Friday, 23 January 2015

Come With Me Into The Frozen Woods

-5 last night. Possibly more, I haven't checked the weather station only the temperature when I got up. Brass Monkeys either way. We're not used to it here on the South coast of the UK, although I'm sure it sounds positively warm if you're reading this from Arctic Canada :o)



I was cold, when the dogs and I did our morning walk through the frost. Almost cold enough to consider turning back, but I'm a stubborn old bugger and frozen fingertips really weren't enough to prevent us checking the frozen fox for signs of nibbling (there were none).

 
I've only ever been dangerously cold once in my life, and at the time I didn't realise how serious it was. A few years back I was riding in the Forest in temperatures of -6/ -7 and ended up being out longer than I'd intended. By the time I got back to the yard my mind wasn't working properly and my thoughts were very strange. I felt disconnected, as if I were floating and I couldn't concentrate. I'd been aware of feeling bitterly cold at an earlier stage on the ride but it had seemed to go away. I only realised once I'd settled the horse and been in the car with the heater on for ten minutes and at that point started shivering and feeling unwell that I hadn't warmed up at all, I'd just gone beyond feeling cold. A friend who is a nurse told me she'd done something similar the previous winter and that when your thoughts start to wander like that and you stop feeling cold it's a sign to get out of the cold immediately and warm yourself up. I am determined and don't tend to let things stop me doing what I want to do, but I'm not foolish and I resolved never to take being out for any length of time in cold weather so casually again. It doesn't do to bait nature.



Anyway, we were all wrapped up warm this morning:  me layered up to the eyeballs and the dogs snug with their fur, plus we were moving so we were all fine.





It had been a Very Hard Frost, more so than yesterday, and the ice encasing the vegetation was thick.





 We found the fox, lying as before, untouched and more deeply encased in ice than yesterday.


Deer had passed nearby, their slots imprinted and caught fast in the iron hard ground.



And a mole seemed determined to prove that, while it may be icy on the ground, below the earth he was toasty as can be, thank you very much...



Overhead, a thin line of gulls wheeled, heading goodness knows where.


And umbellifers, decked out in jewels by the frost, glittered in the early morning light...
 



The ice had set the puddles in the wood into interesting shapes, all swirls and circles this time.
 




This is my Butterfly Wood (although you wouldn't think it now), and given that, the ice pattern in the puddle in the pic below seemed entirely appropriate. It looked to me like a frozen water butterfly.



In a few weeks the Orange Tips will be gliding through the glade where this frozen water butterfly lies, but in the mean time, the woods are resting Deep In Winter.....

 




 T and P put up several deer along the way. Can you spot the Roe Doe in the pic below....?



And there is a smartie waiting for the person who correctly identifies who this little wooden box hanging in a tree is for....



Despite the ice, there are Signs Of Spring in the woods. There are catkins everywhere, sparkling this morning in their icy finery....




Old Man's Beard, or Wild Clematis was also looking beautiful, shimmering as the light flowed through and around it..




Albert, the Oak I followed last year, is currently denuded and waiting Spring Time Patiently, but he has leaf buds emerging..



And the New Coppice (in the place Dave and I did a plant survey last September) is looking good, although they will need to get a fence up around it before long if the deer aren't to demolish the young hazel saplings...






The woods were quiet this morning, as if they were resting. I stood still right in the middle just listening and feeling them breath. There is sense of absolute peace to be had in woodlands that you don't get anywhere else.




Poppy appeared, telling me that she couldn't find Teddy anywhere but she thought  he'd probably gone off chasing a deer, and could I get him back please because she was worried.
So I called him and I whistled him and I called him again and into the silence came the tell-tale yelp that is Teddy's I'm on the trail of something noise. 
Pop and I walked on and soon enough he managed to tear himself away from the deer and catch us up, only to have to spend Quite Some Time sitting down in the middle of the ride pulling thorns out of his paws. Well, that is what you get for running through the undergrowth chasing deer who can easily outrun you.


As we neared the lane I put them back on their leads because neither has any road sense and although it is a very quiet, ancient place, cars still roam freely here...






We dropped down to the river to see how he was faring in this icy snap. This is my River and I know him well, having spent many happy hours along his banks last summer watching his water voles and king fishers and keeping an eye out for the otters who eluded me. We are Old Friends, this River and I. When the children were little they used to swim in him and I have walked by his banks for years. This morning he was rushing cheerfully along, apparently unconcerned by the cold, his only nod towards it the swirls of mist that were rising from his surface...






We turned back and retraced our steps through the kissing gate and back on to the path that leads up through the fields past the Abbey. The bells chimed ten o'clock and I realised we'd been out for an hour and a half. Taking the decent camera out always elongates walks for me :o) 
The frost wasn't as sharp by now, but it was still very cold. The place seemed like a white winter wonder land laid out just for me and the dogs to enjoy...






The final blessing from the land came in the shape of the Linnet flock whom I had been keeping an eye out for but hadn't seen on the way down. Suddenly, they all appeared and settled in a new tree growing in the field. They reminded me of Christmas baubles decking the boughs....



I'll leave you with a frosty pic of the Hounds enjoying their morning run through the fields. Poppy had ice in her beard when we got home and she has been gratifyingly fast asleep ever since :o)



Wishing you all a Peaceful Friday and a Relaxing Weekend.

CT x 


49 comments:

  1. Very pretty, love the Christmas baubles!
    -4 here, but now the sun is shining and it's gorgeous out there :)

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    1. It was a beautiful day, I love the sharpness of frost :o)

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  2. Oh absolutely gorgeous post and you win the prize for the prettiest frosty pictures I've seen so far (blogs and facebook). :-)
    Is that box for dormice? It is a strange shape so not really sure. I really enjoyed this walk with you from the relative warmth of my office. I had just read your two previous posts this morning on my Kindle so enjoyed the pics of the wren, and also surprised by the fox who really did look like it had just fallen over dead! xx

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    1. Thank you :o)

      I will reveal who the box is for in my next post....and the winner of the Smartie :o) xx

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  3. Seems Winter's claw has gripped you much harder than with us here. Very beautiful pics - actually wow! The ice butterfly is magic - it is all magic - and I really enjoyed the frozen woods walk - thanks

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. It was perfect photography weather :o)

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  4. They do indeed make very pretty baubles, lovely frosty photos. You give a very good description of your walk. May I hazard a guess at the box something to do with insects or bats please. Orange smarties are my favourite ones!

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    1. I will bear that in mind Jo. The Big Revelation of who the box is for is Coming Soon.... :o) xx

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  5. Gorgeous beautiful magical photos CT! We haven't had a frost that hard, so I am envious of that! You transported me into your frosty wonderland so thank you :) x

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  6. Beautiful frost pictures - we have had some hard frosts here in Hastings but they melt very quickly - gone by the time I get out with the camera....

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    1. This one hung around for a chunk of the day, although that brilliant ice world was best at first light.

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  7. Bloody hell CT what a lovely post, your pictures are wonderful m'dear. As for the box I first thought Dormouse but perhaps too high and long for them, so I'm guessing squirrel survey where they are tempted to enter with some juicy treat and some double sided tape catches some of their fur so that numbers of red and grey can be recorded?

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    1. I'm liking the squirrel theory- you should design wildlife survey methods :o) I will Reveal All in the next post... :o)

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  8. Lovely photos of the frost and the sun breaking through the forest!

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  9. Are there fish in the river, CT? Thanks for the usual great pictures.

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    1. There are indeed Dave, it's one of the best (and most expensive) chalk trout streams in the world.

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  10. HI These are astonishing images with frost on the plant material. Love the Linnets in the tree and of course the dos look as if they are really enjoying it all.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed them Margaret. The Linnets are there year round, although I've never seen so many there before. I keep an eye on them throughout the year- lovely little birds.

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  11. Lovely frosty atmospheric photos of a beautiful walk CT :) Snug indoors as I read but made me feel very cold indeed! I suspect the box is for dormice - saw something similar in Ryton Woods on hazel trees last Spring.

    re: the last post - glad to see someone is catching moths. Haven't seen one yet this year - not even on windows.

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    1. The Mottled Umber astonished me, out on one of the coldest nights of the year, they are so amazing. I'll reveal re the box in my next post.... :o) xx

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  12. Lovely Jubbly! Smashing day wasn't it :)

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  13. Wonderful atmospheric post CT, thank-you for taking us with you on that gorgeous walk. I'm so thrilled with the linnet flock! :)

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    1. I hoped you would be :o) Such gorgeous little birds and very talkative :o)

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  14. A beautiful frosty morning walk with stunning images! We too were encouraged to take a walk outside before breakfast to enjoy the frosty views. Being by the sea it wasn't quite as thick as with you. Have a wonderful weekend. Sarah x

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    1. I bet it looked glorious by the water, Sarah. have a lovely weekend too x

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  15. I've often wondered how moles do it! Great frosty shots CT and that river is gorgeous.

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    1. Only the top layer freezes, I guess the deeper down you go the warmer it is :o) x

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  16. Well you did have a frost and your set of photos are lovely, bit warmer up here in the North as the snow from Wednesday was melting away to day and the wind was moving again...nice to see the Linnet flock, they have declined quite a bit in the last few years at one spot I go to, have had a odd one in the garden.
    Hope the weather stays fine to do the bird watch this weekend...
    Amanda xx

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    1. I'm RSPB birdwatching here this weekend too- sun here at the moment so finger's crossed. Shall we each do a post on what we see- I'd love to compare? xx

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  17. Wow, absolutely stunning photos. It was freezing here in the sw last night as well. Great tips about recognising being dangerously cold. I love the thought of the orange tip butterflies coming in a few weeks. It's amazing to think of all the tiny delicate things out there surviving the winter. Nature takes my breath away. Your umbellifer pictures are fantastic. Wishing you a lovely weekend. CJ xx

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    1. It is amazing to realise the life that is all around us outside during winter, just waiting for the warmer days to emerge. I have a pupa in a jam jar and am really hoping it hatches. I think it's a large yellow underwing moth :o) xx

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  18. Quite enjoyed the walk.--hart

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  19. Such incredibly beautiful pictures!! They are all stunning, whether of birds, doggies or plants! Just amazing. No idea what the box in the tree is for - moths, butterflies or dormice spring to mind, but I am pretty sure not dormice. Bats? Those teeny tiny ones that I can't remember the name of pipstrille? Hope your weekend is warmer! It got down to -9 degrees a little bit away from here last night... xx

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    1. Wow! -9 is amazing! I need to check the weather station and see what it really got down to here. I'll reveal all re the box in my next post, but I like your guesses :o) Have a lovely weekend xx

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  20. What an enchanting walk through your post CT XX Having just been on a walk with Bramble, Bear and John over at his blog, I have to say that your wood did not seem as menacing as his!! I absolutely ADORE the Linnet baubles!

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    1. Yes, John's wood did raise the hairs on the back of my neck a bit. Mine is a very peaceful place, I love walking there. Have a great weekend- more cleaning in store or have you finished it?! xx

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    2. Sadly, my cleaning Is NEVER finished. Le sigh. Xx

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  21. I was most thrilled to be on this virtual walk with you. Every bit fascinating and so reminds me of walking here, except a bit different landscape. Thank you for the beauty you have captured with photos and your words. A lovely post indeed.

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    1. Thanks my friend, glad you enjoyed. Hope the weather is OK with you?

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  22. What utterly stunning photographs, you have captured the frost so perfectly. Absolute perfection.

    www.louiesmummy.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for the comment too. Welcome to C Tales! :o)

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  23. What a beautiful winter post with stunning images - it has been a good year for frost but I never let the cold stop me getting out and about.

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    1. Hello Elaine, thanks very much for the follow and comment. I really enjoy being out in frost, the land looks and feels so different in it. Back to soft earth here today but I believe it is due to get colder again later in the week.

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  24. Beautiful pictures! I love silhouettes, whether black or white.
    Sad image of the frosted fox, though...
    Other than that, what a wonderland you took us to :)

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    1. It was a superb time to be outside. Very different without the frost, still absolutely beautiful, but different :o)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x