A certain barn in North Yorkshire

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Hanging on to the past

From birthing’s washbowl,
To the washbowl of the Dead,
Blathering nonsense.
Kobayashi Issa


Re-blogged from Dayamati:

Out of a living silence

“The world of dew
is the world of dew.
And yet, and yet–”
― Kobayashi Issa

When I lived in Hiroshima from the autumn of 1977 until the spring of 1979, I often passed by the iconic A-bomb dome, the ruined remains of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. Someone pointed out to me that the infrastructure of the building was so compromised that it would collapse if measures were not taken to keep it standing. While fully aware of and sympathethic to the purpose of keeping a visual reminder of the devastation wrought by an atomic bomb, I also reflected on the irony of putting effort into keeping something perpetually in a state of being on the verge of collapse. How does that differ from, say, putting a brain-dead person on life support on display for no other reason than to serve as a reminder that life ends…

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Secrets of a Casual Poultry Breeder

This morning, the Egton Bridge (though we meet at Lealholm) Writer’s Group enjoyed my bit about hens:

Secrets of a Casual Poultry Breeder.
Part1. Not all hens are daft.

My first birds were a quartet of pedigree Marans; forty years ago they were expensive at £5 each. They laid deep brown eggs, as dark as Kipling’s Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din.
The cock was a bit of a bruiser though. He would fly at me with barbed talons. He had delusions above his station and considered himself licensed to attack all who came near, so much so that the kids refused to feed the hens. I cured him by chasing him around the field with a multi-stemmed branch of birch, thrashing him all the while. After that he kept my species at a respectful distance.
Maran hens might be much admired, but they grow boring. They just wander about, looking myopic, and crooning notes in middle C in a pathetic low voice.
To add interest to the tiny flock of four, I bought a trio of bantams, diminutive Black Houdans with feathered feet and tufted heads. I had to clip the long feet feathers – they might look handsome on the bench at Pateley Show, but they could hardly stagger back to the hen hut after they’d wandered around in our Nidderdale clarts.
Then, I could not resist a trio of powder blue Araucanas; they had Dickensian side whiskers and would lay blue-green eggs. They originate on the Pacific coast of South America, and take their name from the untamed Araucana Indians (traditional enemies of the Incas). The other blue egg layer is the Andalusian. Question: Is the Andalusian descended from the Araucana, or vice versa? Did the blue hen travel with the Conquistadores? And, if so, in which direction?
Next came three brown and exhausted battery hens (saved from execution at 50 pence each). The poor creatures, pale-faced and cowering, had to be taught how to perch. They took days to learn to face down the other hens, and dodge the attentions of the Maran cockerel; days to discover that the sunny, grassy world outside was safe to investigate and that they need not be afraid of worms.
After a while I gave up trying to keep the breeds pure; I simply allowed them to get on with whatever promiscuous arrangements they had in mind. The flock grew in size and became highly coloured and gloriously variable; some of the cockerels were most handsome creatures, akin to Old English Game or the wild Asiatic Jungle Fowl.
My favourite was a huge white male, a White Rock, just like Chanticleer who does the opening crow on Pathe News. At dusk one evening I was worried that some new chicks I’d introduced to the flock were not bedded down for the night. They were not to be seen. But there was Chanticleer, on his perch, proud chest puffed out, with the heads of tiny chicks peeping from beneath each wing.

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Avoid Reality with a Jigsaw

Things to do in the Ice Age:

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Random Shots 2

Someone, long-gone, used Granny’s bed to mend a gap by the track to Sleights Moor.Pines above Rosedale.

Nobody came back for the old plough.

England’s highest pub.

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The year has turned

Soon the garden will be like this once more. The blackbird will see off the cuckoo. The track to the moor will be dry. And there will be fawns to meet.


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Random shots 1

Amost empty at Beck Hole

Codgers at Egton Show

The goosegog show

Clutter at the hardware shop

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At the Heron House

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on From Hill to Sea:
It is a place within easy walking distance from the front door and yet it is unlikely that anyone would stumble across it. It is not on any well-trodden path. However, nor could it be described as a remote…

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Vitreous enamel on copper bowls.

They are a challenge, but I keep trying. Here are some new attempts:

Our Acer is in fresh, soft leaf; it yields a fine stencil.

Note how the ivory unleaded enamel turns green over fire scale and shrinks away from the leaded to produce a relief effect.

And how bare copper can oxidise to red.

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Conservation Volunteer

Gained some interesting aches this morning — been out with conservation volunteers to Yatts Farm near Pickering. The sensation of doing a bit of good and spending time with people of like mind, lifts the spirits.

img_6593We cleared gorse (locally: whin) and hawthorn that is invading a delicate site that’s home to rare orchid and butterfly populations.

img_6596It’s a lovely limestone valley that needs to be kept free of scrub.

img_6597I disturbed the hibernation sleep of this peacock. I move her to a safe place and built her a new bed chamber of bracken.

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