The Final Harvest …

03/08/2013 § 2 Comments

… maybe … for Barton Farm, Winchester

A long campaign was staged to prevent the development of this ‘green lung’ of farmland that reaches almost to the centre of Winchester.  However, the death knell has sounded and planning permission, as many suspected it would, has been granted for 2000 homes to be built on the fields, along with other facilities – a school, shops, health centre etc etc.

There are websites, easily found, that show the battle and the glossy professionalism of media-friendly plans.  Whatever the rights and wrongs, I will simply miss the farm where I walk the dogs so I thought, just in case the final harvest is being gathered in, we’d go for a long walk in the summer sunshine and enjoy it.

We start out from home and within 2 minutes are walking up a broad avenue of trees next to the Andover Road out of Winchester.  Usually our walk takes just under an hour, but today with photo-loitering we won’t be home for almost 2 hours!

Up the hill, past the farm cottages

Up the hill, past the farm cottages

We can see for miles and miles

We can see for miles and miles

In the Spring, these fields were vivid yellow with oilseed rape flowers now golden with their seed pods

In the Spring, these fields were vivid yellow when the oilseed crop is in flower, but now golden with their seed pods.  We’re on the footpath with a line of copper beeches to our right

Rosebay Willow Herb grow alongside the footpath

Rosebay Willow Herb grows in the fallow strip between the footpath and the crop

The girls, having fun

The girls, having fun

Decision time - to the left or right of the trees? Down towards the railway line.

Decision time – to the left or right of the trees down towards the railway line?  It’s hot in the sunshine so we choose the shady side this afternoon.

Looking back towards home - I can see this corner of the field clearly from our house so next time I'll remember the zoom lens to see if I can pick out home

Looking back towards home – I can see this corner of the field clearly from our house so next time I’ll remember the zoom lens to see if I can pick out home

Belle can see cyclists whizzing down the other track - she's our scout, Misty as always checking that I'm not far behind.

Belle can see cyclists whizzing down the farm track – she’s our scout – out in front, Misty as always checking that I’m not far behind.

Leads on to go up and under the railway bridge - Misty still can't resist a cyclist!

Leads on to go up and under the railway bridge – Misty still can’t resist a cyclist!

It's a bit steep so the girls give me a welcome tow

It’s a bit steep so the girls give me a welcome tow.  Make a wish if a train passes whilst we’re under the bridge.  But today …

Make a wish if a train passes whilst we're under the bridge!

We’ve just missed the London train!  Half a dozen passenger & freight trains rumbled past us this afternoon.   We’re minutes from Winchester station so It’s a busy mainline up to the smoke and down to the coast.

The wheat looks ready to harvest - next week and this field will be shorn and stubbly

The wheat looks ready to harvest – by the end of next week this field will be shorn and stubbly

We've properly warmed up now, ready for our walk home along tree-lined suburbia

We’ve properly warmed up now, ready for our walk home on the pavements in tree-lined suburbia

Misty always furthest away from the road, my lovely girls walking to heel all the way home.

Misty always furthest away from the road, my lovely girls walking to heel all the way home.

Did you enjoy our walk?  When will the building start?  I’m not sure – there are phases and phases so it will be many years until the farm is fully developed but I wanted to capture my walk this summer.  The girls and I enjoy the farm in snow, howling gales, storms and summer sunshine – early mornings and late into the evenings.  Last week a little vixen poked her nose out of the crop just ahead of the blissfully unaware collies – she slinked off into the undergrowth and was long gone by the time they picked up her scent.  I’ve seen a deer and her fawn, red kites, sparrowhawks,  buzzards with their offspring, a merlin, larks in springtime – they’ll all have to move north to the open farmland beyond Barton Farm.

Last evening, finally we took Dolly (our campervan) out for a jaunt and cooked our supper in the New Forest.  Absolute bliss.  Dolly has been having a very long winter’s rest which has taken her right into the heat of summer – the time needed to be right and it’s finally arrived.  We had such a wonderful supper – a hastily chopped up salad with olives & artichoke hearts and freshly seared tuna steaks.  The girls had a whole patch of forest to explore and so many sticks to play with.

Dolly in the New Forest - supper time!

Dolly in the New Forest at supper time!

We’ve just arrived back for more jaunting and I’ve packed up my cushions and new quilts ready for Winchester’s Vintage and Retro Market tomorrow – it’s all go!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  What have you been up to?

Adaliza x

A walk in the New Forest …

14/11/2012 § Leave a comment

plus lots of splashing, chasing, fighting over a stick and having lots of fun!

Our girls’ favourite place to run and splash has to be the New Forest.

Just imagine how lovely they smelled in the back of the car on the way home!!!

Happy Days!  Hope you’re enjoying your week.

Adaliza x

PS – the dragon is destined to go onto a taupe & pink stripey cushion so I’m off for a bit of me time in the sewing studio. I’ll show you the result when I’m done!

Summer delights …

04/06/2012 § Leave a comment

A couple of evenings ago, as I sat on our patio, with Flora quacking softly at my feet, the heady scent of elderflower filled the air.  Our garden has a couple of large elderflower bushes – we like to keep things a bit wild – it grows like a weed!  There and then I decided I had to capture that scent and I dived indoors for Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook. I haven’t used this book very much since I bought it a couple of years ago – it has such a delicious cover, I didn’t ever need to open it!

I can never exactly follow a recipe, but I made Elderflower Cordial, without oranges or limes, and added a couple of bay leaves – it’s amazing!

It made 2 full bottles, but I keep drinking it – diluted with lemonade and a sprig of mint.  While the bushes are still blooming, I thought I’d better make some more – this time I’d run out of lemons, so oranges and limes have been thinly sliced up instead …

Inspired by success, I decided to try Sarah’s Strawberry ice-cream recipe.  I put my trusty ice-cream bowl in the freezer a couple of days ago and this afternoon I’ve whizzed up some strawberries, elderflower cordial and double cream then poured it into the frozen bowl for 20 minutes of churning …

and then into 2 small tubs and into the freezer …

We’re having friends round this evening so I hope to rustle up a quick and pretty pud.

Yesterday we ventured out in Dolly for a day in the New Forest.  A few friends have asked why I called her Dolly – well, she’s my dolls-house on wheels!  I used to love – absolutely love – my dolls house when I was little and the minute I stepped up into Dolly she reminded me of how much fun it is to play house.  We exercised the collies, parked up and made tea, enjoyed the view, witnessed some amazing natural horsemanship, counted foxgloves and saw elephants feet …

and Belle loves chasing her ball …

She’s so damn fast that it’s really difficult to catch her on camera!  She look so pleased with herself on her way back to drop the ball at her master’s feet.

There’s bunting and the hammock strung between the apple trees.  Fingers crossed that it stays dry so we can eat outside this evening.  I’m so enjoying having this week as half-term holiday – a whole week to relax before the last few weeks of term.

Adaliza

Autumniness in the Forest …

21/09/2011 § Leave a comment

Bramble berries & russet oak, fallen giants & forest ferns …

Bramble Berries

Russet Oak

Fallen Forest Giant

Forest Ferns

Plump ponies, tiny forest-floor blossoms & marvellous cappuccino-coloured fungus …

New Forest Pony

Forest Floor Flowers

Fungus

The New Forest is amazing at this time of year.  Abundant wildlife, enjoying the feasts of brambles and haws; festive berries just turning ripe and lots of fun in the mud & puddles …

Forest View

Holly for Christmas

Bog Dog

Enjoying a splash

Playing in the Forest

Autumn is my favourite season of the year.  There’s still some summer-warmth in the sun’s rays but there’s also expectation of the need to conserve & preserve the fat & fruits of the harvest.  There’s the awakening of some long-mellowed instinct to create a warm and cosy home, ready for the frosty mornings and frozen nights.

I need to gather berries, make jam, break out the blankets and bask in the few remaining moments of warmth in the sun.  Time for wellies & walking boots – and a clothes peg for my nose as we travel home with 2 very smelly collies!

Adaliza x

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