Today, the first morning of February, dawned grey, cold and icy. I was out in the fields, feeding hay and breaking ice in water troughs, when a fine, mizzly drizzle began. Mucking out field shelters and clearing the grass, it felt like living inside a cloud. The rain fell more heavily, so I went inside.
In the last hour of afternoon, the sun came out. A pale blue sky dipped down into gold in the west. Vapour trails criss-crossed the sky.
The Ginger pony waited for his supper. As the bowls of feed were mixed with water from the now unfrozen tap, he paced up and down the fence, impatient and snorting, sometimes pawing the earth with a hoof.
Outside, by the Forest gate, the black mare with one blue eye waited, hoping for a handful of hay from the wheelbarrow as we passed.
Tree branches still dripped from earlier rain, while soft white mist began to rise from wet bracken on the heath.
The Grey One, our Forest orphan who will be four years old this spring, enjoyed his bowl of feed. His outer coat was streaked dark grey with water, but underneath, the hair was soft , thick and dry.
This evening I tried taking photos as the ponies ate their hay. It made me realise just how much they move their heads as they pull at the strands of dried grasses to separate them from the pile. The shutter speed on this camera is slow, so the second had passed and the head had moved again each time I tried.
This left a ghostly image of the Ginger pony, working hard at his hay in the evening sunlight.
I raked some oak leaves back to find new green shoots of grass.
Woody had been in his stable for an hour, to be groomed and to have his feed. He was keen to go out again, into the open air.
While we tidied up the yard, the western light softened into palest blue and apricot.........
and then, in white, swirling clouds, the mist rolled in.........
....until the trees in the farthest hedgerow disappeared into gold-grey cloud.
Woody and his owner walked back to his field across the darkening grass. They are there in this photograph, but only if your screen is at its brightest. In twenty minutes, the bright, familiar world of the evening fields was hidden in fog bound night.