Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


Leave a comment

Winter wander


I went out yesterday to see if I could find any flowers to photograph, but ended up spending ages in books and online, trying to identify lichens and mosses. I think these are right, as they are ones I’ve seen before (but if you spot mistakes, please let me know). I also have quite a few more unidentified, so more work to do.


8 Comments

ilike my iphone

I’ve finally caved in and bought myself an iphone, after years of having an extremely basic mobile.  Oh, what fun I’ve had this weekend!  Photos taken, messages and emails flying, web pages read and apps downloaded.  Time wasted.  🙂

I am very pleased with the camera so far.  It can’t get quite as close up as my main camera, and won’t zoom so far away – but it’s pretty good.  The lighting was lovely this weekend – very autumnal with alternating sun and heavy showers plus some mist.

Stag's-horn sumach (Rhus typhina) in its autumn glory

Stag’s-horn sumach (Rhus typhina) in its autumn glory

Village church in golden Horton stone

Village church in golden Horton stone

Rainy street and a rainbow

Rainy street and a rainbow – and the old village pump

Misty morning

Misty morning

Minute toadstools, about 1 cm tall, amongst moss

Minute toadstools, about 1 cm tall, amongst moss

I’ve only tried out a few apps so far. A couple of weeks ago, I have to confess to not being entirely sure what an ‘app’ was, but now I know. I like being able to record birds, butterflies, ladybirds and mammals out ‘in the field’ so those are handy, and seem to work pretty well.  I was lucky enough to spot a kingfisher on Saturday, and a jay on Sunday, so the bird recording got off to a very good start, as I don’t often see either of those.  It must have been blue-feathered bird weekend.

A pulse rate app (cardiio) that works by detecting minute changes in face colour (or by a finger over the camera lens) is amazing, and surprisingly accurate too.  It is free, but I’ve just noticed it’s only free ‘for a limited time’. Having the phone even got me out walking/running, so I could try out ‘map my walk‘ – I need a bit more practice to deserve ‘map my run‘ I think though.

So, a busy weekend.


2 Comments

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. 🙂


10 Comments

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.


4 Comments

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


5 Comments

Garden Bioblitz final total

Nothing to do with running, but I’ve got to the end of totalling up all the plants and animals found living wild in my medium-sized garden.  Most of it is only a few metres wide, on a steep bank behind the house.  As mentioned before, it includes a small pond, as well as some mature trees (it is on the site of what used to be an orchard, so includes two very old perry pear trees), some hedge and quite a few shrubs.  Part of the lawn (which was originally orchard) still has wild flowers like Lady’s Smock and Lady’s Bedstraw and Meadow Ants’ nests, and we have several log-piles that have been left to rot for beetles and other beasties.  Wildlife, including weeds, are encouraged.

Red Dead-nettle, Lamium purpureum

Red Dead-nettle, Lamium purpureum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The grand total was… 127!  (And looking through the photos to find one for on here, I’ve seen several more things that didn’t get named.  Next time.)

That includes 12 species of birds, 64 flowering plants, 22 insects, 6 molluscs, 3 spiders, 6 mosses and four crustaceans! (3 woodlouse species and a water-slater – like a woodlouse but in the pond.)  It doesn’t include any garden plants, not even ones that self-seed themselves – that would have added quite a few more on.  It took ages, but was really enjoyable.  The ispot website was great for identifying things I didn’t know (particularly the animals).  Our Great Crested Newt did not deign to show his face, so he isn’t included, but we did see him last week when visitors came round.

So next year, how about having a go – you don’t need to know loads of plants and animals, or spend ages on it.  Even recording just a few common ones is a good start.

I love wildlife.  🙂