Changing Seasons 2016: December

During December I again photographed the meadow, wooded area and stream in my village for Cardinal Guzman’s Monthly Changing Seasons challenge. With the busyness of Christmas preparations, along with an unseasonably warm but drearily overcast month, I only managed a handful of visits to my favourite place, but luckily those few walks gave me plenty of pictures!

Remember to click on the galleries to see the pictures at a larger size.

So, come and join me on a walk through the meadow, down to the wooded area and beside the stream, as December takes hold…

frosty-trees-and-stumps

You breathe deep of the chill air as you walk across the meadow’s open expanse, enjoying the feel of the crisp grass and the fallen leaves, rimed with ice crystals, as they crunch beneath your feet. The paths that in the summer months wound through long grasses, are now mere echoes upon the ground, but you follow them still. Whether in the shrouding mists of early morning or the sublime gold of the afternoon, each footstep carries you further from your troubles, opening your mind to the possibilities that lie ahead.

The many benches scattered around the space draw you to rest for a spell, allowing you to absorb nature’s serenity. Wrapped warmly in woolen layers, with hat, scarf and gloves protecting your extremities, the chill doesn’t bother you as you meander from perch to perch, though you don’t linger long at each stop. There are many more areas to explore, after all.

Resting on the bench newly placed beneath the trees, you gaze at an area held tightly in December’s grip. Oak, birch and horse chestnut trees all stand starkly bare. Winter green has now become dominant within the woodland spaces: holly, ivy and fir adding a dash of colour to an otherwise bleak scene.

Arising from the bench, you walk alongside the stream, watching the sluggish flow of water beneath the icy tendrils that stretch out from the shore. The afternoon light gilds branches in gold, adding an element of warmth that your chilled senses deny exists.

You carefully watch where you put your feet as you walk beneath the trees, taking care not to trip over the jagged remains of tree stumps or to tread on any of the funghi that continues to sprout amongst the concealing leaf litter.

You stop where a branch reaches out over the water. The last few leaves cling like tree ornaments, whilst water droplets glint around them, hanging like nature’s own midwinter decorations.

But nature’s own are not the only decorations to be found. Strung from the trees throughout the wooded area are fat balls, packed full of winter treats for the birds, whilst strings of popcorn drape over the fir trees clustered in the corner of the meadow. Robins, blue tits and long tailed tits can be seen flitting to and fro, enjoying their midwinter feast.

Finally, as the sun sets beyond the trees, and with your senses bathed clean by the calm stillness of nature, you take your leave of the meadow, wooded area and stream, knowing that soon you will return…

clouds-over-trees

I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on a walk around my favourite place. Did you have a favourite picture? I’d love to know which ones caught your eye.

If you’d like to revisit some of the previous months’ galleries, you can follow the links below:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November

thechangingseasons

CFFC: Things that are Cold

This post is for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week’s theme is Things that are Cold. 

I have to admit that I got a little muddled this week. I had it in my head that ‘things that are cold’ was the theme for the Black and White Challenge. I dug out a selection of cold pictures from my archives and edited them into black and white. It wasn’t until I started putting together the post that I discovered that it was actually the theme for the Fun Foto Challenge! I considered going back and re-editing them but I’m actually quite happy with them as they are!

So here you go:

I hope you like them.

 

cffc

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Red Flowers

This post is for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week’s theme is red flowers and so I decided to revisit a few of the flower photographs that I’ve taken over the last year or so. The poppy pictures were the main things to catch my attention as I wandered through my archives but I also found a few red roses and tulips that I thought you might also like.

I’m still really behind on visiting blogs so if I haven’t been over to see you recently, I apologise. Hopefully I’ll be able to spend some time blog hopping soon. 🙂

042114-cffc

Roses

The roses in the garden are now fully in bloom so I thought I’d share a few pictures of them. I adore roses. Their blooming is always a sign that summer has arrived, even if the weather doesn’t necessarily agree.

I’d just like to apologise to anyone whose blog I haven’t managed to visit recently or whose comment I haven’t responded too. The internet connection in the village at the moment is abysmal – it takes forever just to get a post up. I nearly gave up on uploading the pictures for today’s gallery several times! Needless to say, my time online is very limited, though I am trying to get around to everyone. Hopefully things will get better soon…

New Growth

I thought I’d share another gallery of the flowers blooming around the garden and village with you today. The daffodils, tulips and fruit tree blossom of previous weeks are now all gone and we move on to lots of purple and pink flowers. We have alliums, aqualegia, clematis, irises and – newly opened over the last few days – the first of the roses. Our garden is full of rose bushes so there are likely to be many more galleries of them over the coming months! I also spotted the first poppies when I was out walking so I took a couple of snaps of them too. There are pictures of several other flowers as well, though I don’t know the names of all of them.

Most of the pictures were taken on my phone camera (Samsung Galaxy S4) as I’m currently having trouble with the sensors on my proper camera. I really need to send it off for repairs. (If anyone knows of a reliable company in the UK for this, please let me know!)

I hope you like them.

Cactus Crazy

I had planned to write a short story today but then I noticed the cacti around our house were flowering and became a little distracted by photographing them. I thought I’d share a few of the better pictures here.

My family have always kept cacti. When I was a child my dad had a greenhouse full of them, though back then there weren’t quite so many in the house – not really surprising with six of us kids running around! We learnt quite early that you don’t touch them. A hand full of cactus spines is never a pleasant experience.  Nowadays we all have them in our own homes. Pretty much every window ledge has one. Or two. Or more.

I bought my first cactus when I was a student in Wales back in the late 1990s. There was a tabletop sale in the local scout hall with a tray of tiny ones that didn’t look particularly healthy. I bought one for 50p. I still have it now and it flowers nearly every year.

My first cacti

My first cacti , fifteen years later

A lot of the cacti around our place at the moment actually belong to my youngest brother. He’s currently working abroad so had to leave them somewhere while he was away. I’m hoping he forgets we have them – they’re some of the nicest ones we have.

Halo of flowers

Halo of flowers

Cacti are not, of course, native to the UK. If you live in more arid areas of the world you may well be used to seeing much more impressive examples than these. Our biggest is only about a meter tall – they can grow much larger than that! But we’re happy with what we have.

More New Growth

I thought I’d share some pictures I’ve taken around the garden and village over the past week. A lot has been happening, growth-wise. At the beginning of the week the fruit trees in the garden were still in bud. As the days have passed they’ve all come fully into bloom. As you’ll see, I’ve taken lots of pictures of blossom! We have Apple Trees, Pear Trees and an Ornamental Cherry Tree. We also have two Lilacs that just today have begun blossoming, plus lots of other shrubs and flowers that are all looking increasingly impressive.

Some of the pictures were taken on my camera: a Canon EOS 1100D, using the 18-55mm lens; others were taken on my phone: a Samsung Galaxy S4. It depended what I had to hand when I spotted the plant I wanted to capture.

To enlarge the pictures and to find out what plants are shown, click on the gallery. I hope you like them.