Sunday, 30 September 2012

Water, water everywhere

This time last week we were leaving the Dales and the landscape was draped in early morning mist. It always seems to look at it's most beautiful once I have packed up to go. The weather forecast had promised extremely bad weather to come and we thought it best to head back down south. It was a wise decision because by the following day stretches of road had become flooded and were closed off. We had enjoyed sunshine with showers during our stay, the only areas of flooded road being quite useful for washing the underneath of the car!
Many of the Dales are called after the rivers that run through them.
Some of the bridges are handsome old stone structures such as Ulshore Bridge over the River Ure,
while others, over the many tributaries and streams, are altogether more humble.

The water is stained brown from the peat in the surrounding moorland hills.
There is a beck, the word for stream in Yorkshire, beside our home and the sound of running water is a constant.
A little further up the beck there is a small waterfall.
What's not to like?
Well, the journey back south was a bit grim!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Autumn flowers in the house

I went into the garden this morning to pick some flowers for flwrjane's party. It was very wet and windy and the blooms were rather battered and marked. It always surprises me how much better they look once brought inside and gathered together in a vase.
Because it was such a dull day I had to photograph them in electric light, which always distorts the colours. I picked the yellow fennel flowers from the vegetable garden.
The annual cosmos 'Purity' is still flowering beautifully in spite of being hammered by the weather
but you can see that the Japanese anemones are rather ragged at the edges and this is my last presentable spray of astrantia.
A few straggling late summer roses still bloom.

Without artificial light it looks altogether more subdued.
 For Jane at Small But Charming.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Where is the place?

Where is the place that you think of as home? It isn't necessarily the place where you are living at the moment or the place where you were born. The Germans have a descriptive word, 'Heimat' and in England there is the saying, 'home is where the heart is'.
We have been in Yorkshire for a week or so, with sunshine and showers and some very fine rainbows.
This pathway by the beck is next to our small Yorkshire home.
From our kitchen window we look across the dale to the crag, shadowed in the morning light
or bathed in sunshine in the early evening.
After  a cold night the dale bottom can be shrouded in mist.
I think that it is beautiful whatever the weather.

What I want to Say.

I want to tell you
about the moorland paths
I've walked for half a century and more
always and never alone here
in this upland space
walking with ghosts
of family and friends.
The silvered grit remains, crisp underfoot,
the close-cropped turf,
heather and hills as far as I can see.
The beauty overwhelms me.

How to say it
so that you understand?

Ower Tops.

T' other side o' t' dale's
a veil o' milky 'ue
as you an' I an' t' dog
on peat moor top can view
at dusk
a sky awash wi' pink.
An' everythin' takes on a magic glow
as walkin' ower tops we go.

The discovery of a skeleton found underneath a car park in Leicester has been reported on the news. It is thought to be the remains of 'Crook-back', King Richard the Third. He spent his childhood in a far more imposing place, at Middleham Castle, just down the dale.
The first castle was a Norman motte and bailey, built around 1086. The present castle was begun in the mid twelfth century and in the fifteenth century was a stronghold of the Nevilles, Earls of Warwick and the home of the Kingmaker, Richard of Warwick. Richard the Third, as the then Duke of Gloucester, spent his childhood at the castle and hunted in the dale, which in those days was densely forested.
The castle was dismantled after Richard's death, but the ruins still dominate the small town.

Today Middleham is best known for it's stables
where racehorses are king.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Slim pickings

There is something to collect from the garden for every meal, a handful of autumn raspberries to have with breakfast and a selection of greens to make a salad for lunch. But look how small the beetroot are! This year has been the poorest that I have ever known for many of the crops.  We have almost no apples or plums, such a contrast to last year when the plum branches broke under the weight of fruit.

The greenhouse tomatoes have done well
and the climbing hoya is having a second flush of blooms.
I have read that it was a popular flower to wear in buttonholes in Victorian times but it produces such sticky droplets of nectar that it must have made for rather messy lapels!
We are enjoying the greenhouse while we can.
The insects are out, enjoying the late sunshine. They have had a poor time of it with all the rain. One of the bee colonies in the orchard has been demolished by wasps. The other hives are alright but have made little honey, most of it they have needed for themselves.
So it's slim pickings for everyone!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Into autumn

At last we are enjoying warm, dry weather and are able to be outside doing some work. Himself has been up the scaffolding tower applying wood stain to the greenhouses and the house windows.
I have been lifting the onions and setting them out to dry, with assistance from Maisie.
Whilst the tower was assembled we did a bit of tree cutting

and hacked back shrubs that had grown into the flower border.
It gives me a space to plant the delphiniums that I've grown from last year's collected seed.
This end of the herbaceous border is supposed to be for rich, dark colours, blues, purples and reds.

I went to the garden centre to buy spring bulbs to fit with the colour scheme and was tempted by this aster, 'Blue Lapis' and anemone, 'Praecox' which is a deeper pink than the ones that already flourish in the garden.
Tulips tend to disappear in my borders - I blame the squirrels. Let's hope that these will be more successful.
The roads around our village are narrow and appear even more so because the hedges and verges have remained uncut all summer long.
They are filled with wild flowers
and even the curse of my garden, the pesky bindweed
looks beautiful.
As does it's little pink striped sister.

Blackberries are ripening.
I love this time of year.