What do we expect from Autumn? Leaves, nuts, fruit, fungi, colours and storms!
We’ve already experienced Storm Ophelia (or ex-hurricane Ophelia) which was one of the strongest storms to hit Ireland and caused a lot of damage in the south and south east of Ireland. Some homes are still waiting for their electricity to be restored. It is hard for us to imagine a week without electricity, though our parents and grandparents would have been well used to it (our own area being electrified in 1951). Today, Storm Brian, is passing through, he is not expected to cause as much damage as Ophelia.
Many large trees were felled by Ophelia. This year, we are told is a good seed year for oaks and beech. So it seems appropriate to try and set some seeds to replace some of those that have been lost. We’ve collected some beech nuts from some impressive local beech trees. We’ve also collected some sweet chestnut seeds but only found a few acorns so far.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day one of our collected seeds could look like this (we will of course be long gone!).
Beech tree at Turlough, Co Mayo
The recent winter storms have left their mark in the conifer plantation that lies to the east of our house.
The trees are about 35 years old, mainly pine with some larch and birch. I remember planting them with my father and sister one winter when we were young. They are planted in what was once a bog local people used for cutting turf. The turf was used to heat their houses. When useable turf has been removed from a bog it becomes know as cut-away bog. My parents had bought the individual strips from the locals and tried to reclaim into grassland, but the fields had always been wet and full of rushes. I barely remember it as open fields. Though sometimes I get flashes of memory as to how it once was. At some point my parents decided to plant with trees as forestry grants were available through the government. This year, the majority of the trees, will be clear felled and replanted.
I have been using my camera to try and capture the ‘forest’ – for that is the grand term we give it. Parts of it are dark and lifeless, but other corners are full of character. And I will miss them. The kids will too. When we told them the trees would be cut down their first questions was – “where will we play hide and seek?”
For the storm photographs I have either used the black and white setting on my camera or used the programme picasa to change colour shots into black and white. I’ve also fiddle a bit with cropping and saturation.