Saturday, 10 December 2011

In Winter Fields

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.


My Spotty Pony said...

Lovely pictures, the holly laden with berries is wonderful!
Most of our horses are still very round. The grass has continued to grow with all the mild weather we have had this autumn. However, winter blew in with such a force this week so it looks set to change.

Bovey Belle said...

Chocolate drop is looking a little . . . rotund! He has done well this autumn methinks. He looked quite Exmoorish in that photo so I wonder if there is a drop of Exmoor in his genetic makeup?

I am glad that Jay is enjoying his rug. I have to say, rugs make the food go further because there is a lot less of their food going to keeping them warm.

Lovely photos (and so familiar).

We still have lots of hawthorn berries left along the hedgerows and along the A40 into Llandeilo, the sloe bushes, bare of leaves, are black with fruit still.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a lovely post DW - your countryside is so much more temperate than ours up here. I love all those ponies. We still have a lot of grass about but sadly the fields are so wet that we cannot leave anything out apart from the sheep and they need their pedicures fortnightly in order to keep them alright on the wet ground.

Kath said...

smashing photos, I do enjoy seeing the ponies, it takes me back to my pony owning years when we struggled across frozen ruts with containers of water, because the pipes had frozen, struggling to fill hay nets singlehandedly in the dark, with gusty winds. And yes I loved it at the time!

helen tilston said...

I love your images. There is a full and plenty air to your place. Is it a symbol of the winter weather when the holly is showing lots of berries?

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

Such gorgeous pictures, I've looked in vain for holly with berries recently.

Karen said...

Yep, my car shows the result of birds eating the holly berries at the neighbor's house. Shall have to get it washed this week.

The feeders are out in my small garden and so far just house finches, but I expect the boreal birds (the ones who live in the boreal forests of Canada in the summer) will be here soon.

angryparsnip said...

What a lovely walk, Thank you for taking us along. Love love love the ponies !

cheers, parsnip

Jane The Booklady said...

How lovely to join you on your walk. I have been meaning to take a winter walk in the forest but have not yet managed it! I've been lucky enought to pick some good bunches of holly and mistletoe too. Jane x

Morning's Minion said...

What an inviting title for your post--it would suit a poem or a piece of music as well as a photo essay. Its interesting how he gorse and bracken give a look of light to a landscape slowly turning to winter's shades of brown.
Horses with their winter coats grown in look so changed from their sleek summer selves.