A Year in a Lane – Week 50

We have had a few early morning mists recently, some of which I have captured on this blog. However, this week we have had mists at the end of the day at low level. This produces quite an eerie effect – this picture and the one below were taken about 4.45 in the afternoon.


The low level nature of this mist is better illustrated by a view across the farm field as shown below. It’s a shame there are no sheep around as this would have provided an interesting photo opportunity.


Stuff always seems to break more in the winter – particularly anything made of wood that lives outside. The damp and cold exacerbates any damage or weakness and quite often something reaches that critical point. The horse feeder below is a prime example although it isn’t helped by half a ton of horse using it to scratch his rear end occasionally!


The stile at the end of the driveway has also given way. I don’t think Tommy can be blamed for this unless he has been going for midnight strolls across the field! Technically it is the farmer’s responsibility to repair this although I quite often effect minor repairs myself as I don’t fancy anyone breaking a limb at the end of the driveway. (caring thought for Christmas!)


This last picture is rubbish. A salutary lesson for those of us that have to drive the recycling and bin bags half a mile to be collected. If you get it wrong one week and leave the recycling out instead of household rubbish, you have twice as much to go out next time!! One of these boxes belongs to my neighbour (honestly!) but I blame the head gardener for her prolific wine consumption for the rest of the bottles!



A Year in a Lane – Week 49

Energy supply is more of a conscious effort in the countryside than in the town where the utilities are all “plumbed” in. There is, for example, no mains gas which means if you want to use that energy source then you have to have calor gas. The alternative to that is oil. Either way you have to have a physical delivery of something, which entails other problems. Living down a country lane and having no turning circle for anything bigger than a flatbed brings a variety of challenges. The oil lorry isn’t going to swing round in the driveway!


So the solution is for the nice man driving the thing to reverse two thirds of the way up and run a very long hose to the tank. Fortunately most of the drivers who deliver in these parts are used to this sort of arrangement. You can see next door’s tank in the picture above so they have a similar situation.


It’s Christmas month and we love to have lots of festive lights on in the house and also in the garden outside. The gazebo is ideal for the outdoor ones. It is looking a little sorry for itself after having been blown around earlier in the year (Storm George or something of that ilk) so this will be its last job before a new model is brought in for next spring.


The skies are currently really dull and overcast albeit not too much rain thank goodness. This pigeon sits fairly miserably in a bare tree against a grey backdrop – he looks how I feel this time of year!



A Year in a Lane – Week 48

This week has seen the arrival (at least temporarily) of what is known as a “proper” winter. The temperature has dropped and the clear skies have produced some lovely sharp winter sunny spells, especially in the morning.


We have also had some lovely early morning mists, which fortunately haven’t turned to serious fog thus causing problems when driving.


As the temperature has dropped we have had some very cold nights – the week low was -7 degrees overnight. Although the sun has been bright it is obviously not that warm at this time of year and areas that get little direct sunlight are liable to remain frozen. This is the verge down the driveway at 2pm one day this week.


Earlier on in the year, the remaining goldfish were stolen by a heron which at least saves the problem of having to break the ice on top of the pond for them.


The vista across the fields has had that lovely winter look early in the mornings this week. Looks almost like a Christmas card, which is topical at this time of year.


One fellow who remains hardy throughout the winter is Flash. He is a New Forest pony so doesn’t really need a blanket to keep warm as his coat naturally thickens to protect him. This is just as well as, with the really cold snap, approaching we decided maybe a blanket might help given that he is not getting any younger. Despite not being the most active or quickest horse in the world, he managed to avoid the attentions of three people trying to put his rug on for thirty minutes before they conceded defeat. He looks well enough anyway and happy to pose for the camera.




A Year in a Lane – Week 47

This year it has so far been a much colder and drier start to the winter, which is a blessing to be honest – no-one wants a repeat of last year’s mud fest as it kept on raining. The skies are thus much clearer giving some lovely sunsets through the trees providing a different effect now that the leaves are largely gone.


The lane itself is looking more bare and bleak. Not so many pickings around for nature’s creatures, but that doesn’t stop the hens from wandering around, foraging whatever they can from the verges.


We did have some severe winds in storm Angus that blew through the other week and that caused some residual damage. The crab apple tree in the horses’ paddock which I showed previously was already propped upright but sadly now has collapsed once again – possibly terminally this time.


The brown and white shape you may notice behind the tree in the picture above is none other than our hero, Tommy! This was one of the milder days so he took the opportunity to have a sit down and enjoy a little warmth from the winter sun. He is looking in fine fettle at the moment.


Tom doesn’t have a good relationship with winter blankets. He either rips them while scratching himself against a shelter or a tree or they bring him out in a nasty skin rash if he perspires too much. The racehorses next door, on the other hand, are far more sensitive to the cold and are always well dressed during the day when grazing outside.


And back to where we started, note the lack of mud in the fields pictured in the photos above – long may it continue!

A Year in a Lane – Week 46

The winds have been picking up of late and culminated in storm Angus which blew in at the end of the week.

The apples on the tree in the paddock have held on as long as they could but the stronger winds have proved too much, especially as some were of a size where they were ready to drop anyway.


And the remaining leaves took a battering as well covering the lane with a golden blanket before everything eventually mulches away..


And with the storm came two days of torrential rain causing the storm ditches to overflow in places. The problem was that the fallen leaves blocked the water from following the natural course of the ditches. The one between my land and the field above suffered in exactly this way, causing a rather large area of water at the corner of the paddock.


There are a number of pheasants about at the moment having been driven from their habitats by those who seek to shoot them for “sport”. No comment! Here’s a refugee at the bottom of the garden.


Finally, here’s a sight you do not see too often – a Sale Agreed sign in the lane. The house at the bottom is set for new residents in the new year. Only the third time a house has changed hands in 20 plus years.




A Year in a Lane – Week 45

Traffic – not something we get a lot of in the lane – particularly at the top end. But this week we have had a couple of traffic jams – well a couple of vehicles together at one time!!The digger and the cart both decide to enter the yard near the horses’ field at the same time. Think the bigger guy has pulled rank!


And the very same day, Travis Perkins (other building materials providers are available!) turn up for a delivery so it’s parking in the lay by for a short while for anyone wanting to go past.


Someone who is not affected by the traffic has been off hunting and is now winding their way home for a cosy nap in front of the log burner.


We had some fog around for the past two weeks and I posted a similar picture to the one below showing the early morning mist. This one, however, is not fog but fine driving rain from low clouds providing a similar effect when viewing the tower.


Finally this week we were promised a “super” moon as the earth and the moon passed as close by each other as they have, and will, for a number of years. The forecast for the actual day consistently predicted cloud and thus no view of the phenomenon, so here’s a shot taken the day before – a sort of “not quite super” moon.


A Year in a Lane – Week 44

This week we have had the first real frosts of the year, as the temperature has dropped in rural spots to (just) below zero. Bit cold getting out of bed in the morning but good for photo opportunities.


Greek dogs don’t really like the cold weather – well mine doesn’t anyway. Unless there is the opportunity of rabbit hunting, most of the time spent outside is keeping an eye out waiting for the door to open and a chance to nip back inside.


Couldn’t stop a pig in a passage with those back legs!

The horses’ winter field is deemed ready for use again now and the boys are now happily back for the first time in many months.


The grass isn’t the only thing to have flourished in their absence. Despite being propped up by wooden supports since some wind damage last year, the apple tree is bearing plenty of fruit.


As the winter approaches, leaves are falling all around us. The tall trees at the back of the field are open to the occasional stronger winds and already lay bare at the top in contrast to those lower down.


Just as the horses have settled back into the field then the neighbours backing onto it announce a firework party at the weekend. Although these two boys are generally “bomb-proof” when it comes to noise, it is decided to return them to the paddock by the house for the night, just to be on the safe side.


A Year in a Lane – Week 43

At this time of year in mid autumn, warmish sunny days and cooler nights quite often produce a mist or fog in the morning. And this year has been no different.


As the sun comes up, the nearby tower looms up out of the fog producing some good photo opportunities for an atmospheric feel.


Down by the, not to put too fine a point on it, muck heap, there is an old tree stump. This year it has been totally invaded by a mushroom type fungus. Like a number of other things this year, this is probably a result of a warm and long late summer extending well past its normal timeframe. This is one of the more interesting aspects. The plethora of wasps still buzzing about in late October certainly isn’t!!


The leaves are finally turning and producing striking autumnal scenes over the landscape. The browns contrasting with the greens that remain.


It is however, still warm enough for a bit of a lie down in the remaining warmth.




A Year in a Lane – Week 42

There is still an abundance of autumnal sunshine which helps stave off the depression of the darker nights (clocks going back soon !!). And the animals are certainly enjoying the benefits of the mild weather. Spooner is in his favourite late morning spot in front of the wood shed.


We saw the return of the sheep last week and they are certainly enjoying both the new grass and the sunshine. I asked the lady on the right if she would mind posing especially for the picture.


The days are sunny but occasionally a little chilly in the wind and certainly once the sun goes down, you realise that autumn is well upon us. The temperatures in the countryside at night are often a few degrees cooler than in the towns at this time of year. Flash, as a consequence, already has his blanket on to protect him from the lower feel.


There is still some colour in the garden, a few late roses and Cornish daisies, among others, providing some brightness.


We are getting some lovely sunsets currently and, as anyone who has followed this blog knows, I love a good sunset. Here are the dying embers of another lovely autumnal day just before darkness.


A Year in a Lane – Week 41

Final preparation of the field above the house is underway with the farmer touching up the grazing areas with some treatment – this time by hand. The mild weather has, he tells me, made this whole process much easier this year although a little more rain might have helped even more.


And…. finally they are back. Everything is ready and the grass is lush enough to welcome the sheep back to the field. They do make a marked difference to the landscape for sure. Initially they all group together before eventually becoming more scattered.


Unfortunately, this is the countryside and there is plenty of death as well as life – avert your eyes now if you don’t want to witness the remains of a pigeon which fell victim to one of the neighbourhood foxes.


The horses have more or less cleared the bottom field now and are suggesting, once again, that they could do with moving on – Tom likes to hint by approaching the gate every time you see him. Think they have another week or two yet however.


The yard halfway down the lane, opposite where the horses currently are, has a lot of liveries and is always busy with people coming to groom, ride, feed or even transport their horses off to the various shows which take place in neighbouring towns and villages.


Finally, back home, a sad job awaits for the winter. The goldfish pond once upon a time had seven fish in it. A couple of years back, the herons stole five of them and then, this year, the two remaining ones “disappeared”. So much for the fake one standing guard – he’s sacked! The pond will be emptied over the winter and I am hoping to turn it into a water feature.