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Annual Spring Report

It is interesting to look back on my previous spring reports and compare between the different years.

This year beats all the previous ones in terms of early blooming.

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We have had a very mild winter with next to no snow, and then the last part of April was exceptionally warm, …..

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…….so the woods turned green record early, and everything was suddenly in bloom.

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On May 1st. when these photos were taken, a little bit of winter had returned. Showers of snow are coming down from the north.

In between the showers, the sun comes out, and everything looks like summer again, ……

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…. but it is quite cold when venturing outside.  I love the colour of new leaves when the sun filters through.

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The white wagtail  (motacilla alba)  has returned from Africa, and is busy patrolling our veranda bannister, hopping and flying up and down outside the windows to catch insects hiding between the wall boards.

In between he rests on the telephone line.

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The cherries and plums are in bloom record early. During the warmer days earlier, a few bumble bees were busy visiting the flowers, but there are not a lot of other insects around yet.

 

All the narcissuses have been out for at least a week, and hopefully they will last a bit longer now the weather has turned cold again.

 

Hopefully that will also be the case with the rhododendrons and tulips as well, – some of the latter being nearly finished already.

The strawberry bench is in good shape already, and the blueberries have been blooming for two weeks. I cannot remember seeing blueberries in bloom in April before.

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It is even earlier than the spring of 2011, which was the best one before now, since I started taking photos in 2009.

Spring has been really good this far, so I will not complain about a little cold and snow, even if it is May.

(As long as there is no real frost, that is.)

🙂

Eldrid

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It’s Cold

The weather has been cold and clear lately, – perfect for the growing of ice crystals.  The pictures below are a small part of the result of two ten minute photo safaris in our garden area, – one yesterday, and one today.  Choosing which pictures to show out of the two hundred or so, took much longer than shooting them.

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The crystals have grown quite big, – they are almost like small plants with leaf rosettes, and they are everywhere on grassy areas.

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On the tree stump, a bit higher off the ground, they are not quite so big.

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The small heather plants are nearly covered by ice crystal “plants”.

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They tend to “grow” in clumps.

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As happened with the star crystals last week, I am reluctant to step on any of these wonders.

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But it is impossible to move without doing so.

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When stepping on to the grass, you can hear a faint sound, as if millions of miniature glasses fall and break.

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… or like you are wading through heaps of tiny, tiny glass shards.

Below are some more photos, – I couldn’t stop myself  …   😉

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On some of the photos I have tweaked the contrast quite a bit to better show off the fabulous patterns.

The last photo below, I also turned to gray scale. Some of the crystals are very, very thin and transparent.

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I hope all of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the winter time.

🙂

Eldrid

Falling Stars

The weather has been very good lately, – what snow there was around Christmas rained away, and this last week the weather has been cold and clear, with no snow on the ground.

As we drove home early this afternoon, the skies were gray, and we noticed a few tiny white specs falling through the air.

Walking from the garage to the house, I suddenly stopped short, exclaiming: There are stars on the ground!

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I immediately put my bag down and got my camera out.

Please don’t step on any of them before I have taken some photos, I asked my husband.

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Then I had to laugh at the impossibility of my own request; –  the stars were everywhere, and we could not move without stepping on several at a time.

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There was more than enough both to photograph and to walk on.

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They were all over the wooden steps…

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… and on the grass…

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… and on the cold stones.

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We do not often see snow crystals like this here, – most often the snow comes down in big flurries, – not tiny stars like these.

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We were lucky to spot them when we did. A few minutes later it was raining.

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Just a few tiny drops, however, – and then we got a little bit more snow. But not stars this time.

Does walking on stars mean good luck?

I hope so.

🙂

Eldrid

Autumn by the Roadside

Both the calendar, the colours, the temperature, and the shorter days tell us that summer is definitely over, and autumn has arrived.

The strawberries we feasted on this summer are finished, but the plants are still a feast for the eyes each time I walk past.

Last week we had some very nice weather, so I brought my camera along as I went for a walk.

At this time of year, we are almost sure to have frost during the night as soon as the skies are clear.

It usually melts when the sun comes out, – at least in places where there are no shadows.

I like the look of the frosty-edged leaves.

It gives each leaf a definition we do not usually see.

These are almost like bird feathers.

The grass in this roadside ditch would not normally catch my eye. But on this day the frost is about to melt when I am passing, and the sun makes everything glitter and shine.

At the top, the ice has turned to water, but further down it is still partly ice.

Looks like something is growing inside the drops, but it is just the reflection of the grass below.

The three photos above are all details picked from the photo below:

Moving the camera closer into the ditch, it reveals treasure upon treasure.

Strings of pearls everywhere.

Further along, there are more interesting plants, like this moss….

.. and a mushroom in permanent shadow, where the ice has not melted since the first frosty night.

More glittering grass….

… and frosted ferns.

Inevitably, we got some more rain, and the beauties above are almost all gone.

This week I have been admiring the birch tree outside the window by my sewing space. Each day the leaves have turned a little more yellow.

We will probably have to cut it down soon, as, when it sowed itself many years ago,  it decided to grow too close to the house.

I kind of like the light filtering through the leaves, but I would not want it to come in through the windows on a stormy day.

🙂

Eldrid

Spring Report

Every year I take photos and post a report on the progress of spring on or around May 1st. This year we were travelling on May 1st, so the photos on that exact day shows the spring progress on Iceland, which varied a lot even within quite short distances.

The photo above was taken at Jökulsàrlon, a lagoon created by a retracting glacier. Icebergs break off the glacier and float round and round in the lagoon till they melt, as the opening is too narrow for them to float out into the ocean. They are quite a sight.

A few miles from the iceberg lagoon, we stopped to look at this old church, – the last one to be built in the old Icelandic manner with turf covered walls and roof. The dandelions were blooming on the roof, sheep and lambs were out and about nearby, so this was infinitely more spring like than the icebergs.

This primrose was blooming on one of the turfed walls of the olde houses in the photo below.

And this low bush similar to pussy willows was also in bloom:

I am not sure what the correct name of this bush would be.

As for the home scene, I will have to make do with before and after photos this year.

The two photos above were taken on April 26th before we left.

And here are the after photos of the same views….

… taken on May 6th.

We seem to have moved backwards into winter instead of forward to spring.

Eldrid

A Portrait

When taking a walk in the nearby area, there is a good chance of meeting up with some  interesting personalities.

When they see I am wielding my camera, some of them can get quite pushy. It is a good thing there is a fence between us.

“Hey you! Yes, you with the camera! I would like to have my portrait taken, please!”

“Is this good, do you think?”

“Maybe we should try the left profile too?”

“Lift my chin, you said? Like this?”

“I think I’ll go for this one. Would look nice in my passport.”

😉

Eldrid

Short Fairy Tale

The Three” Billy Sheep” are reinforcing their strength before they are tackling the bridge.

Here they are resting on the other side of the bridge. The troll is nowhere to be seen, so has probably gone down stream.

😉

Eldrid