for supper tonight, I think, too!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

28th September - Flying Visit!

Too many chores today to spend long at the wood ... but dropped in on the way around the village delivering the Parish magazines ...

Glorious sunshine and so very warm ... this is a real treat!

Autumn gold!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

27th September - here comes Indian Summer!

This time of  the year is my favourite ... if the weather is good.  And it looks as though we are in for a treat over the next few days ...  Strolling down to the wood today, everything is in shades of gold: golden fields, golden trees, golden sunshine.
Autumn landscape
Even little brown birds are not brown - but GOLD!  I caught a glimpse of a little fellow who usually makes his presence felt in the evening - the nightingale.  They do sing during the day as well, of course, but with the other birdsong all around it is not so easy to pick out those beautiful, silvery tones.  I have a feeling that the next few days are going to be rather magical...


Friday, September 23, 2011

23rd September - dressed to impress!

Its wonderfully colourful at this time of the year!  Down in the wood yesterday I was met by a delightful little nuthatch in his autumnal best - all the muted shades of the season.  He didn't seem at all shy, just scuttling up and down the tree trunk in search of tiny insects in the bark.  I watched him for some time until he moved onto another hunting ground... Christian Dior and Chanel look to your laurels - Mother Nature is on good form!
Cheeky little nuthatch
Down at the base of the tree the "lords and ladies" were not going to be outdone in their finery.  The berries of the cuckoo pint - a type of arum lily - they make a fabulous splash of bright red against the browns and golds of the woodland floor.  But beware, they are VERY poisonous!  I often wonder how the small creatures of the woodland are able to interpret mother nature's messages so easily: sometimes red means "Hey, look at me, I'm red and I'm really good to eat!"  Other times it means "Look at me, I'm red and really dangerous ... don't come near!"  Just more of the mysteries that make the natural world so wonderful!

"Lords and Ladies"

 Sadly, I wont be getting down to the woods for a few days now as I shall be teaching a Masterclass ... I bet there will be a few changes when I get back...  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wet, wet, wet ...

A flash of summer's memory!
Last night it really rained!  Several downpours during the evening and on into the early hours of the morning.  The leaf canopy is still quite fall, so it was maybe not surprising that in some places the ground underfoot had stayed quite dry, whilst in others it was rather soggy!  But this morning the sun is coming out and the moist warmth seems to have woken up some late summer visitors!  Several beautiful red admirals were in the middle reaches of the trees!  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


There is a tale told that the Great Spirit was walking through His creation one autumnal day when he suddenly realised that he had forgotten something ... there were no songbirds!  Looking around to find inspiration he saw the leaves turning colour and falling, taken dancing into the wind.  With a wave of His hand, he turned some of the falling leaves into little birds - and songbirds came into being.  What a lovely tale!  And as I walked through Triangle Wood today, with the leaves beginning to fall, swirling in the wind, it came back to me.  Beech leaves are turning the most wonderful shades of yellow, orange and gold.

Beech leaves and mast (nuts)
The redpoll (below) seems to have all the right colours to match the autumn leaves ... it must surely be one of the first that the Great Spirit thought of when the leaves swirled part His divine ears!  Praise be for the colours of autumn!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Well, today is a real bonus, "they" forecast overcast with showers, but what do we have, sunny and warm!  Walked down to the wood, but all the action was happening on the outskirts... in one corner of the wood there is a little house, with a small "farmyard" containing dogs, chickens and various other voluble residents!

These are REALLY free range chickens... there seem to be as many cockerels as hens (obviously the owner makes no distinction  as to which chicks are allowed to grow up, lovely!) and so each cock has only one or two ladies, which he guards jealously from rivals!  They all strut about in and outside the fence, in the wood, along the lane, in just the way their universal antecedents must have done centuries ago, when they were jungle fowl!

Suddenly I heard a burst of tiny, high pitched "peeping" and there, with their Mum, were 7 tiny chicks, minute balls of fluff, in every colour from white, through cream and brown to black.  The hen bird was busily pecking away with Dad guarding his family!  In autumn, as in spring, nature provides!  It was a magical moment, and so unexpected!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

17th September - Sunshine, showers and ... more sunshine!

Well, it's a few days since I have been down to Triangle Wood, and though I have missed it, of course, it has been going its merry way without missing me!!  More leaves are beginning to fall now, especially as there has been a fair amount of wind, and the canopy overhead is thinning slightly - which, of course, lets a little more light in.  There are more marvellous fungi popping up all over the place, they seem magical because the really do appear overnight!

Some of the leaves still on the blackberry bushes are being eaten, or just deteriorating to leave marvellous skeletal traceries of themselves ... it's another use for the "honeycomb stitch" that I have often used before for dragonfly's wings...

... and some of their colours are amazing.  Maybe it's because it is so breezy, but I can't see many birds or animals today.  Of course, when the wind is rustling the leaves you can't hear them, so it is hard to spot them, too ... but they must be there somewhere!

Monday, September 12, 2011

12th September - Wild and Windy!

"Steady as she goes, Capt'n!!"
Couldn't resist a trip to the Wood, although I am so snowed under ... it's colossal!! the wind is tearing at the treetops and the whole wood sounds like a great sea, tossing in the storm.  In amongst it all, I spotted one little fellow... hanging on for dear life!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

11th September - Still breezy, but warm.

What a treat!!! Walking down to the wood, a beautiful deer leaped across the lane right in front of me!  Well, quite a few yards ahead really, but they are such large animals that it was quite overwhelming.

Beautiful beast ...
  I suppose I should not have too too surprised.  Back in the spring I remember sketching this little fellow quietly awaiting the return of his Mum... may be I have just seen Dad!

 After tomorrow I might not get down to the Wood for a few days, so it's a lovely memory to take away with me, sunshine filtering down through the leaves ...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10th September - Storms Coming?

Yesterday afternoon it suddenly got really warm, way above the usual for this time of year and everything went very still down in the woods - as it they were waiting for something ... now the weather forecast is warning of storms later today and over the rest of the weekend into Monday - the hang-over of the US hurricane, I understand.  At times like this you really can understand the old pagan Anglo Saxon idea that EVERYTHING is joined together by gossamer strands of "wyrd" or destiny ... so the events on the other side of the world eventually have an effect on us.  Of course, these days it can be proved, but back then ... well, they just knew!  Watching the way nature behaved, of course, often gave a clue ...

"Do not disturb..."
Squirrels, like many other animals do not hibernate, but when the weather gets bad they just curl up and try to wait it out while asleep!  Night, night little fellow!

Friday, September 9, 2011

9th September - Cool and Cloudy

Didn't manage to get down to the wood yesterday - but today made the effort to go down quite early in the morning.  There is so much going on just as the day begins ... we tend to think of the dawn chorus as being a spring-time phenomenon, but the birds wake up and start "chatting" all through the year, not quite the same as their springtime singing, but still a wonderful sound, full of life and "laughter"!  The big birds, too, are less shy at that time in the morning.  The beautiful, colourful jay was out and about ...

Noisy fellow - "laughs" like all the the crow family!

Some of the smaller birds were busy too!  The blue tit is one of the least shy of all the tit family ... gregarious with each other, and very patient when the observer tries to get close!  Such amazing colours ... a totally different shade of blue to the jay.  I reminded myself to collect some pine cones and put them on one side for Christmas decorations ... oh no! don't start thinking about Christmas yet!!

Christmas is coming???

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

7th September - Sunny, but Cool!

After a breezy and damp night, the sun was shining first thing this morning - but there are plenty of clouds around, and I think we may get a bit more rain yet!  Have you ever noticed how wet leaves have a wonderful sheen and shimmer?  I was about to have a little grumble about how damp everything was when the sunlight caught the rainwater on the leaves and, it was like a magic lamp had been switched on.  Everything sparkled!

Tiny gnats danced in the sunlight....
So, every cloud really DOES have a silver lining.

The colours were amazing, too...

A little later in the morning the sunshine had even woken up a few late butterflies - the comma has two flights each year, one in the spring and one in the autumn - obviously this is the latter!  The little white "punctuation mark" on the underside of the wing was so bright that I feel sure it was only recently hatched.

Comma butterfly

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

6th September - Blustery!!

Woke up this morning to find the wind really shaking the trees on the village green - and down in the wood the canopy is tossing like a ship under full sail.  The squirrels are hanging on for their lives, like sailors up the rigging!  There are a few toadstools beginning to come up now, and judging by the nibbles around their edges, the mice and other small creatures (insects, too, I suspect) are missing no opportunities to stock up on calories even this early in the season.  Does this mean there will be a hard winter in the offing?

Russula atropurpurea
The purple, dimpled toadstool above is really pretty (though NEVER eat anything you are not sure of!!) but the infamous fly agaric is really beautiful, though also highly poisonous ... it's amazing how nature knows what to avoid.  Little mousie here has found a late grain to nibble!

These spiders seem to be getting everywhere!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

September 5th - Sunshine and Showers

The last couple of days have been a mixture of lovely, sunny interludes and short, sharp showers ... well, that's English weather for you!!  Guess what?  Having told all my students that the project for my next three day class was going to be a hedgehog, and several people hoping that I would see one ... I did!  I think the damp weather has brought out the slugs and snails - plus some juicy worms, as he was rooting about in the leaf mould looking for a snack - and finding a three course meal. 

... I can hardly believe it, but I thought I saw a red squirrel!  There are some in a local pine forest - or so rumour has it - but it would be amazing to think that they have spread to little Triangle Wood.  Still, stranger things have happened.  There are otters in the nearby river, so who knows?  Here's a sketch,and I'll pop up a finished embroidery soon ...

Planting an acorn!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September 3rd - Bright and Breezy!

Today, there really is the first feeling of autumn in the air ... or at least there was first thing this morning - a very slight mist, and even a few leaves falling.  Now a breeze has popped up and the leaves are rattling in it - they sound dry and papery, almost ready to begin falling in earnest.


There's so much fruit in the wood this year!  Maybe because of the warm spring, who knows.  These are sloes - the fruit of the blackthorn bush - much used to create sloe gin!  They are terribly bitter to the taste but the birds still seem to love them.

The birds are enjoying windfall apples, too!  On the village green, blackbirds are trying the fallen apples which are already beginning to ferment!  They get a bit tipsy and can't quite fly straight after a while!

I made a few sketches of the leaves and berries - they are always useful to bring back to the drawing board ready to prepare new embroidery designs.  This is a honeysuckle in fruit ...

The finished embroidery would look like this:

Friday, September 2, 2011

2nd September - The sun is shining!

Well if this is going to be autumn, bring it on ... the sun is filtering through the canopy of the wood leaving everything dappled green and gold.  There's plenty of activity.  The blackberries have attracted more than just MY interest.  Long fronds of bramble are pushing upward toward the light and seem to invite small creatures to clamber or flutter amongst them - as if they are trying to do the Indian Rope Trick!  Two tiny acrobats are the wood mouse and the long tailed tit!

If you like this picture, by the way, it is available as a bookmark from my website ...

Other ropes are dangling DOWN, including wonderful swags of ivy... I'll see if I can find some pictures of those for tomorrow!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

There is always plenty going on ... little characters making themselves at home ... in amongst the wild clematis, often called Travellers' Joy, the bumble bees look as though they are hoping to find some pollen - too late, I'm afraid little guys!

It's the first of September, the day on which I always feel autumn begins, so lets start here and follow the events in the Wood over the next year.  I don't promise an update every day, but I'll try and keep you really up to date so that you feel as if you are watching it all with me.

Welcome to Triangle Wood

Triangle Wood is a magical place.  In a quiet corner of Suffolk, England, it hides away as it has for hundreds of years.  In Triangle Wood time almost stands still... except for the passing of the seasons.  Right now it is autumn and the blackberries are ripening.  Me?  I'm just a visitor ... I'm a textile artist, an embroiderer, and the countryside is my inspiration.  So Triangle Wood has a very special place in my heart...  I hope you will enjoy joining me as I explore its seasons and stories, through the eye of my needle.