A BIG BEAUTIFUL SURPRISE

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A most beautiful surprise this morning.  Our little Christmas tree, which is alive, gave us some lovely tender young cones!  So this Korean Fir is doing well and healthy, and producing more growth, very pleased about that.  On the seventh all the decorations are coming off it and then I will keep it inside to make sure that it survives the winter.  It’s been a lovely experience having this life tree in the house, and this morning we were both so happy to see these lovely young cones.

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The new and the old cone here.

 

WINTER GARDEN – SEASONAL WEATHER

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My garden as seen through the window on this dismal winter’s day!  It’s been raining for days with wind howling around the place.  Not good weather to go and do some work or even to go and assess what has to be done at this time in the garden.

But inside is cosy and warm so no complaints at all.  This is after all typical winter weather around here.  The sun is totally not visible for days on end, a heavy grey sky, dark and wet that is about it.  Birds do venture out in it and the feeders are emptied quite quickly.  I’ve seen more Finches the last few days which is great as their numbers were down from last year.

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Old Man’s Beard (Clematis vitalba) or also known as Travellers Joy growing along the roadsides around the country.  This climber is quite beneficial for the birds, they use the seeds as food, but they also use the fluffy appendages to feather their nests when the time comes.  It’s a winter favourite but it is seen by many as an invasive plant.  Apparently it has got some medicinal properties, I guess like most wild plants.  I like to see it around the place.

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A typical scene out of the window again, but some days ago when it was wind still.  The smoke from the chimney of a cottage in the distance made a long trail and kept hanging over the valley.  Behind this hill in the photo is the Atlantic Ocean as a matter of fact.

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Inside all is cosy and Christmassy.  There is the scent of Cloves, Cinnamon, and Oranges.

OLD MAN WINTER WAS HERE

We awoke this morning to a sunny but very frosty winter’s day.  Steam was rising from the horse in the field behind the garden, poor animal – I hope it was all right during the night. Frost had covered everything beautifully in the garden, making lovely patterns on water iced over, and decorating the vegetation in pure white and clear crystals, beautiful! It’s the type of morning one loves to get up and go out and wonder at it all.
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KOREAN FIR FOR CHRISTMAS

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Today we went to a garden centre some way from home, we wanted to get a lovely live tree for Christmas, one that we could keep for years.  In the past I have done this but not been successful at keeping the tree alive, So this year I am going to make a very special effort.  So we found this lovely little tree, it is a Korean Fir (Abies koreana).  The small soft pine cones are bluish before they become brown, and it’s a slow growing tree.  There is a silver sheen to the underside of the needles.  We both fell in love with this little tree and hope to have it for many years.  At Christmas it will be decorated and it will be in the place of honour, and then later we will leave it outside albeit with a cosy garden fleece around it.  The above photo shows one of it’s pine cones, there are a few on it and this will make a lovely natural decoration.

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WINTER BERRIES

Today is officially the first day of winter here in Ireland, and it is nice to see such plentiful supply of berries for the birds.
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These berries are still giving a lovely show, not eaten yet by the birds either, I’m not sure what it is, it looks like a Cherry but not sure, and wrong time of the year.

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Holly berries, very plentiful this year, and Rosehips are also giving the birds lots of foods.

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Snow berries, and Woodbine berries, there is so much in the hedgerows right now.

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Hawthorn berries, and Cotoneaster, the birds, here the Blackbird, are having a nice time with them.  This Blackbird comes to feed every single day, a joy to behold.

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Then these are the berries of the Guelder Rose, these are native to the woodlands and hedgerows here in Ireland (Thank you Murtagh), some type of bird will eat these too and enjoy them. The black berries I still have not identified but they may be some type of the Prune family. It is still very mild for the time of year, that and the large crop of berries will sustain an already quite “fat” bird population around here (I have never seen the Sparrows quite so large as this winter).