just wandering around the garden today I found these plants in flower (from the top, camelia, feverfew, geranium and cape lily), in addition to our normal winter flowering shrubs mahonia and viburnum. The camelia is at least two months earlier than usual. Any hard frost now will damage the buds. What a strange year!
At this time of year in the meadows it feels as if the party is over, the tussocks are drab and collapsed, seed heads look like cigarette butts chucked on the floor and ground out, the carpet is sodden, and the buzz of conversation has gone. All that chatting up and flirting, and vivid displaying on the dance floor in party frocks is over. No one has cleared up yet, but one gets the impression that the party goers, once over their hangovers, somehow somewhere will start the party again next year.
not a lot is going on at the moment although there are more mushrooms about than usual for the time of year. These very large mushrooms are one of the species of clitocybe and are large enough to be gigantea (edible when boiled) or geotropa (v edible), but are probably just plain old common funnel mushrooms (edible). A group like this is called a troop. As usual I cannot tell which is which. My unease about eating wild mushrooms is not helped by the mention (in only one of my reference books but not the others) of the spread of the Paralysis funnel, (C. amoenolens) which is easily mistaken for the others other than that it smells of ripe pears, the ivory clitocybe (deadly poisonous) which is common on lawns. These look edible but are ivory coloured, and don't smell of much at all! It's back to the superstore then.
a starling looking very smart after the autumn moult. The new feathers have creamy tips that stand out from the dark background, and the back feathers are paler brown than in the summer. Below is a snipe caught in mid flight. This was one of a party of 6 or 7, small groups like this are called wisps. There are two types of snipe, common and Jack. This is probably the common snipe becausethe wisp was feeding on very damp marsh land. They are extremely quick on the wing.
large buck rabbit looking very scared in flower bed after severe warning as to future conduct. We will stop at nothing to rid our garden of rabbits as long as it doesn't involve running around and barking.
our morning walk (or in Spot's case madcap sprint), along the Inny, through the woods, bathed in golden sunlight and enjoying the warmth. The lower picture is at the same place where we came across a deer in September at much the same time of day. It shows how the colours change (see link).
this cut down jpg doesn't quite capture the beauty of the woods in the Tamar valley below Greenscoombe meadows (unlike the full version). Devon and Dartmoor are in the background. We went looking for mushrooms today but there are very few around. I think it must be too mild for them and the undergrowth is still quite green and heavy. Strange warm weather for the time of year..
a walk on Bodmin moor on a stunning day, a raven flying above us all, and below Spot recharging his endorphin levels after what has been a period of obvious uncertainty for him after his mother's death.
Cassie's demise has left an emptiness in our house. It has left me pondering why we experience grief. As an emotion it seems to have no biological value at all unlike every other emotion, all of which seem to map on to some sort of survival activity. I do not share the view that animals are mindless automatons, I think their minds are just not quite like ours, but I suspect we are the only animals to experience grief (perhaps elephants?) and so maybe it is the price we pay for our ability to articulate that we are alive. If so it feels like a bad deal.
The clocks have gone back so we caught the early morning sun bathing the mists in the river valleys below on our first walk along our favourite lane since yesterday. What a difference a day can make in the sense of things. One person, three dogs and the spirit of the fourth poddling along behind us. Everyone is very quiet now that the leader of the pack has gone.
Cassie was put quietly to sleep this afternoon. We shall miss her great, soft, intelligent, loyal, mischievous contribution to our lives. The muddy paws, the hoarse barking, the great lurcher skill of extremely surreptitious thieving whenever possible, the log carrying, the joy of living, soft brown eyes, the woolly waterproof coat ... everything that makes a canine friend. Much of her life since 2005 is recorded intermittently in Spot's blog who was of course her favourite son. It was a good life.
soft grey colours in the quarry on Kit Hill, and one inhabitant showing off the length of his tail. It is worth clicking on the Kit Hill label (see list to the right) to see how this little patch of granite varies so much through the year.
Herb Robert is usually pink with leaves tinged with red, and reddish stems. This appears to be the white form which is described as occasional although I have never seen it before. It is growing in the same field where we find the double/multiple forms of mayflower. There must be something in the soil (probably radon). Not quite as exciting as grizzlies and bald headed eagles but at least we know the names of the wild flowers around here.
a comma warming up on an apple at Old Solomon's Farm, Latchley, and below the view looking up river towards Old Solomon's farm (on the Cornish side) and Weir cottage to the right on the Devon side. At long last the weather has turned warm and fine, just as we are heading off to Canada. Spot and the rest of the OHG will be house sitting for us with Ruth so this will be the last blog for a couple of weeks.
a field full of sunflowers in Venterdon, looking south towards the church, and Kit Hill in the distance. And the lane in its autumnal livery against a blue sky providing another example of Nature's painting.