Saturday 24 March 2012: Fallen cottonwood
(Better in LARGE)
After the lovely sunny evening yesterday in which I managed to photograph the maple trees starting to turn; the goats and the enormous pumpkin (thank you for all the kind comments!) it was disappointing to wake up this morning to low cloud and rain. I had hoped to get some more pictures of the billy goats, Bill and Ben, so that I could blip them today. Bill is a Toggenberg and I think Ben may be a Toggenberg/Saanen cross as he doesn't have the little 'dangly' bits hanging from below his jaw, but I'm not entirely sure.
I waited for a while, hoping that the weather might improve a little but it didn't and presently there was a phone call to say that, as happened two weeks ago, Immy's riding lesson was cancelled due to the rain. That meant that we didn't have to rush back to Nelson immediately, but I soon gave up on the cloud lifting, let alone the chance of clear skies. At that point we had an amusing Skype chat with my sister Helena, her partner CleanSteve and Christina & Dawson, who have gone down to Gloucestershire to visit them for the weekend. They were all in good form and Christina had apparently been eating dried physalis, which she found quite disgusting, as a sort of bet. I had no idea what this was, so my mother-in-law rushed out into her rain-soaked garden to bring some in and demonstrate, on camera, the eating of fresh ones which I found OK - slightly reminiscent of tomatoes. It was lovely to see my sister and daughter having fun together, half a world away!
Once the rain had eased off to a light drizzle and I felt it was safe to take the camera out, I set off in search of blips and I did actually stop in the goats' paddock and take a few shots of Bill. Then I went down to the 'Snow Tree' which, as I mentioned in yesterday's blip, is a very big, mature cottonwood, so-christened by Christina when she was about eight. We have no idea how old it is but it has stood majestically in the paddock, visible from the house and acting as a sort of 'landmark' on the farm, ever since my parents-in-law bought the property about 15 years ago and presumably for decades before that. Though I understand that cottonwoods (of the genus Populus, so basically a type of poplar) are very fast-growing, this one has an extremely thick trunk so I think it's been around a long time.
A few weeks ago, part of the 'Snow Tree' fell down. In fact, the tree itself seems to have been made up of two trunks and it was one of these that fell - it must have made a hell of a noise as it crashed down, taking part of the fence with it. The boys have been working on it but there are still some seriously big roundels there, together with the upended trunk and associated root system.
Although I really wanted to blip the goats, on reviewing my photographs I've decided that I prefer this view of part of the Snow Tree with the rainy paddocks beyond and the line of trees in the distance marking the course of the river. Fallen/felled trees seem to be a bit of a recurring blip theme for me this year. There's just something essentially poignant for me in seeing these mighty giants brought down, though I'm happy to say that in this case at least, the main part of the tree remains standing.
If you're interested in seeing the goats, I've uploaded a few shots to my blipfolio. They are rather sweet goats, I think!