Worlds of time

I saw the first ripe blackberries today. Most are still in various stages of green and red yet but there will be increasing numbers of blackberries now. The white and red forms of the rosa rugosa are flowering again close to the old mill further up the lane and the spindly legged, delicate toadstools are showing themselves in the damp grass.

Greater plantain with the other name of rat’s tail plantain is thriving close to the field gate entrances. Horsetail, that ancient weed, nearby. Cabbage white butterflies are still fluttering over the fields and hedgerows in a rather drunken and haphazard way while thistledown has begun to disperse from the thistles,  carried gently by the breeze, and , weighted down by it seeds, parachuting to safe landings among the grasses.

One section of  moss covered stone wall looks just like a face. The ‘eyes’ and  ‘mouth’ are obviously holes that are homes for small animals.  Homes and hollows are everywhere. There is one under a tree which has a tunnel. All particularly visible in this dry weather. I feel sometimes as though I should be  Alice in Wonderland, down the rabbit hole.  I could find out so much about these secret places!

Waiting for Rosie to sniff one of her favourite spots I noticed a snail slowly making its way up a stalk. There are so many different aspects of time and space. Each inhabitant of the lane has a different world, a different timescale.

What I think is wild angelica is producing tall flowerhead closer to the bottom of the lane and to the mill stream. It is very eye catching. Another eye-catching element  is a holly sapling half way up the lane, surrounded by hazel and ash. While the other trees bend and lean around and against each other, this holly stands absolutely straight guarding its side of the stream.

A Hazel Triquetra

Yesterday everything on the lane was dry and thirsty. The sky was lowering and there was a breeze through the trees making the leaves quiver and suggesting rain. Birds were silent. But the rain did not come until night fall.

The rain has been soft, not violent and flower breaking as it could have been. Plants, trees and grass look refreshed and colours more vibrant. The bramble flowers have become a blushing rose pink in the clear, fresher air and the mill stream is filling again.

Rosebay willow herb is now showing itself in the field of meadowsweet. Evidently Rosebay willowherb was also known as Bombed as it grew in the bomb sites during the war. It is a plant that grows on disturbed land which has earned it the other name of Fireweed as it is found in areas where there has been a forest fire.

There are now hazel nuts appearing more frequently. I’ve been wondering how much the drought would affect the hazel nuts, berries and other fruit as most plants look stressed. This hazel ‘triquetra’ is beautiful. While it can be seen to symbolise the Holy Trinity the triquetra can also be seen as the three stages of life or the earth, sea and sky. In any case the hazel in Celtic mythology  is a magical and protective tree or shrub – the tree of knowledge.

Down in the poo!

One of the things about walking the lane the awareness that humans are not the only inhabitants of the area. So, I usually keep an eye open for any unusual poo. Today there were deer droppings. I saw a deer on the path back in March but haven’t seen one since. Further up the lane there was what looked liked pine marten poo. I keep hoping to meet one. I know they do visit the area and are very accomplished bin thieves. The only time I was up close and personal to one was when we were camping. I heard a noise in the middle of the night, a munching sound, opened the screen to see a furry body passing by my head. A pine marten eating our dog’s food.

The heat has returned and the scent of elder flower, honeysuckle and meadowsweet is swirling around on the air. Butterflies weave across each other’s paths in the sunlight but they never alight on anything long enough for me to try to identify their colourful wings.

It amazes me how resilient the Herb Robert flowers are. Their small pink shapes stand out among the green and yellows of the dry grass. They also make beautiful colour combinations with the blackberry flowers. The blackberries/brambles flowers are beginning to develop into berry form already and it looks as though there will be a good harvest. I found the first hazelnut today, just in its early stages. I wonder how many will have nuts in the shells or will be empty


Days of hot summer

After being away from the lane for a few days  the changes brought about by the heat are apparent. The hart’s tongue ferns are splayed open except for those very close to the mill stream and even the mill stream is only trickling down its route. The bracket fungus  has almost disappeared too.

The lane is wooded and slightly cooler in the hot sun than the open countryside surrounding it and the wild strawberries are fruiting. The meadowsweet is now also flowering in all its creamy beauty. The birds are flying low down the lane in groups – whether that’s seeking water from streams or what I don’t know, but it’s quite strange to see.

Blue skies ahead?

From early this morning there has been blue sky and it is beginning to warm up – at last! When it is cooler it is as though the lane is sleeping. Everything is green but it as though it is waiting for the warmth. Plants like the meadowsweet, which are flowering on the top road above the lane are only still in udon the lane.

The sloes are developing on the blackthorn – green at the moment. It will be some time before they change colour.

Figwort is now flowering. It can be easily missed in the hedgerow but it has historically been used in herbal medicine. Its flowers are really amazing to look at because of their complexity.

The sheep grazing in the field seem to be enjoying the open and wooded area that borders the lane nearer the top.

Elderflowers and moss

The cool morning has subdued the colours on the lane but the elderflower blossom provides a creamy white highlights among the moss covered trees near the top of the lane. I love the scent of elderflower and with the deeper compost scent of the woods it is calming.

Ragged robin is blooming merrily. The petals look as though they’re constantly throwing their flower heads around, creating a tangled look but when I started drawing the flowers a different pattern emerges.