Category Archives: seasons

Seven days of wildflowers. 🌸

For the past seven days I’ve chosen a wild flower that I’ve seen on my daily walk with Hugo, and found out a few facts about each flower.

Saturday ~ Bluebell. There’s nothing more stunning than a carpet of bluebells in the Spring. I saw clumps of these gorgeous violet blue flowers on a walk today through a patch of woodland by the river. Here are a few facts about bluebells.

Other names for Bluebell include Wild Hyacinth, Wood Bell, Granfer Giggle, Witches Thimble, Cuckoo’s Boot, Bell Bottle and Lady’s Nightcap.

It is against the law to pick, uproot or intentionally destroy bluebells.

Bluebells can also be pink or white.

The bluebell is the flower of St George.

In folklore fairies ring the bells to gather together their fairy kin. If humans hear blue bells ring however, disaster will befall them. 😬

Sunday ~ Cowslip. There are lots of cowslips in bloom at the local nature reserve in Salthill Quarry. They tend to thrive in meadows, dry grassy banks, grass verges and in open woodland. Here are a few cowslip facts.

Cowslip apparently means cow pat! It has been noted that the flowers spring up around where cows have ‘slupped’.

Tea made from the flowers can be used to help cure headaches and insomnia.

In countryside tradition cowslips were strewn along the church path at weddings and put in May Day garlands.

Other names for cowslip include Bunch of Keys, Lady’s fingers, Yellowdrops , Freckled Face & Fairies Flower.

Cowslips are the food of the Duke of Burgundy caterpillar.

Monday ~ Germander Speedwell. These little beauties were growing amongst a patch of primroses next to Mearley Brook. I love the bright blue colour of speedwells. πŸ’™ Here are a few facts about the Germander Speedwell.

Other names that speedwells go by include Birds Eye and Cats Eye.

The flowers are a good luck charm for travellers. A speedwell worn in a button hole will ‘ speed you well ‘ on your journey.

The speedwells Latin name is Veronica Chamaedrys. It is said that a St Veronica wiped Christ’s forehead on the way to his crucifixion and an image of Jesus’s face was left imprinted on the cloth she used. Speedwell flowers resemble little faces.

In Germany speedwells are also known as ‘ mannertreu ‘ or ‘ men’s faithfulness ‘. Ironically the flowers wilt very quickly once picked.

In ancient medicine speedwells were used to cure many ailments especially coughs and congestion.

Tuesday ~ Yellow Archangel. As well as bluebells, the woodland floor near Standen Hall is covered in a hooded spring flower , the Yellow Archangel. Though I prefer to call it by one of its other names, the Yellow weasel snout. πŸ™‚

Although it is a member of the Dead-Nettle family, the Yellow Archangel doesn’t sting.

If you want to know what a weasel smells like, crush the plants leaves. The rank aroma will give you some idea apparently.

The Yellow Archangel flowers near the 27th of April, a day dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

The flower has been used in the past to protect cattle against a black magic disease.

Red Dead-Nettles and White Dead-Nettles are closely related to their yellow flowered cousin.

Wednesday ~ Wild Garlic. An indicator of ancient woodland, this time of year is ideal for foraging the leaves of ramsons or wild garlic. They can also flower on roadside verges, where I saw the above. Here are some facts about Wild Garlic.

Wild garlic leaves and flowers can be used in many recipes including garlic scones and wild garlic pesto.

The plant is also known as Bear Garlic. It’s Latin name is Allium Ursinum ( bear leek). On the continent brown bears like to feast on the leaves.

Cats are apparently repelled by the smell of wild garlic.

In Ireland wild garlic bulbs were put into the thatched roofs of cottages for good luck.

If you forage wild garlic leaves , do not confuse with the similar looking Lily of the valley, which is highly toxic and should not be eaten. The best way to know your garlic is to check with your nose.

Thursday ~ Bugle. Down by the brook I spied several bugles. They can be found in damp grassland and woodland.

The Bugles Latin name is Ajuga reptans. Reptans means creeping & crawling, rather like how the plant spreads on underground runners.

The sixteenth century physician and naturalist William Turner described the plant as ‘ a black herb that groweth in moist ground and shadowy places’. It was used in ancient medicine to stop bleeding.

Bugles are popular with bees and butterflies.

The herb was made into a tea in Austria to help with respiratory conditions.

Friday ~ Red Campion. Today’s flower is pretty in pink , one of the first pink blooms of Spring. Red campions grow on woodland edges, in hedgerows and fields. These were by Mearley Brook. Here are some facts about Red Campion.

Red campion is also known by the names of Adder Flower, Red Catchfly and Robin Hood.

On the continent Red Campion are a scorpion scarer! Scorpions are not fond of red campions , throwing one at a scorpion renders it’s sting useless apparently. Don’t think I would want to try this out!

In fairy folklore Red campion is said to have been used by fairy folk to protect their honey stores.

Another name for the pink flower is Bachelor s Button, perhaps the flower was worn in single fellows button holes at country weddings, once upon a time.

Red campions roots were once used as a substitute for soap.

Of course every day more and more flowers appear! It’s so lovely to see them on my daily walks. What wild flowers have you noticed this week?

Three Things ~ February.

Here’s a short blog post idea I found over on Bev’s blog. Hopefully now we are in March, I will try and post a little more!

Three Things I Liked In February.

1. Snowdrops. A welcome sign of Spring in the wettest February ever.

2. Watching Kiefer Sutherland’s band play at King George’s Halls with some friends. He comes across as a really nice guy, just like his character in Designated Survivor on Netflix, which I’m also watching.

3. Visiting my local Everyman Cinema. I’ve sneeked away for a couple of week day matinees at the new picture house in town. Watched both Emma and Like A Boss recently.

Kiefer Sutherland at King George’s Hall. Like a movie star actually came to Blackburn!

Three Things I’m Looking forward to in March.

1. Some dry weather. Need to get out of my wellies!

2. Spending some time at the caravan. We are up there in eleven days, and I really cannot wait!

3. Spring!!

Three Vegetables I eat the most.

1. Potatoes. 2. Cherry tomatoes. 3. Carrots.

Three items that are always on my groceries list.

1. Petfood. 2. Peanut butter ( my guilty pleasure on toast…. sometimes with marmite…eeeek) 3. Tin tomatoes.

Three Things we go through like crazy in my house. 1. Washing powder ( mostly for washing Hugo’s bedding and towels, especially in this weather). 2. Scented Candles. 3. Wild bird food.

Three things I always make time for.

1. Cuddles with my fur babies.

2. Recording wildlife I see in my Nature Diary.

3. I hope I make enough time to see friends & family, but I feel I need to be better at this.

Three Things I never make time for.

1. Pampering myself. I should really.

2. Going to the gym. Erm nope!

3. Meditation. My mind would wander. πŸ™‚

Blackthorn blossom, a harbinger of Spring. πŸ™‚

Thanks for dropping by. ❀️

Frost.

Our last weekend at the caravan before we closed it down for the Winter was idyllic. Cold, fine and frosty. This is what Melmerby looked like on Saturday morning. Jack Frost had sprinkled his magic.

We headed into Keswick later that morning. Hugo enjoyed playing with his inflatable in the lake. Didn’t see many other wild swimmers. πŸ˜‰

After lunch we headed back to the Eden Valley as Keswick was bustling with festive shoppers. We parked up in Edenhall and enjoyed the quiet solitude of a countryside walk. The combination of frost and mist was both eerie and magical.

This morning we left a beautiful winter wonderland for our rather green Lancashire home.

Hello December. ❄️

Autumn in Strid Wood.

If your thinking of partaking in a Woodland walk this October, you can’t go far wrong with a wander along the woodland trails at the Bolton Abbey Estate in the Yorkshire Dales.Β  We took our dog Hugo here this morning and despite it being a soggy rainy day, we had a fab time enjoying the sights and sounds of Strid Wood. The Autumn colours are stunning at this time of year. And after despairing of not finding any fungi on local walks near where I live in Clitheroe, here at Bolton Abbey there are mushrooms and toadstools galore….
Here are a few images from our time on the estate. If you can identify any of the fungi I haven’t ( which is most of it! ) I would love your help. πŸ™‚

Male and female mandarin ducks. Saw lots of these beautiful birds.






Cauliflower Fungus.


Robin.

A rare sighting of a kingfisher sitting still. πŸ™‚


Possible Mallard Hybrid.


Beech nuts.

Have you enjoyed any Autumn walks recently?

Wild October. πŸπŸ„

The season is turning to Autumn and the natural world is abundant with colour. A quick glance at Pinterest and I was engulfed in Autumn inspired poetry and quotes.

I can smell Autumn dancing in the breeze, the sweet chill of pumpkin and crisp sunburnt leaves. ( Unknown).

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall. ( E. Scott Fitzgerald).

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree. ( Emily Bronte).

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are October’s. ( Anne of Green Gables).

To celebrate the beauty of the natural world in October I’m joining in with the hashtag #wildoctober2019 on Instagram & Twitter. Why not bob over and post your own Wild October finds too. Here are some of the photos I’ve taken so far…

Horse Chestnut, Clitheroe Castle.

Cuckoo Pint Berries, Ladies Walk, Edenhall & Langwathby.

These look like tiny green flowers but I was informed on Twitter they are actually whorls of leaves on Hedge Bedstraw. Found in Melmerby.

Purple Callicarpa Berries, Clitheroe Castle.

Autumn leaves, Ladies Walk, Edenhall to Langwathby.

A collection of conkers in the pub. πŸ™‚

This weekend I’ve been at the caravan with Wil and Hugo. It’s the first weekend we’ve visited in cooler weather, so it was important to stay snug and warm. My tips for keeping cosy in Autumn are…..

Always have throws and cushions nearby.

I like to light a scented candle.

Cook something hearty and tasty like this yummy Veggie Curry .

Keep a favourite book or magazine to hand.

Or watch some well loved old movies. For an Autumn vibe try Hocus Pocus, When Harry Met Sally, Practical Magic, Beetlejuice or The Craft.

Indoors I live in my slipper boots. πŸ™‚

Outdoors I live in my Wellies! Head for a pub with a roaring fire after a woodland walk.

Keep Cosy.

Enjoy your Wild October. πŸπŸ„πŸ•ΈοΈπŸ¦‡

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

I am loving Kate’s words for September, they are giving this post a glowing Autumn vibe. If you would like to see more interpretations of the prompts that Kate chose , please pop over to her lovely blog.. ☺️

Cosy. Here is Simba the cat looking very cosy in his usual spot, on a table at the entrance of an Amsterdam restaurant. It was definitely his presence that attracted us there……..and the cheese!

Changing foliage. Autumn colours in Clitheroe town centre. After the glorious Indian Summer type weather we have recently experienced, it does feel more Autumnal now.

Scarf. I do actually have a recent photo of myself wearing a scarf. This was taken on Allonby Beach in Cumbria. In the distance you can make out Scotland, separated by the Solway Firth.

Baking. I’m not one for doing much baking ( as you can probably tell!) but this prompt did encourage me to bake this pear and ginger loaf cake. Hurrah! A recipe can be found here.

Cobweb. A misty Monday morning walk down by the river gave me ample opportunity to photograph cobwebs……….as there were thousands of them! It’s scary to imagine how many spiders are out there. πŸ•ΈοΈ

My Own Choice. This was taken last night on a Bat Walk organized by the Ribble Rivers Trust. My niece and nephew with Bat Detectors. Bats love water apparently and trees ( especially in hedges and on the edge of woods) as both attract insects. They can eat up to a thousand pesky midges a night, as well as other insects and even small fish. The Bat detectors enable the human ear to listen into bat calls which are mostly too high pitched for us to hear. We were able to detect Common Pipistrelles , Noctules and Daubenton’s Bats ( water bats) with the help of the detectors. It was an amazing and fun experience. πŸ™‚

Thanks for dropping by.

February Flora and Fauna.

A wonderful few days weather wise. Enough sunshine to put a spring in everyone’s step.😁 Here are some camera shots.. and a few phone photos of birds and blossom taken over the weekend ,and when out and about late this afternoon. The sun shone, bees buzzed and I even saw my first butterfly of the year flutter by. All this as temperatures hit 20Β°c in February!

Rook.

Wild Plum Blossom.

Mute Swan Mum & Offspring.

Gorse in bloom.

Sika Deer in Brungerly Park.:)

White Butterbur.

Pussy Willow.

Hazel Catkins.

Moorhen.

Celandine.

Owl.

Fell Pony.

Blackthorn Blossom.

Meadow Pippit.

Canada Geese.

Crocuses.

Pack horse bridge. Spot Hugo taking a dip in the brook.

What early signs of Spring have you seen recently?

Spooky walk at Bolton Abbey.

I have visited the beautiful Bolton Abbey Estate on the banks of the river Wharfe many times in both the Spring and Summer, but never in Autumn before. A mistake I believe, as this is now my favourite time of year to explore the Priory ruins and the acres and acres of woodland trails. We were meeting up with my Sister and her family as well as our cousin and her husband, who were holidaying in the area.

Autumn Half Term is a great time to visit with the kids, as spooky goings on are happening deep in the woods. A family friendly Pumpkin Trail with hidden clues to unravel a witches spell, is proving a spooktacular attraction. πŸ„ You can pick up a leaflet from the Cavendish Pavillion Shop.

The estate is also pet friendly with miles of on and off lead walks to enjoy. And plenty of chances for a dip in the river. πŸ˜‰

Car parking is quite expensive. Β£10 per vehicle, although the ticket does let you move round the various car parks on the estate. Make the most of your day there and pack a picnic or visit one of the cafes on site. We liked The Strid Tearooms , a short walk from the end of the pumpkin trail, and they welcome four legged friends.

As well as completing the trail, the kids also enjoyed the Welly Walk, playing in the river and looking for wildlife. The Wharfe was teaming with various bird life including Herons, Dippers, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtails and Ducks.

Here are a few photos from our day. We spent a good five hours exploring and loved the Autumn colours. πŸ™‚

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Bolton Abbey.

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The graveyard of the priory church of st Mary & st Cuthbert.

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Celtic cross.

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Hugo and Stepping Stones.

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Through the spooky gates to the start of The Pumpkin Trail.

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Witches legs. πŸ™‚

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The Strid, River Wharfe.

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Dipper.

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Male Mandarin Duck.

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Grey Heron.

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Autumn colours.

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Fairytale Fungi. πŸ„

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Family on the trail.

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Giant Pumpkin.

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Spooky Spider.

Caught in a web. πŸ™‚

Crayfish catch.

Past posts from visits to Bolton Abbey, if you wish to read them ~Β Camping trip ~ Catgill Campsite, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales. andΒ Easter Holiday Fun at Bolton Abbey.

Sunday Sevens 14th October.

Today I thought I would round off my week with a Sunday Sevens, seven or more pictures from the last 7 days.

A Witchy Walk.

Even though we are busy decorating the kitchen at the moment ( when I say we, I really mean Wil ! ) , we did take time out for a walk in Aitken Wood near Barley. Pendle Witch country, the little conifer woods here are home to a spooky sculpture trail that tells the story of the Lancashire witch trials of 1612 . I have now reached 1300 miles walked in 2018, so still hoping to complete 1500 by the end of the year.

Guilty Pleasures. 😈

So I’m in love with the devil ! Fantasy horror writer Neil Gaiman is one of the creators of the supernatural characters in Lucifer, a TV series about the original fallen angel, the devil himself. Now residing in LA, Lucifer is keen to learn more about humanity and is even using his devilish powers for good ( well kind of πŸ˜‰ ), working as detective Chloe Decker’s wickedly sexy sidekick. Swoon! I am late to the party as usual…but totally loving this show. ❀️ You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

Witchy Read.

Also very appropriate for this time of year, how about a supernatural romance that begins in Autumn and is set in historical Oxford? Diana Bishop is a young scholar ( and reluctant witch) , who unwitingly stumbles upon an ancient enchanted manuscript, buried deep in Oxford’s Bodleian library. It’s discovery both thrills and disturbs the supernatural community, who all want to get their hands on both it and the young witch who summoned it. Diana finds herself being both hunted and protected by an ancient brooding vampire called Matthew Clairmont. This book has apparently just been made into a fantasy series on Sky, so one to look out for. For now though, I’ll just curl up with this couldron bubbling paperback romance. πŸ•ΈοΈ

Skipper Stew.

The first recipe we tried from The Little Book Of Hygge was a success! We made Skipper Stew which is a winter warming stew, perfect for Autumn and Winter. As its name suggests Skipper Stew was originally made on ships. The main ingredients are brisket ( though any meat will do), chicken stock, onions and potatoes. We served it with sourdough bread and pickled red cabbage instead of the suggested Pickled beets and Rye bread though. You can also find the recipe online here.

Wine Tasting. 🍷

Yesterday I was lucky enough to go to a Wine Tasting in Waddington with some friends. At first we were all very professional , swirling our glasses round and declaring ‘ I detect hints of elderflower’ , but it soon descended into chaos when we realised there were fifty bottles to try, in a two hour time slot. Haha. Great idea! If your thinking about wine now , check out www.winesbytimbyrne.co.uk

So that was my week, how was yours?