Friday, 24 August 2012

A certain kind of light

Driving through Dorset early evening

I don't know whether its artistic sensibility or something learned or just luck, but I've always been quite good at working out whether a photograph will work out or not.  Sometimes its being able to frame something so the general composition works but other times it is just sheer luck and taking chances and hoping it works.  The last time we were down in Devon for a few days I took some chances when the weather was actually good enough to go outside...

I was rather obsessed by the sky not having rain clouds in it!
I loved the light in the late afternoon

Now we are in late August and the sun shines in the late afternoon there is a certain kind of warm glow.  It is the kind of light that makes me want to take endless photographs and try to capture that fleeting moment in time.  Mr C has been managing to capture some wonderful photographs of the myriad spiders and moths at Hazel Cottage in the last few weeks.  All of them finding their way into the kitchen before being set free.

Red-belted clearwing moth, or apple clearwing
Brimstone Moth
Silver-ground carpet moth

In the vegetable garden, the garlic and shallots have been dug up, the beans and tomatoes seem to be doing something finally, and the carrots and beetroot are still growing.  We've eaten one of the cauliflowers and hopefully have two more to harvest. 

The great pickling season has already begun with some garlic being pickled and a jar of chinese pickled vegetables being made.  We are collecting blackberries at the moment and hope to make some bramble jam soon. For my birthday I was given some equipment to start my new project of soft cheese making.  I will report back when I make a start....

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The missing dead tree

When we moved into Hazel Cottage one of the things we loved so much about the garden was the number of trees in neighbouring gardens; apple trees, pear trees, hawthorns, seedlings from our hazel tree, a very tall fir tree, and amongst it all, stark leafless dead tree.

Part of the thicket in winter with the dead tree
This little thicket provides a lovely home to the birds we love so much - robins, sparrows, magpies, crows, goldfinches, pigeons and doves, blackbirds, great and blue tits and the seasonal visitors that some and go.  We would often be in the house listening to the birds outside, wandering into the garden only to find large numbers of magpies and crows congregating in the dead tree.  There was a mass meeting once where we counted almost twenty corvids chattering and arguing and flapping about in the dead tree.  The sound was deafening!

Without warning, suddenly this week the dead tree has gone.  Even though all the rest of the trees are there, and the birds still make a racket around us, we felt inexplicably sad at its loss. 

To A Dead Tree by John Clare

Old tree thou art wither'd--I pass'd thee last year,
And the blackbird snug hid in thy branches did sing,
Thy shadow stretch'd dark o'er the grass sprouting near,
And thou wert as green as thy mates of the spring.
How alter'd since then! not a leaf hast thou got,
Thy honours brown round thee that clothed the tree;
The clown passeth by thee and heedeth thee not,
But thou'rt a warm source of reflection for me.

I think, while I view thee and rest on the stile,
Life's bloom is as frail as the leaves thou hast shed;
Like thee I may boast of my honours awhile,
But new springs may blossom, and mine may be fled:
Fond friends may bend o'er the rais'd turf where I'm laid,
And warm recollection the past may look o'er,
And say by my life, as I say by thy shade,
"Last spring he was living, but now he's no more."