25 July 2018

Detail

Yesterday, I drove out to the village of Marsh Lane for another constitutional walk. Please do not be alarmed - for this time I am not going to explain my plodding itinerary. Instead, I just want to share with you a little detail - something I spotted along the way - and something I had never encountered before.

Not far from Shady Hall Farm, I arrived at a wooden stile. Next to it there was an old post. Perhaps it had once been part of a telegraph pole. As I clambered over the stile, something about that post caught my eye. The interior of it was hollow apart from a strange star shape within.

I thought it might be some sort of fungus but when I inspected the post further I deduced that this radiating structure was in fact the legacy left behind in the heartwood  by old offshoots and branches. For every one of those little arms there was a corresponding knot on the outside of the wooden post. The softer heartwood had rotted away over the years, leaving these more resilient structures behind.

They say that we learn something new every day and that detail was yesterday's big learning moment for me. Magic.
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And here's a Nature note from last week - just in case I forget. As I was walking down to the Oxfam shop, I spotted something moving along the pavement near the Chinese fish and chip shop. Initially I thought it was a baby rat but when it scaled the little brick wall - just two yards from me - it stopped to take a look at the passing giant. It was a weasel! A weasel in a busy suburb. In spite of all my countryside rambles and country childhood, that was the closest I have ever been to a wild weasel in my life! Magic.

26 comments:

  1. Intricate, unique beauty.

    And I love the little weasel, too. :)

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    1. Nature has so many lovely surprises still waiting to be discovered. Thanks for calling by Lee.

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  2. A weasel is weasily recognised as a stoat is stotally different.....

    Very interesting post, thank you.
    Aren't trees great!

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    1. Silly billy! Yes, Christina - here in Yorkshire we like to hug trees. I once had a long relationship with a cherry tree but she cheated on me.

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  3. I hug trees. Seriously. I prefer hugging trees to hugging people.

    Weasels are very clever so it's no surprise to me that one has found a way to co-exist with hoomans. Although I can't understand why one would want to, except maybe for the ready supply of cat food left out for wandering felines.

    Since February I have been the volunteer co-manager of a charity used book shop, which might have something in common with your work at Oxfam. I am keeping notes in case there's a good story arc to come out of it, and I wonder why you don't write about some of your experiences with the objects and people you encounter? I live in the backwaters of Long Island and something surprising is always turning up but you're in the big city so I'm sure your stories are far more interesting.

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    1. Today a very tattered old book turned up - "The Experienced English Housekeeper" by Elizabeth Raffald. It was first printed in 1769 and I believe this was indeed a first edition - published before America declared its independence

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  4. That weasel is cute! I never knew they were cute like that. And so small, too!

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    1. Cute enough to rip your Marco to shreds!

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  5. Wow! I've never seen a weasel in the wild. And that tree structure is amazing -- that's a new one on me, too.

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    1. Pleased I am not the only one slightly taken aback by that inner structure.

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  6. Is this your photo of the weasel you met, or one you borrowed from elsewhere to show us what it looked like? Anyway, it is a beautiful animal, and hardly surprising it chose to live in the suburb - after all, Fred Fox lived in your neighbourhood, too.

    The hollow tree with the star inside is fantastic! Who needs magic when nature gives us its very own enchantment all the time?

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    1. That was not my weasel picture. I just included it for illustrative purposes but my weasel looked exactly like that.

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  7. Weasels, minks, and all their close cousins are awful if you have chickens.

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    1. Awful if you have chickens but great if you stitch them together to make a furry scarf for the winter.

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  8. tenacious little buggers, Ive seen one kill a fully grown hen

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    1. You just sat there watching?

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  9. I suspect it is a stoat as it has a brown tip on it's tail. See another and shoot it or go short of eggs. Bloody things kill hens and only drink their blood. Best place for them is town. The dogs are getting one a week at the moment.

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    1. It was definitely a weasel Adrian and that's not my picture - it is a weasel from a website called Animal Corner. I just included it to illustrate my encounter.

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  10. The hollow tree/pole is quite interesting! Do you know what kind of tree it came from?

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    1. I guess it was some kind of pine or spruce Bonnie.

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  11. Well good eye on the old rotten fence post. I don't see many weasels but they do tend to stop and take a good look at you.

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    1. If a weasel saw you he would have a hell of a shock Red!

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  12. Oh, I love a good Nature Note! I've never seen a weasel in real life - to me they and their stoat cousins are Kenneth Graham's delinquent ruffians, always up to no good.

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    1. They are only doing what all animals try to do - survive!

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  13. Two very magical moments, you're right! Thanks for passing them on to us here.

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  14. I love both of these moments. It is always special to see a wild animal in the suburbs and it took a keen eye as well as informed curiosity to figure out the magic of the post

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