Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


Stars on larch branch, and sputniks

Another walk – and a twenty minute run (hurrah!) on a lovely sunshiny afternoon.  I took my camera, which was a bit of a hindrance while running, but it was good to keep a record of some of the natural wonders I saw. I loved the look of these rosettes of leaves growing directly out of a larch branch – and the lichen too.


Leaf rosettes growing directly out of a larch branch.

These are galls caused by a gall wasp, Diplolepis nervosa (according to Britain’s Plant Galls by Michael Chinery), and are called either Sputnik Galls or Spiked Pea Galls. Sputnik does it for me. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Sputnik galls

Sputnik Galls, caused by the gall wasp Diplonepis nervosa



Howling time!

I went out for a walk (should have been a run, but never mind) this evening, as the sky was lit up beautifully with pink clouds.  By the time I got back, the moon had risen.  I took this before it was fully dark, when it looked orange in the sky (though not in the photo) – gorgeous!

The moon



Bird-knit nest

One of our neighbours found this in amongst their bamboo. It’s about 6 inches from top to bottom, feels about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and really very light, as though it had been knitted. Apparently a Long-tailed Tit’s nest, made with spiders’ webs, moss, lichen and feathers. A beautiful piece of work.

Long-tailed tit nest

Long-tailed tit nest

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Black jelly

Yesterday I went for a walk to find blackberries, and accidentally came across this beauty, as I was taking a photo of a butterfly next to it. It’s head looks rather like a little cartoon dog!


Southern Hawker dragonfly head – can you see the dog-face?

Little windfall hedgerow apples, about an inch across were chopped up with two Bramley cookers from the garden – the first it has produced since we planted the cordons about seven years ago. They’re not really quite ripe yet, but the Bramley next to this was damaged, and both came off together.


Bramley apple on left, hedgerow apple on right

jellybag in action

Jelly-bag in action. Look at that rich colour.
Really must get those chairs recovered…

Along with about a pound of blackberries, they boiled up beautifully, and then I drained the juice with this wonderful arrangement, then added about 1.5 pounds of sugar, boiled until the jam thermometer said ‘jam’ and poured into jars. Wonderful-tasting B&A jelly. Yum.

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Project O – Article #0

If you’ve not come across this already, ‘The Opinionated Man’ is running an interesting project on opinions and where we get them from. This links to article 0, his own entry, and new posts from contributors from people all round the world, with a very wide variety of backgrounds will be writing about what makes them tick, every day this month. I thnk there are two today, from Australia and India.