Friday, 10 December 2010

All Creatures Great and Small...

This week hubby had an errand to run in the mountains and I went with for the drive. We did check the weather sites first to make sure the roads were clear enough and hubby has driven through worse weather than this winter, so I knew I was in safe driving hands. ;-)

But the first thing to block our way was neither snow nor ice. We turned a corner in a forest and...
there they were.
A whole herd of cattle staring at us with as much shock as I'm sure we were staring at them. We stopped the car engine right away, but the sight of us was just too much stress for our bovine blockade. They all turned tail and started clomping off as fast as they could manage on the icy road.
At that moment a lot of yelling started up in the distance and we realised these were cattle being driven down from the hills by the farmers. One farmer ran through the cattle and past our car. He stopped just behind us and started calling, "Come! Come on. COME!" and eventually... painfully slow at first... the cattle began moving back towards him. I only took one photo as they were very nervous and large very nervous cows can stampede and squash a car quite easily.

When they reached our car they all stopped in horror once again... and MOOOO'ed loudly. All these huge heads and rolling eyes staring at us as if we were the most horrific thing they'd ever seen in their lives. It was funny in a slightly unnerving way. They did bump our car a few times, but left no more damage than a bit of fur and mud and a lot of cow aroma.

Once we were out of the forest it was a fairly quiet trip through the hills and moorland. Everything was covered in snow, including the roadsides and parking places, so I didn't have a chance to stop and take any photos. I took this one when we made an emergency stop to clean the windscreen - the wipers were too frozen to do the job.
When we reached our destination I waited in the car. I was well prepared for a short wait - hat, gloves and a travelling blanket! ;-) It was really beautiful being out on a farm in the middle of the mountains. I took this photo of the farm fields opposite the barn where I was parked.
There was a big hay bale under those trees. You can't see it in the photo as it was a bit shadowy. I must have sat and started at that scene for about 30 minutes before the hay bale turned around and scratched its butt with a horn. It was a highland cow - not a hay bale! I really did burst out laughing when I realised my mistake and then I laughed again when I noticed another almost invisible creature sleeping on the jeep parked by the barn.

Can you see him?
It's a little Dunnock (hedge sparrow) sleeping on top of the tyre. There were also four robins flying about the jeep, but they move too fast to photograph. They did come and check me out too - landing on the car roof and windscreen to STARE at me in disapproval. Robins are very aggressive and territorial, especially in winter, which makes seeing four together most unusual.

On the way home the roads were quiet and clear. We stopped again to clean the windscreen and I took a few more pictures.
At this time of the year the sun doesn't rise very high in the sky and sets around 4:00 pm. I love the way the sun turns the snow into a billion diamonds, but it's not easy to catch that incredible glittering sparkle in photos. If you click to enlarge this last photo you can make out a few sparkles, but nowhere near what the reality was like.As cold as it is (and it was around -16 at least) it is just so beautiful it's worth feeling freezing to experience such magic. :-)


  1. Oh I know what you mean about the dazzling diamond brilliance of the snow under sunlight. Over here the sun rises at around 12 and it sets already at around 1 pm he he...the day's getting shorter and shorter.

    LOVE the headerrrrr and the new background as well as the other pics in this post, though I can't see the bird. :-D

  2. Nice pictures and story , thanks for sharing with us. Peace

  3. That must have been a sight to see that herd of cows coming towards you. Cool picture and it sure looks good as your header. We have plenty of snow and cold here as well and the sun starts going down early as well....makes me want to go to bed if only I could get my little one's to want to do that. :)

    Happy weekend!

  4. Amel
    They never tell you snow sparkles. It's amazing, isn't it? I just LOVE sun on snow and frost. Pure magic! :-) And I do love the way it glows at night, which must help up where you are with no sunlight!

    Hi Terica
    Thank you. :-) Peace and love back to you.

    Hi Lori :-)
    It was kind of exciting and rather sweet how they all followed the farmer calling them, like a bunch of huge anxious puppies. LOL I hope you get some secret snooze time over the holidays. ;-) How are the little ones? I must come over and check your blog.

  5. oh, my! That must have been startling to come nose to nose with the cows! Your photos are gorgeous.

    Hasn't been that cold here yet... or .... maybe it has. Nope. Just went to a calculator. That's 3 Fahrenheit, and we haven't been lower than mid-teens. Hope it DOESN'T get that cold, but it usually does in Jan or Feb.

  6. Thanks Hayden

    We usually get the real cold and snow in Jan/Feb too. This was unusually early, but only unusual for the last two decades - Hubby remembers way colder winters in the 70s and 80s. We're fairly warm today (sunday) and all the snow has melted.

  7. YES, YES, that's exactly why I LOVE having snow here 'coz it gets less dark here, esp. if I have a morning or evening shift at work when it's already dark, but at least I get to enjoy the tiny diamonds' glitter on the way to and from work he he...

  8. Thank you for transporting me to the magic! I loved your hay bale :) I want to see that sparkle for myself. Everyone talks about it. Tat is entranced!

  9. Amel

    Snow sparkle truly is entrancing. Some things don't live up to your expectations and somethings are even better. For me, snow was even better! ;-)



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