Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Testing gallery…

This was a test, but I’m going to leave it here, as it now has a very kind comment attached. 🙂 (But I will edit it to remove the repeated picture at the top. To get a gallery of pictures, you don’t need ‘Format’ set to ‘Gallery’. It’s all down to ‘Settings – Media’ and clicking the right boxes when uploading the pictures.

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Beginnings

The Daily Prompt for today says:

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BEGINNING.

I woke early yesterday, and could see pink clouds outside, so I put my dressing gown on and went out to photograph the dawn over Edge Hill, as the sun was beginning to rise.

It is the site of the first battle at the beginning of the English Civil War in 1642, and the ghosts of the dead soldiers are supposed to be heard every year on 23rd October.  We keep the curtains drawn all night, just in case.

Sunrise over Edge Hill

Sunrise over Edge Hill

Edited to add picture of spooky Roundheads getting ready for battle a week ago.  Yes, they are waiting for cars and vans to go past…

roundheads


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Freaky fungi

We had a couple of days in Derbyshire, staying at Hathersage.  The heavy rain made crossing the River Derwent stepping stones rather exciting, as the stones were pretty much all under the surface, and some were so far under that the water went inside our walking boots.

After our lovely autumnal river-side walk, we drove up to Stanage Edge, to feel the force of the wind building up for the overnight storm. I found various tiny fungi.  It seems strange that people went to all the effort to make millstones from the rock, but then left them there. Maybe they weren’t good enough for some reason?

The following day was fly fishing training day for hubby and younger daughter. Older daughter and I spent an hour walking round the fishing pools in pouring rain, but then the sun came out and it was lovely. One bank was covered in troops of fungi – at least five different species, and wonderful colours – red, yellow (or black), apricot, shiny brown and pure white.  The scarlet ones were my favourites.

This one wasn’t in Derbyshire though – I found this in the logpile when we got back home. What a vivid colour.

Cobalt Crust fungus

Cobalt Crust fungus on chipboard, Terana caerulea

After a bit of investigation, I’ve worked out how to use the tiled gallery. I think. It appears to not be connected to the ‘Format’ Gallery… Confusing! I know, I should have tried this on a test blog. Sorry. 🙂


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Burgundy-drop Bonnet and Greensleeves

Mycena haematopus

Burgundy-drop Bonnet (Mycena haematopus)

I found this pretty little fungus growing on a rotting log in the garden. It’s only about 2 cm across the cap, and when I broke the stem, it bled! Dark red-brown juice oozed out. There are a couple of ‘bonnet’ fungi that do that, but I think this one is the Burgundy-drop Bonnet, Mycena haematopus (‘bloody-foot’ is more gory than burgundy).

As there’s a big storm forecast for this weekend, we’ve picked the rest of our apples, and I’ve bagged them up and labelled them according to recommended eating times.  We have: Scrumptious (those are past their best now), Ellison’s Orange, Gala, Fiesta, Greensleeves, Herefordshire Russet, Sunset, Laxton’s Superb, Tydeman’s Late Orange and Bramley.

Apples to store

Apples ready for winter storage

 

The Apple Book  (which is full of beautiful apple paintings and very good descriptions of well over a hundred apple varieties) recommends using plastic bags with pencil-thickness holes poked in them. I prefer the idea of old newspapers, but the bags do make it quick to check whether any are beginning to rot, and last year they did keep very well in the bags. They didn’t shrivel up like ones I’ve paper-wrapped in the past. Some of them should still be good to eat into January.

The box of apples is kept in the shed.  Some of the apples were picked last week, but a mouse had got in and started nibbling one of them, so this is my high-tech solution to keeping the mice out:

Apple storage to avoid mice

Anti-mouse technology


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Mini-beasts

Apologies to any squeamish readers, but I went out on a woodlouse hunt, to see if I could find the three different species that I found back in June when I did my ‘bioblitz‘.

It didn’t take long to find them, but taking their photos was a bit trickier, as they really don’t like sitting still in bright light.  I deleted a large number of blurred shots to get these more reasonable ones.

I don’t expect everyone to appreciate their beauty, but I do really rather love them.  When I was little, we used to collect them in jars, and have woodlouse ‘farms’ in cardboard boxes.  I was vaguely aware that they didn’t all look the same – I thought the flatter ones looked a bit scary – but just thought they were different stages of the same thing.  But no!  I think these are correctly named, but please let me know if you know otherwise, thank you.

Here’s the Rough Woodlouse again – great sculptural detail on the body plates.  I don’t think these roll up.

rough woodlouse

Rough Woodlouse (Porcellio scaber) – I presume the scientific name means ‘rough piglet’, which is rather cute.

Now the Common Shiny Woodlouse (the ones I used to be scared of).  I don’t think these can roll up.

Common Shiny Woodlouse

Common Shiny Woodlouse (Oniscus asellus) – I don’t think this one rolls up.

And finally, the Common Pillbug or Common Woodlouse or Roly-poly – which definitely does roll up.  this was a particularly shiny one (or maybe I’ve misidentified it).

Pill Woodlouse

Pill Woodlouse (Armadillidium vulgare) – I presume that means common little armadillo – even cuter.

Pill Woodlouse

Pill Woodlouse – rolled up

And finally, a beautiful little yellow snail – only about 1cm across.

A small yellow snail

A small yellow snail


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A wonderful breezy autumn run

A couple more rainbow pictures added from this afternoon, to this morning’s run report.

double rainbow

Double rainbow over Sumach (Rhus typhina)

Rainbow over Rowan

Rainbow over Rowan tree

Well, I was inspired by ‘juicyju’ the panther-runner on c25k, who was doing a half-marathon today. Others c25k-ers on Facebook had pledged to run at the same time, to give her moral support. As I’ve not run at all for four weeks (and then only for twenty minutes) I decided to push myself to get back out and do a bit of a run, even if it was only ten minutes. I went out before breakfast (I suspected I might not do it if I didn’t get going straight away), so a bit before the 10 o’clock start for the others.

The thought of all those other virtual running buddies pushing themselves to run ridiculous distances kept me going and going, and I did 5k! I am soooooo pleased! It’s two months since I last did that, so my joints will probably be reminding me all about it in a couple of days, but they were fine while I kept going. The pace was (of course) slow and steady, but I kept going for 47 minutes.

I just kept thinking that at least I wasn’t doing 10k or a half-marathon. I nearly stopped at 30 minutes, but then noticed it wasn’t quite ten o’clock, and it seemed a pity to have stopped when everyone else was about to begin, so I carried on, and then it seemed silly not to go all the way to 5k – though I can now see that meant I did more than half as much again!  Not sure I’d have done it, if I’d realised that at the time, but it just goes to show that bodies can often do a lot more than we think.

It was lovely out – sunny and blowy, perfect temperature for running.  I have always loved autumn – all the leaf colours and hedgerow fruits really brighten things up.  I must remember to take a hair-tie when I run though, as I kept getting mouthfuls of hair – yuk!

I didn’t take the camera on the run, but here are two pictures from the garden after I got back.

Rough Woodlouse - Porcellio scaber

Rough Woodlouse (Porcellio scaber) on moss (Grimmia pulvinata).  This makes me think of Dr Who monsters.

young frog

Young frog, about 5 cm long. I found him underneath a piece of spare pond-liner that we’ve left out on some bricks and grass, in the hope of attracting snakes. Until now, all we’ve found has been ant nests – black ants and yellow meadow ants. I imagine the frog had been feasting happily.