Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December Trees and Woodland Decorations

December beauty, away from the tinsel and lights and Christmas tunes that play on a loop in the shops. The apple trees have their own tinsel all year round, silvery bleached greens of lichen, emerald green moss and boozy fermented crab apples that have stayed firm and clung on in the wind. 
I have grown attached to these trees and others in the garden. I have known them now for 18 years. They are friends and I speak to them and tell them they are looking beautiful as the seasons change. I have watched them grow. Some are old and some not so, (the Hazel we grew from a nut) My children have played beneath them, had picnics, camped and climbed the bigger ones and they have grown up with them.  Now they are young adults and the trees are still here watching quietly when they return home, growing their apples, nuts and berries. The wood pigeons have their favourite perch and the blackbird and robin use all. The thrush likes to use the top branches of the cherry tree to sing his evensong. I have told my woody friends about other trees I've met on my travels, about the small twisted oaks in Wistmans Wood with the lichen as long as faerie hair and I'm sure they seemed to have grown their lichen more abundantly since the tale was told?
When I was a child running and playing in woods and jumping streams, we used the language of the field. Our maps were plotted out using the trees, the big beech on the edge of the wood, that my Mum had carved her initials in when she was a child, the huge elm we made a swing on. We knew which nut tree gave the best harvest, whether they were small clusters, fivers, or large cobs, We knew where the walnut tree was and the cherry trees and where the best apples were to scrump and our meeting place was the lightening tree, an old dead tree, bleached like a bone, that had been struck by lightning years before. And a holly tree always held a certain magic to me, a feeling I could never really explain? Now  I am lucky to have three of them in this garden.
December is the only time of year when we bring a tree 'intact' inside our home, to decorate and hang beautiful things on in celebration. It's also the time when trees are revealed again. Their silhouettes return us to the winter landscape once more and their real beauty is uncovered. Winter light and shadows on sleeping trees and icy bare branches. One of my loves of Winter. Everything is framed so perfectly.
Although I love the frost and cold. I'm hoping this year for milder days. Robin Goodfellow my dear feathered friend, I think has mites? He is scratching and losing his feathers which of course is not a good thing to do at this time of year. It is either that or fighting, as I've seen him chasing another Robin off.  Constant replenishing of food will help to keep him warm. I can't help but worry though. He needs a scarf like you see the Robins on Christmas cards wearing... Sadly he doesn't look the picture perfect 'Robin on the card' this year but that's life, I still love him dearly however he looks.  
Inside the house, I have brought the woodland in. Toadstools, birds, fox , squirrel and deer decorate the room.  
Now if only Robin would come in and keep warm like this other one. 
I don't normally have flowers with the Christmas decorations, but it was my Birthday the other day, hence the ones on the table.  :)
The little fir tree sits twinkling in the corner. Just the mistletoe to get now. ..


18 comments:

  1. Love your stories and your home looks so cosy and festive, thank you for sharing. Happy Christmas

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  2. I have just found your blog. This is such a lovely post, with beautiful photographs. I love your description of a woodland childhood. I was the same, the trees were our homes, our signposts and our friends. Wishing you a Happy Christmas.

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    1. So happy you found this blog and enjoyed the post Jane! And to hear that your childhood was similar. Happy Christmas! :) x

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  3. What a beautiful post, Karen - perfectly captures the spirit of this time of year as it should be. I have native trees that I planted many years ago and they are friends. I planted an alder as part of a native hedge but haven't been able to cut it as it grew into such a beautiful tree, giving gifts each season - cones and catkins and it's such a perfect shape. Sadly it has a hole in its trunk,so will have to be coppiced to prevent the winter winds from felling it completely but I hope that it will flourish again. And as the leaves have fallen and the gorgeous silhouettes are revealed, my reward has been to see that several of our feathered friends made nests in the trees this year.
    I hope that your robin stays well and enjoys all his treats. Your home looks beautiful and starry and twinkly as always and I hope that you had a very happy birthday.
    Have a wonderful festive season and thank you for the beautiful words - definitely made me feel very christmassy :)

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    1. Thanks redwitch! :) I'm sure your alder will shoot again fine after it's coppice. Isn't it lovely to see the nests revealed when the leaves go away. I'm always surprised how close to the house some are, without me ever realising they were there. They hide them so well!
      Yes, I had a nice birthday, thanks :)
      Have a magical Christmas x

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  4. Sending some peace and healing to sweet to robin, and joy and beauty to you and yours...

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  5. Happy belated birthday, and blessings for Christmas and New Year to you all.
    Beautiful photos and magical atmosphere in your home, hope your robin friend, stays warm and cosy this winter. xx

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    1. Thanks Maura! Have a magical Christmas :) x

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  6. I've been living with an apple tree for 27 years. We have the same lichen but not nearly as long. I too frequently talk to trees and I have two hollys.
    I love your inside decorating!

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    1. Good to meet another tree talker :) The lichen is beautiful isn't it. It's starting to spread to the hawthorn tree now too. When the wind blows it down I collect it and keep it in a basket with dried lavender and rose petals .

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  7. You share my love of this month, could be the magic of our birthdays?;) Wonderful stories of the trees!xx

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    1. Yes, we are winter born children. December frost babies ;) xx

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  8. So beautiful Karen and happy belated birthday x

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  9. Great photographs and the music fits your images really well. You have probably put some out already but if not my own garden birds always enjoy a bird bath even in the depths of winter as it helps to wash out any bugs and makes them feel warmer and less itchy. A dust bath with loose garden soil finely ground up in a saucer or shallow plastic container might help as well with mites. I apologize if I'm stating the obvious here :o)

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  10. Thanks for the advice. I do always have a bird water bath available but not a dust one, so that might be a good idea, I will give it a go. :)

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