Close up at the valley park

Ana-Christine has picked a very popular theme for the lens artist challenge this week’ it’s close up. She’s also made it very inclusive by highlighting how you don’t need an expensive camera.I’ve only taken my camera out once this year, but my phone is always with me.
With the challenge in mind I walked the dogs at the valley park yesterday.


I’m fascinated by the form and colour of lichen, the tiny drops of dew were a bonus. My phone has a selective focus option, and while I could have got a better result with my camera, Flora and George would have had more time to get into mischief!

Lens Artist Challenge

Patti, do you remember the song Fijian Girl? Your photos reminded me, but I know that shows my age!

Here are my ‘Nature’ photos for Patti’s Lens Artist Challenge this week.

If you stretch your imagination, you might see the M that I see, M for Meg who will like this cliff in north Devon.

This tiny snail is perfectly formed, a young Fibonacci in the making.

One of England’s prettiest wild flowers, and one with medicinal properties, containing digitalin.

I captured a magical vertical cloud.

Also for Meg, the odd place on the south Devon coast where the white chalk stone of Beer ends and the red sandstone of Seaton begins.

Join Patti here.

 

Frost in Exeter

Now I know that many of you experience months of frost and snow every winter, but recently it’s only occurred three or four times a year here. So I rarely get a chance to take icy photos. This morning my car told me it was -1 degrees, and the ground over in the fields was frozen. It was a brilliant blue sky day though and the frost in the hedgerows was slowly melting.

 
Apparently it will rain for the next seven days now, so I’m glad I caught the pretty cold stuff while I could. Rain means a temperature rise of eight to ten degrees, thanks goodness because the heat wasn’t working in my office on Friday, not much fun sitting still in 14 degrees!

In the valley park

Hedge laying is an ancient skill, it’s been around since the 16th century when landowners had to contain their livestock, because of the acts of enclosure. Different styles of laying can be seen around the country, and laying takes place in winter when there are no birds nesting and before the sap rises.

When I walked in the valley park this morning, the hedge between what I call the middle and bottom fields, had been recently laid. It’s opened up the view from the middle field at the rear of this photo way across the hills on the west of the estuary.

I’m glad the skills are still kept alive, but I can’t help wondering what the foxes make of it.

A winter poem

 

 

My first poem of the year was inspired by this painting by my mum Pat, thank you!.

A sense of woodland

Trudging through mud and leaf litter,
with his faithful companion Ned
a man surveys the landscape,
testing his path with a stick
from the same birch wood.

At the gate the dog pauses,
paw suspended, alert, ears wide,
and the pungent stench of vixen,
barely perceptible to human senses,
overwhelms its olfactory nerve.

A gleam of solstice light falls
on a startle of rabbit, a clear acre distant.
The man fumbles for his pipe and baccy,
scrapes squelchy leaves from his soles.
Ned flops with a disappointed grunt,
a screech of jays laugh from naked branches.
Then once more the silence is palpable.

What’s inspiring you right now?

 

Hips and Haws

If you’re a certain age, you may have been given Rose Hip Syrup as a child. The bright red round and oval gems were used as a tonic to prevent winter colds because they’re rich in vitamin C. But did you also know they were baked in tarts, added to wine, marmalade and made into  soup? Best of all, they were used as anti varicose vein tea!

Now, the only thing I’ve ever done with haws is mix them with crab apples to make jelly, what about you? Well apparently, since Roman times the cheerful sprays of berries have been picked not just for jellies and jams, but to make wine and as a cure for the headaches that drinking might have caused! Women also gathered them for dyeing their hair, I touched mine up yesterday, I wonder if it’s worth a try.

I’ve always fancied myself as a medicine woman, a curandera, perhaps in a previous life.