On Wednesday morning, before the storm winds blew in, I walked around the field boundaries to check the fences and to see what changes the December frost had made. In the hedge bottom, a frosted toadstool had been nibbled by rabbits.
The beech trees are almost bare of leaves now, but their beechmast shows against the sky and the silvery buds of next spring`s leaves are waiting, tightly closed on slender, pointed twigs. Oak trees gradually lose their leaves, but so far there are still good coverings on more sheltered trees.
Fruit on the tree ivy is ripening from green to black. A rich food source for winter birds.
Through a tracery of bare branches in the hedge, dry, rusty brown bracken has been trampled down by ponies and cattle on the Forest heathland. There are more bright yellow blossoms on the gorse this week.
This field has been rested, ungrazed, for several months. The grass is a rich green and the ponies will need to be introduced to it gradually over the winter months.
The Chocolate Pony is coming into winter looking much too round! He and the Ginger Pony are having very little hay as there is still enough grass in their summer field. He wandered over to have a chat and to investigate my camera.
In the hedge bottom, I saw an old buck rabbit disappear down this rabbit hole before I had the chance to catch him with my camera.
The hawthorn hedge in Woody`s field was covered in berries this autumn, but only a few remain after flocks of migrating blackbirds and thrushes recently called in for a feast.
Woody was munching his breakfast hay while keeping an eye on our neighbour`s pretty young chestnut mare on the other side of the hawthorn hedge.
A companionable breakfast for the Grey One and his new friend Jay, who was glad to have his rug on when the rain and Arctic winds blew in later this week.
This year we had masses of holly berries and most of them have been eaten by birds. Thankfully, the berries on this tree seem less appetizing than the others in the hedge, so I cut down a few sprigs today and they have come inside, to decorate the house for Christmas.