Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1st - more signs of spring!

Well, the rain is back, and with it some new arrivals!
The folk poem goes:

"The Cuckoo comes in April,
He sings his song in May ..."

and sure enough this morning on Mayday, I heard him for the first time this year, his voice echoing across from the wood!  And then, the first swallow I have seen skittered across thge sky... though of course

"One swallow does not a summer make"!

Or, indeed, a spring as the present rate!!!

I've often wondered ... where DID swallows perch before there were telegraph wires?

Monday, April 30, 2012

30th April ... last day of April already!

Well, with the last day of April, the rain has finally stopped, at least for a few hours!  It seems as though everyone is out and about enjoying the warmth of the sunshine .... what is left of the apple blossom is in danger of being nibbled by curious visitors ... who can blame them?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

29th April ... back to the woods - again!

Oh dear, it really has been so wet underfoot, that I am afraid that I have not been to the woods much this last few weeks... ironic, really, as we are officially in a drought!  Ever since THAT was announced it has been pouring with rain!!  Maybe they should have done it earlier!
Anyway, spring, of course, continues to spring whether I am there or not and on the edge of the woods the apple trees are coming into blossom most beautifully!  I do hope that the rain does not wash off all the pollen before the poor bees get a chance to enjoy it - not to mention pollinate the flowers and ensure a good crop of apples in the autumn ...

A few years ago, on the village green - where we also have apple trees - there was a wonderful occurrence one April evening, when a swarm of glow-worms were blown over from the Continent and were attracted to the apple blossom.  It was a strange and beautiful sight, to see tiny blobs of light shimmering in and around the flowers.  Magical!

Friday, April 6, 2012

6th April - Good Friday! In the family way ...

The woods are alive with birdsong and chatter!  Even the pheasants, who rarely raise more than a startled trot are in the mood for love!  The male was displaying fervently to his lady love ...

The female was thinking of the family to come ...

... and making a nest with feathers ...

and I am looking forward to seeing more of theses ...

Cute or what???

Friday, March 30, 2012

29th March - oh, I love the spring!

Every day there is a new treat to be found in the wood, along the river bank and in the fields ... and I see so many of them now that I walk the puppy at least twice a day ... much more of this and I'll be so fit, I'll be dangerous!

Today butterflies began to appear to enjoy the fine spring weather ... I've seen brimstones already, but now the first yellow tips are out and about!  The underside of their wings is as delicate and pretty as the top!  Down by the river, beside the wood, they were dancing in the lambs' tails and catkins by the waterside! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blossom magic ... 24th March, summertime begins!

How often it seems that when we reach those magical dates ... the spring equinox and then the beginning of British Summertime ... the weather lets us down and it feels like winter again!  Not this year!

Over the last few days of warm sunshine and chilly nights, the blossom has come out, the spring flowers are beginning to make a real show and everything is warming up beautifully!  Even the sky is that delicate shade of blue that only seems to appear in early spring.  I suppose it's appropriate that such scenes should be captured most effectively in "seed" stitch ...it's certainly all about growing seeds out there in the garden and the wood!

Seed stitch sunshine!

Monday, March 19, 2012

19th March ... frosty, then warm!

Dawn rose on a frosty spring morning, but soon the sun began to warm up ... and in the most proctected corner of the wood the hawthorn bushes are beginning to come into leaf, and even bud!  Once the coming of spring starts is seems to move with incredible speed, especially with a few days of sunshine to help things along!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Middle of the Month, 17th - back to rain!!

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!
or as we used to say in the playground...
"Rain, rain, go away,
Come back on Mother's washing day..."

... which showed a fine disregard for the hardworking Mums of us all ... sorry to you all, especially as tomorrow is Mothers' Day!  Now, of course, here in the East of England in particular, we need the rain rather desperately ... the hose pipe ban will be in force again this summer!  In Triangle Wood this morning I was reminded of our playtime song when I saw the spiders' webs festooned with tiny droplets of water ... 

... and then again there was "Incy Wincy spider" who "went up the water spout..."  Oh, dear, I think it's having a puppy in the house, I'm cracking up!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

14th March ... periwinkle!

The wood was sparkling this morning!  Like little sunbursts of mauve, the periwinkle flowers have suddenly appeared, studding and starring the woodland floor with their pretty, open faces.  Their leaves are bright green against the leaf little and tiny insects and spiders, birds and animals are exploring the new growth looking for shelter, food and mates!

In ancient times, periwinkle was believed to be a plant which assured safe passage from this world to the next ... unfortunates on the way to the scaffold would be given a circlet of periwinkle by their loved-ones, to see them across the divide, while more pleasantly, village maidens would gather posies of the flower and take them to bed, hoping to get a glimpse of their lovers-to-be via the intercession of the spirit world.

Certainly to see their sweet, spring-like brightness amid the dull dross of the winter's debris is a magical insight into the world of Faerie as the spring begins to take shape ...

Magical - lesser Periwinkle

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7th March ... wet and warm, good growing weather!

How disgraceful, a week since my last entry ... no excuse other than I have been rather too fascinated watching the emergence of spring to do much writing about it!  The hawthorn hedge has the tiny beginnings of buds and the first daffodils and narcissus are in flower.  What a magical time it is ....

The spring flowers are pushing up past the winter's stalwarts!

As soon as the sun comes out, there are early bumble bees looking for a first taste of nectar and pollen to fortify themselves for the establishment of new nests ... the really HUGE ones are young queens.  I found one lady busily looking for a home at the base of a fence pole.  When she finds the right hole,she will make it her own and start a small colony - no more than 60 - 90 workers for her year's sovereignty...

Welcome, Your Majesty!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

1st March ... lovely day!

Well, I always feel that spring has arrived with March even if the weather is not good ... but today it is glorious!  Having a new puppy means that you wake up early ... and it was really interesting to watch the mist, first of all rising from the river, then falling back and then rising again as the sun began to draw it up.  Finally it dispersed as the sun warmed it through and burned it off ... I don't think I have ever watched that sequence before.

OK... so it's the wrong time of the year... but it sums up the river!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday 26th February ... and it is (sunny!)

In the garden there are one or two early primulas coming into flower, pink and orange, so I went on a quest to see if there were any wild primroses showing yet in the wood ...

The fresh green leaves of the primrose plants are vibrant in the leaf little, and there are some tiny buds still coiled tightly into little packages, just waiting for a bit more sunshine, before they burst open.  How exciting.  It wont be too long before they look like this ... then we really will feel spring is on the way, but judging by the dawn chorus this morning, the birds have no doubt that it is!

Primrose wine was once a heady favourite at Mayday celebrations ...
but I have always wondered if it was drunk so early simply because they could not bear to leave it any longer!

Friday, February 24, 2012

24th February - warm and sunny!

Even at this time of the year, walking through the woods, it's hard not to WANT to see flowers!  Of course, there are not many about at this season, but if you know where to look there are always some.  The nettle family - much despised because of its stinging members - can usually provide a bloom at any time of the year, so maybe they should not get such a bad press!

The dead nettle sounds as though it should be a dull, morose sort of a plant ... but its rich mossy leaves and deep purple flowers are a joy, especially when the late winter sun catches them - and you - unaware ....
"When the deep purple falls,
Over sleepy garden walls,
And the sun begins to linger in the sky ...."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

23rd February .... now it's the warmest day!

Those of you who follow me on facebook will know that I have not had time "to go down to the woods today" for quite a few days ... I have a new puppy!  Of course, when he is older it will be another REASON (if one was needed) to do so, but at the moment, puppy sitting is rather the order of the day, though he is allowed in the garden!

Still, I sneaked away for a while this morning... the woods are looking lovely and changing by the day.  Today the temperature is around 16 degrees - the warmest so far this year. Crazy: two weeks ago it was almost that many degrees below freezing!  That's English weather for you!

The catkins and lamb's tails are looking so sweet - no pollen quite yet, though ... although a hopeful brimstone butterfly was looking for some.  Pollen from early "flowers" like this are essential to many insects in their first flights of the year.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

11th February ... the coldest of the year!!

Well, apparently last night the temperature went down to almost 18 degrees below ... not too impressive if you are in Russia or Alaska, but pretty low here!!  The milk in the bottles on the doorstep was frozen!  The sun is beautiful, though, and everything sparkles!

The grasses are crisp with frost ... they snap off if you touch them...

... but the sun has melted the snow from the branches of trees and shrubs, and they are stark grey and black against the white background.

How long will the cold snap last, I wonder?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

7th February - snow beneath the trees!

Woodland Aristocracy!

After the weekend's snow, the woodland floor is patchy with ice and crystallized snowflakes ... in places, where the sun has made its way through the canopy it has already melted - and suddenly there is a little flash of "living" snow: a stoat in ermine, it's white coat shimmering in the winter sunlight.  Magical!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2nd February - Groundhog day!

Well, there was no chance of meeting a groundhog in Triangle Wood, but if there had been one about, he would have made a bolt for his home, as there were shadows aplenty around!  It's a lovely, sunny morning, though bitterly cold!  There didn't seem to be much life around at all except birds, everything must be snuggled up warm waiting out the last of the winter!  But one joyful sight: a few tiny violets popping their pretty little heads above the parapet of the frost!!

Truthfully, not quite as open as these - but still an inspiration on such a cold morning!

And for those of you who would like to see Groundhog this cold, February morning, here you are anyway:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

1st February - cold and bright!

OK, I confess, I have not made it down to the wood for several days.  I cannot really blame the weather, although it has been unpleasant, but I shall make up for it today... I was determined to find more than just the odd hellebore in flowers, to I really looked closely in the little dells and dips of the woodland floor, and there I found tiny gems hidden away ... the first were like little stars of white light against the leaf litter - chickweed.

Chickweed, as it's name suggests, was one of the herbs used to add variety to hens' food at the end of winter - and the chickens int he wood were making the most of the green shoots.  Then, I saw little sapphires, too!  Tiny speedwell flowers rioting in and out of the early grasses.  And all this while there was still heavy frost on the ground.

 The magic of nature is at work in this shortest, sometimes most dismal, month of the year!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

25th January ... signs of new life.

After a few days of really miserable weather - cold, wet and dull - the wood looked brighter this morning ... and the hazel coppices were dancing with little lambs' tails!  Still yellowy-green, it is too early for the pollen to be showing, although there was one hungry bumble bee who had awoken early and looked as though he needed something more than was on offer from the travellers' joy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

22nd January ... this wind wasn't forecast!

Woke up this morning to hear a high wind howling around the eaves of the cottage.  I am sure "they" didn't tell us this was on the way!!!  Down at the wood the tree tops are tossing and the knotted tangles of last year's honeysuckle swaying crazily ... it makes you feel a little seasick!

... But, it's Sunday so home for a good lunch, feet up in front of the fire and some stitching this afternoon!!

There's no place like home ...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

19th January ... after the rain, the sun.

Well, it certainly rained last night, and this morning the leaf litter is soggy and squelchy underfoot.  But now the sun is coming out and is surprisingly warm ... there are tiny snowdrops pushing up through the brown litter and even a few crocuses - though goodness knows how they have found their way into the wood.

I noticed that there were a few early crocuses in my garden, too!  I think the very mild weather so far this year has fooled them into believing we may have an early spring ... the recent cold snap must have been a bit of a shock!  Strangely, there do not seem to be any leaves, just the sweetly mauve flowers!

In the wood they had better watch out or the squirrels will make a early breakfast of them!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

17th January - the sun melts the frost!

As I walked through the wood today I could not help thinking about the summer to come ... I shall be having an exhibition in July and already my thoughts are on subject matter.  Roses will be playing a big part and I was amazed to see that even now, in some protected corners, there are a few rose hips to be found.  They wont last long if the current frosty weather continues, but the warmth of the sun this morning has melted the icy surfaces and the ruddy red fruit is showing through ... tempting the hungry birds, no doubt!

Friday, January 13, 2012

13th January - Friday - lucky for some!!

Last night we had a sharp frost ... one of the few this year so far!  This morning the sun came up red and orange and bright over the dark line of the woodland's horizon.  Everything sparkled!  There was some REAL birdsong, too, not just the sleepy twitters of a winter morning and the squabbling of hungry rivals, but some true, melodic warbles.  How lovely!!  The tiny Jenny wren was making herself known, too: such a loud voice for such a little lady!

Spring, must surely be not too far away on the morning like this ...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

11th January - footsteps in the leaves ...

Well, I am afraid it's been a week or more since I have been down to the wood ... as some of you will know from my facebok page, I have suffered a loss ... my beautiful cat, scourge of small wildlife beasties has passed away... and life is the poorer for it.

Today the woodland is quiet, with a breeze tossing the tops of the trees and hardly stirring the leaf mould underfoot.  Like everywhere else, I feel the lack of that little presence I had come to rely upon for company and diversion in so many ways.  But life goes on and there are ALREADY stirrings of new life and (dare I say it) spring in the woodland plants and shrubs.  Tiny, tiny budlets are appearing in the crevices of twigs and branches - hardly green and yet tantalizingly gold, yellow and pink.

As if to prove that all ill fortune finds a positive somewhere, the rabbits are out in force.  Raggy's rabbit hunting skills in the village were legendary and I can only misquote an epitaph given by the poet Robert Bloomfield to a favourite dog ... "Rabbits rejoice, here buried lies your foe".  RIP.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

3rd January - technology defeated! Woodland life continues ...

I am pleased to say that the hiccough with the blog has been overcome... I know now not to ask too much of it!  Meantime, down in the woods, of course, everything jogs along in the same old way!

"Hey, where did my home go?"
 It has been a really windy night, there's lots of fallen branches and some very disgruntled residents ...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Still trying to sign in...

Experimenting with technology ... which doesn't seem to want to work ... here's hoping...

Yay... and summer will come!

Tales from Triangle Wood: 2nd January ... a party!

Tales from Triangle Wood: 2nd January ... a party!: Well, there's a lot of gossip going on down in the wood today! It is a lovely sunny morning, and all the birds are out and about... anyone ...

2nd January ... a party!

Well, there's a lot of gossip going on down in the wood today!  It is a lovely sunny morning, and all the birds are out and about... anyone would think it's a new year or something ...  here are a few of main participants in the chatter... it's a real rouges' gallery of winter birds...

Banter with the blue tit...
Gossip with the gold crest ...
Blarney from the blackbird....
Good news from the gold finch ...
Waffle from the wren!!!

Happy Holidays!!!