Tree following, December, part 1…


Just a quickie – bread baking, going out, work, work, work – and late as usual…

There’s no doubt that winter is here and, unlike last year, we appear to be having a winter rather than just a blustery mildness. I’ve had a frost – minor, but there’s been one – and we’ve had sleet, hail and even a bit of snow, and then next minute the sun shines. That’s more like it!

As a result, of course, I can now count the leaves on the baby downy birch.

leaf number three

Five. Well, five yesterday; today we’re probably on four but it’s a bit bleagh out there so I’m not going to double check. I’m sure it’s an optical illusion caused by the removal of leafy distractions, but the twigs seem fuzzier. It would be stretching anthropomorphism a bit too far to suggest that the tree was snuggling down for the winter!

There are a lot of this year’s fat seed heads still hanging on in there. Many are now really tatty, very obviously on their last legs, but there are still a heck of a lot:

tree silhouette

and, also visible here, there are also plenty of slim, perky prospects for next year. Oh, and a stormy sky and the Big Brute silver birch in the background.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine died of cancer. He was an inspiration: a great naturalist, a meticulous observer and a constant help in identifying anything odd I found (he’d have been fascinated by the shield bug activity around this birch). It was not long before Christmas, and I saw a glass bauble which made me think of him immediately, so I bought it:

tree bauble

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Christmas baubles with winter trees as decoration before – but why on earth not?

and happy tree following to everyone!

(Part One? Why Part One? Well, because Part Two won’t, strictly speaking, be tree following – but something I found when I was digging about. Something I’d long forgotten, something… well, it will take a couple of days to put it together. And thanks to Lucy at Loose and Leafy for this meme, which has kept me blogging despite nearly giving up when my silly stalker got a little creepier than usual.)


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Erika says:

    What a nice Christmas bauble. I could use one of those 🙂

    1. kate says:

      It was the very last one, and I’ve never seen them again. Shame!

  2. Pauline says:

    What a beautiful Christmas bauble and it will remind you of your friend every time you look at it.

    1. kate says:

      It does. absent friends and all that – mind you, I think about I’m every time I find something I can’t identify. He was a one-man field guide, hardly ever needed to resort to the internet when he was around. I wonder if that sort of amateur naturalist (he was, literally, a rocket scientist in his working life) exists any more?

  3. Cathy says:

    Interesting hearing your thoughts about the birch and wondering if your tree was snuggling down for the winter – the meme really does make you notice things you might otherwise miss. I am a bit concerned about your reference to a blogging stalker – doesn’t sound good 😦

    1. kate says:

      I have so enjoyed it, doesn’t it, though? Fab.

      (Online stalker, aka OS, is relatively harmless, I’m sure – just creepy. Knew OS donkey’s years ago – OS had minor mental problems then – but haven’t met for over 10 years, though OS evidently still feels the need to know what I’m doing all the time and the internet makes this all too easy. I can’t take myself offline because of work. Happily OS is 250 miles away and sometimes gets a life and pulls back. This hasn’t been a good year, but it seems to be calming down – for the moment, I guess.)

      1. Cathy says:

        Hmm, difficult….perhaps mentally set the intention that OS will get a life more often and therefore have less need to haunt you…

        1. kate says:

          Hopefully… it does seem to settle down, and then I tend to forget about (well, ignore it, anyway). Then, bof!, something happens and we’re back to it again. So glad OS not closer physically!

  4. coastcard says:

    I loved reading about your Downy Birch – similar but quite distinct from my Silver Birch. What lovely paintings you have brought to our attention.

    1. kate says:

      Thank you – aren’t they different? It really surprises me (at the start of the tree following I thought I’d got three silver birches, mind)…

      Glad you liked the paintings!

  5. Lucy Corrander says:

    Apologies for arriving so late to read your post. Been a bit preoccupied recently – and then, of course, there was Christmas itself. I’m inspired by the bauble in your tree. I think I will do the same next year.
    I hope too that 2015 will be a happy year for you – and that you will enjoy blogging again now you’ve got back into it!
    Looking forward to reading about your tree in January. (Maybe I’ll manage to be prompter in reading the posts this time!)

    1. kate says:

      That’s OK, there’s no such thing as the blogging police (yet). I’d dearly love some more of those tree baubles, but I’ve never seen them again – shame. I’m definitely back into blogging, and I hope the mojo is catching!

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