pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Friday's Fence - Between Owl Wood & Arnold

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I rather like ramshackle, imperfect things.  Like this fence.  I love the broken and wobbly lines of it.  Perfect, it wouldn't have half the appeal.

I see it every single day as I walk Toby, my old dog, around Owl Wood.

The fence belongs to next door.

You can see the Owl Wood fence to the bottom of the photograph.

Although I could have taken the photographs from their garden, I chose to take the photographs over the fence of Owl Wood, looking towards the neighbours fence.  

Beyond that fence is something very dear to my heart.

It is dear old Arnold.  
The hedge and trees which you can see behind him are the hedging and trees in the photographs.   This was taken before he lost his winter coat.     He looks very much the dandy now with his gleaming summer coat.

I am very happy to be joining in with Friday's Fences with Jan and Jer.  
You will find lots of wonderful fences if you follow the link.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Thatched Houses

One of the things I really enjoy about blogging, is the way it has made me really look at my day-to-day world.  I have come to see that things which I take for granted, scarcely notice any more, may interest my blogging friends.
Like these pretty thatched cottages which line the main road through our nearest market town, Alford.
I know nothing of their age, but I do know they are very old - just check out how small the white door of the end cottage is.  Designed and built when people were built differently from today.
I particularly like this one - just check out the brick work on the ground floor (click to enlarge the photograph)  where windows and arches have been changed at some time.
This white one is very attractive - again, see how
small the door is.  The sign on the front of the house is a sale board, full details can be found here...

This thatched cottage looks as though it is peering over the hedge.
It was originally a row of shops and cottages, which have now been converted into just one house.

I have tried a few times to get a photograph of the house with the gates open - but no luck.

The white building which you can see  next door to it is the rear of the white thatched house in photograph 4 - very cosy!

Alford is a beautiful little market town.  I am planning a post on it, so I won't reveal too many details now.  It has a working windmill, beautiful old shop frontages, almshouses, a very nice market square, etc and is well known for the regular craft fairs which are held throughout the summer on on most Bank Holiday weekends.

I hope you have enjoyed this tiny taste of what will be on offer.

This is a bonus photograph - it is not in Alford and I have shown it before.  It is here simply because it is thatched and I really like it!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

I Was Out Walking Toby When..

..I looked down and saw a four-leaf clover.

Then I spotted another..
and another..

I didn't have my glasses with me and I hadn't gone out looking for them - they just seemed to jump into my sight and eventually I ended up with...

twelve four-leaf clovers.
click to enlarge!

This is the clump of clover, if you look there are lots in there.

Toby stood still for all of two minutes and was anxious to be on his way - so I muttered a "Thank you"  to the four-leaf clover fairy and followed him.

I hadn't gone looking for them, they just waved at me.

My family will tell you that this is not an unusual occurrence for me.  I can be walking along, head in the clouds, glance down and hey presto!  It probably just means that my brain is very good at picking out that particular pattern amongst all the regular clover leaves.

Traditionally four-leaf clovers are supposed to symbolise good luck, especially if found accidentally...  The first leaf is said to represent faith, the second hope, the third  is for love, and the fourth for luck.

I have yet to win the lottery, but I do consider myself to have been lucky in so many ways.

I would love to share these clovers amongst you, but I have read that it is unlucky to do so... I suppose the next best thing would be to offer to show you where this clump of clover is, then you can see for yourself.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Cow Parsley in the Owl Wood

I love the month of May - it is normally the month when the hedgerows burst into life and there is so much  hawthorn blossom that it looks as though the hedges have been sprinkled with snow.

In Owl Wood there is a different magic.

Ivy marches across the pathways and up the trees, if left unchecked.

The bluebells are past their best, still beautiful...but fading.

A beautiful white froth of cow parsley seems to spring up overnight,  to compete with the marching ivy.

Most of it grows to about four feet high, in places it grows to almost six you can imagine what fun that makes walking with Harry.  He scurries away and is hidden from sight.

Toby and the cats get swallowed up by it only to reappear unexpectedly.  Little Red Hen disappears into it for hours at a time.

The trees are surrounded by white foamy flowers.  The effect is quite wonderful.  I keep making excuses to walk Toby and Harry in the Owl Wood; wicked woman that I am it is mainly for the pleasure of walking through the cow parsley.

It changes the quality of the light and looking across the woodland things are viewed as though through gauze.  It is quite magical.

Cow parsley is easily confused with several other similar looking, but poisonous plants - Hemlock being one of them.

I need to get my plant identification book out and study it closely!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Two Bears on the Back of a Lorry...

Luckily I had my camera with me when I saw these two large bears on the back of a small lorry...

Andy Barton, of Chainsaw Carvings, created these beauties and was kind enough to let me photograph them - my initial thought being to show Grandson Harry - but then I thought why not share them with a wider audience?

I would like to think they made a few people grin as they were driven to their new home.

They certainly made George and I smile.

They are carved from Sequoia wood.

I bet Harry would love to find a couple of these in the Owl would I.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Friday's Fences

My daily dog walks frequently take me past this fence.  It leads on to something really special and very beautiful.
I had to take all the photographs from the far side of the fence - I didn't have any money on me to buy admission as I was dog-walking -  so these are pictures of a fence, taken over a fence.

There is a collection of wildfowl, an exhibition area and a tearoom.
There is a lot of water... with fencing to discourage young children from taking a dip.

There is a mill chase...
with a beautiful resident.

This is the main entrance...
Image borrowed from terry moore
of Claythorpe Watermill which was built as a corn mill in 1720.  It was largely rebuilt in the 19th century; then,  in 1890 the top floor was destroyed by fire, and was rebuilt again.  Fire being an ever present threat in a mill.

It was originally powered by a water wheel.  It was the last regularly working watermill in Lincolnshire, but has not been in use since 1977.

One day I really must hand over my entrance money and pay an official visit.

Once again, I am pleased to be joining in Friday's Fences with Jan and Jer - check out some links to lots of  brilliant Friday's Fences here.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Can Anyone Identify This Butterfly?

George found this little beauty in the poly tunnel - it measured approximately two inches across.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Birds and The Bees

My hero, John, called by this afternoon.  He brought us a jar of his honey, as a thank you gift for letting him collect the bees.  We have sampled it and it is truly excellent stuff.

We had a wonderful chat as he reminisced about farming in the 1930's and the great changes he has seen.  It was fascinating stuff, he began working in farming when the power was supplied by horses, witnessed the introduction of tractors and so on to farming today with all the big machinery and technology which that involves.

John was born in Yorkshire and told us how he used to walk the two miles to school every day, only to have the first 15 minutes of every day designated for physical exercise - so after his young legs had walked two miles they would then have to do a series of PT exercises, followed by running twice around the playground at top speed.  This was a small village school with one teacher and about 35 pupils.

We heard tales about his early days on a large estate - where, coincidentally, a friend of mine worked as a housekeeper, about twenty years ago.  Small world!

Our talk moved on to cereal growing and John told us about how all those years ago a field of corn would be dotted with wild flowers, which aphids would live on, these in turn would provide food for young partridges.  He also lamented the lack of skylarks and cuckoos, saying that as he used to work with the horses he would often hear five or six cuckoos and delight in the large number of skylarks.

He is a fascinating man with so many tales to tell, much wisdom to impart.

The bees quickly moved into their new hive and are busily working to make it feel like home.

Unfortunately, a couple of dozen bees got left behind.  They are not at all happy.  They are miniature kamikaze bees.  This afternoon they stung my daughter on the head as she got out of her car - no provocation at all.

This afternoon, while we were working in the vegetable garden, George got stung on the ear.  Another one pursued him into the polytunnel, followed him to the greenhouse and was hell-bent on getting him...  I'm keeping antihistamine cream and tweezers at the ready....

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Ninety-Five and He Still Climbs Ladders...

Tuesday dawned fair, sunny and warm and we spent a very happy morning tackling some long-delayed jobs.
I was just taking a treat to Little Red Hen when I became aware of an all-pervasive hum. I was surrounded by it.    My first thought was that I must have some bees or wasps flying around my head ...mild panic began to set in!
Indeed it did turn out to be bees -  they were swarming onto the branch of a tree.  In that funny way of coincidences, I had only been chatting the previous day to John, (I have posted about him here) one of our wonderful Village Elders, and he said his hive lacked a Queen, so he was hoping for a swarm...
I practically ran up the road to John's house, to see whether these bees would be suitable.   John has been keeping bees since he was 10 years old -  he is 95 now - and still very highly regarded, far and wide, for his knowledge on the subject.  At one time he had 30 hives all in full production.
I was getting very nervous - not so much about the bees - but because I was wondering how on earth John was going to collect this swarm of bees which were located about 7 or 8 feet up a tree.......remember, John is 95 years old and slightly shorter than he used to be!
There was some discussion, with George offering to collect them, but John was insistent that he would do it...we did some rapid thinking and I suggested that perhaps we could get the scaffolding set up to give him a secure platform.  I still wasn't happy at the idea of him scaling the ladders, but one problem at a time...
To cut a long story short - here is John, up the ladders and sweeping the bees into a box.  I was terrified that  he would trip or fall.  I know John's family sometimes reads this blog:  Please accept my apologies, we made it as safe as we could, we tried to dissuade him from climbing, but he is a stubborn man!    
George only got stung twice while he was supporting the ladders and making sure that John would have a reasonably soft landing if he took the short route down...
I am happy to report that everything went well.  John is remarkably spry, all things considered.  Apart from having to use a stick, he moves like a spring chicken.  As I type we are still waiting for the last few bees to go inside the hive and then John will come back and take the box of bees to his place where there is a hive ready and waiting for them.

I'll keep you posted!
Hot off the press......
This is John and George wrapping the bees ready for transportation...a couple of hundred yards up the road, by car...
George carrying the buzzing box out to John's car....brave man.  Apologies for the poor quality, night was falling, the light has gone.......and so have the bees.  Yippee!