Friday, 29 November 2013

Back to Blogging - An Autumn Day in Forest fields

I seem to have been away from blogging for the summer! Where does the time go?

It has been busy here, with builders sorting out and renovating some outbuildings. Roofing was repaired and a porch replaced. Jobs completed that have been waiting for quite a few years.
With builders around so much, and with the dry, bright summer that kept us outside for days on end, there was little time for loading photographs and writing a blog. Hopefully the autumn days and dark evenings will let me catch up again.

Earlier this week, we had a beautiful, crisp autumnal morning so I took my camera with me as I walked the field boundaries to check the fences. 

The oaks in the boundary hedge are still in leaf and turning colour from dull green and yellow to rusty brown. This year we have had a heavy acorn harvest. Over forty New Forest ponies, depastured on the open Forest, have died this year, from acorn poisoning. The commoners have put pigs out to eat the acorns, but their efforts would have been a drop in the ocean. The ground beneath oak trees has been covered with sheets of brown acorns that crunch beneath your feet as you walk.

We have put up electric fencing around most of the oaks overhanging the fields but preventing our ponies from finding acorns has been almost impossible with the strong winds of recent weeks. We just have to do our best and hope.

The ancient beech tree along the boundary has already lost its leaves. Sunlight catches the new buds waiting for another spring.

This younger beech, probably a daughter tree to the ancient one, still keeps its deep rust leaves.

  Sunshine catches the gold in this smaller, lower growing beech.

The Grey One and Jay finished their breakfast hay in the sun. Winter coats are growing thicker and fluffier as day length shortens and night temperatures begin to drop.

The  old Golden Pony has had a good summer. She gained weight and moved well, enjoying summer grass and the companionship of her neighbours. Last winter she lost condition and we wondered if she would make it through another. We take it from day to day. So far, she is contented and doing well. If the time comes, we will call the vet, but if she is coping well then she will get the care and support she needs. Decisions like this are the hardest thing, especially when an animal has been part of the family for so many years.

Ginger and the Chocolate Pony carry on with their lives, eating and playing games.
Full of curiosity, they make it hard to take photographs without a velvet nose getting in the way!

Back in the garden, our neighbour`s old lime tree is late to turn colour, catching morning sunlight and  throwing dappled shadows over the grass.

 Rich reds of the American Liquid Amber are changing every day, bright in their contrast with the subtle browns and golds of British native trees.