Settling in for the duration

Unfortunately the photos from this old post have been lost

We are getting used to this new way of living, going to town one day a week, working outside when the sun is shining then coming in to work on our computers and read beside the stove in the late afternoon.

Snowy Scenes in North West Ireland
Afternoon Snow

Looking through the food stores to see what’s for dinner tonight and wondering how many more dinners the fresh vegetables will do.

Writing shopping lists that take the long view rather than the assumption that we will be in town again the day after tomorrow.

Putting on boots, a warm jacket and hat before going out the door, even for the quickest of tasks, has become the norm.

Freezing snow crystals
Snow Flakes Freezing

On Saturday we had fresh falls of snow and enjoyed a ramble around the forestry lanes and our land.

On Sunday we retraced our steps, we saw fox tracks and enjoyed watching where the tracks lead, where the fox followed in our footsteps and where he (or she, hard to tell from tracks) walked carefully in his own tracks.

Fox tracks on forest lane, Leitrim, Ireland North West
Fox Tracks

He puts up quite a mileage each night, we can see fresh tracks each morning now that we are on the lookout for them. He criss crosses the fields quite methodically and often walks back in his own tracks.

It’s fun watching the trails left behind by him. We don’t keep poultry or fowl so we have no reason to dislike his visits. At one stage as we walked we were wondering what he finds to eat in this weather and then we spotted hare tracks. I am guessing that hare wants to avoid that fox at all costs!

We don’t know much about this business of tracking animals however we are having lots of fun. Usually we can’t see the animal tracks in the rainy weather 🙂

frozen snow, sparkles, snowy Leitrim
Snow Crystals

Yesterday, Sunday, we had lots of sunshine and the snow started to melt a little. It began to freeze quite seriously again in the afternoon which made for a beautiful effect, the snow chrystalised and flattened out into amazing spikes.

Snowy Leitrim, Ireland north west, freezing weather
Snowy Wonders

Last night we walked about with head torches and the snow sparkled like fairy lights, everywhere we looked, it was the most wonderful sight. On Saturday night as we walked to bed we saw four shooting stars in the night sky and last night the fields were filled with starlight.

Stay warm, stay safe and if you have elderly neighbours please chat with them and see if there is anything they need – or indeed anything they can help you with……

Snowy Days Are Here Again

Although the weather has been extremely cold for the past two weeks no snow had fallen on our hill. We had freezing easterly winds with both day and night time temperatures below zero Celsius.

Frozen tree moss, winter, trees,
Frozen tree moss
Ash tree with moss

We have been lucky with above average sunshine everyday and beautiful clear starry nights.

The east of the country has been blanketed in snow for the last fortnight and schools have closed. On our hill the snow from two weeks ago lay frozen all around until this morning when fresh snow fell, starting after sunrise and falling lightly and steadily ’til afternoon.

The snow has changed the quality of sound here, as it tends to wherever it falls. We are used to quiet up here on the hill, although for the last few months there has been the faint daytime sounds of forestry workers further over on the hill.

Still, the quiet that we are used to has changed, become even softer. The wee song birds seem louder and thankfully the whitethorn bushes are still laden with red winter berries for them.

Whispers in the wind

I saw a male blackbird today attracted by the peanuts which we put out and we never saw one up here before. I was used to the sweet sounds of blackbirds  where I grew up and missed their tunefulness so I am delighted to see one here and will be sure to keep a steady supply of peanuts over the winter.

Winter Woodland

Raining Frogs?

We have had a few beautiful days of sun, light winds and starry clear nights. This week in August every year there are amazing night skies with shooting stars (Perseids) in the northern sky. Check out the Astronomy Ireland website for more details.

If you are blessed with clear skies then you owe it to yourself to go out at night, bring a rug, wear a warm hat and settle into your favourite deck chair to watch the show. If you have binoculars they may add to the fun however I often find it less frustrating to just gaze upwards and let the magic unfold.

I don’t think that I will get to see any stars tonight as we had a day of rain, all day…

I decided to make use of the rain to wash the outdoor bathtub so I put the plug in this morning to allow it to fill. After a few hours I went out to check on progress. Imagine my surprise to find two fine frogs swimming about in the tub…

A pair of happy frogs

Here is a close up of one of the swimmers, handsome fella isn’t he?

An Irish frog enjoying the rain