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.
It’s cold, wet and very windy outside. Yesterday, it hardly seemed to get bright all day. Everyone was commenting on how dark it was. I’m really looking forward to getting to the other side of the winter solstice! So as it was not a week to try and get new photographs, I’m looking back at some old ones.
I love trees. Any kind of tree but especially big ones! Here is just a taste of some of my favourites. This one is at Raheens Wood, which I have blogged about before (https://murtaghsmeadow.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/bluebells-and-woodlands/). In fact, you can see it is more than one tree. I told the kids that fairies lived there – it just seems like perfect fairy habitat.
The photograph below was taken last April at Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon. It’s a maple tree. You can see the fresh leaves just opening, a nice reminder of spring.
And, even though not big, this old hawthorn and ivy are so beautiful.
You may think it is a strange time of year to be talking about bluebells, but now is a good time to collect bluebell seed and that is one of the reasons we went to Raheens wood, near Castlebar in Co Mayo (http://www.coillteoutdoors.ie/index.php?id=171&rec_site=168&activity=&no_cache=1) over the weekend.
Raheens wood, is a semi natural woodland dating from about 1840. There is hazel, birch, ash and rowan trees and some oak including a relatively recently planted area of oak.
We collected bluebell seed here last year too, and planted it in pots which we then placed in our own woodland. They did germinate and grow, but we’ll have to be patient as it will take anything from 3-7 years before they will flower. It is important never to dig bluebell bulbs up from the wild. The seed we collected this time we have both scattered in our wood and sown into two large pots.
It’s a lovely wood for a walk, plenty to see at any time of year.