Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dundee from North Fife April 2009

Dundee over The River Tay from North Fife this April 2009. I've witnessed this view over 10,000 times and it's never the same twice, tonight shafts of sunlight highlight multi-story apartments, houses and Ninewells Hospital. Slack wind and still water.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Steel Pulse 1978

Steel Pulse getting it together in 1978, part of north fife photographic archive.

Yes that feels ok.

Steel Pulse.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crab Apple North Fife

Crab Apples, over the years I've seen this and many examples all over north fife. This particular tree or one could call bush flourishes in spite of being savagely pruned each year as it forms part of the wayside hedge at Logie farm Newburgh.

Tree Peony North Fife

Tonight over a garden wall in Newburgh North Fife I noticed this tree peony, it's one of my favourite garden flowers, the blooms last but a few days but much appreciated. The leaf and flower forms are frequently used in Tibetan Buddhist arts and crafts.

152 varieties of peony have been described and pictured for the first time in the West; the ampler publication until now, with the nicest hybrid or selected peony from Japan, France, Great Britain and the Untied States.

For the first time photographs and descriptions have been published even on the spontaneous peony from the Chinese mountains, that the author re-discovered (following the Victorian hunters plant tracks) in their natural habitat that hadn’t been seen since the beginning of this century.
In the East, peony is the most important flower and for Chinese and Japonese cultral patrimony in paintings, fabrics, poems, porcelain and lacquer it recurs frequently. For an anonymous poet of the third century before Christ the peony is "the queen of the vegetable kingdom", and Apollo is called "Peonios".

These flowers are surely among the more spectacular ones with which nature gifted us. In fashion at the end of the eighteenth century, it was considered the noblest of plants.The Book of Tree Peonies (Archives of botanic and garden studies)

About the Author
Since leaving his career in reconstructing post-war industries in 1975, Gian Lupo Osti has dedicated himself to botanical research, in particular to the discovery of arboreal peonies in the mountainous areas of China, which had not been seen growing naturally since the turn of the century. Chinese botanists have subsequently named an arboreal peony after him: Paeonia Ostii. He has also dedicated much time to finding the wild herbacious peonies which grow around the mediterranean.
He is an honourary member of the International Dendrology Society; he founded and was the first president of the Friends of the Hanbury Gardens, an association established with the participation of the most important British botanical institutions, to preserve the gardens of Mortola.
Gian Lupo Osti has received the Veitchii Memorial Gold Medal from the RHS in recognition of his contribution to horticulture and botany. With Allemandi he has published The Book of Tree Peonies and The Book of Meditteranean Peonies.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Home North Fife

Home North Fife, A view of the window to my computer room, within the focus is on the monitor which sits stark and bright relative to the low forest like light under the canopy of Ivy leaves. From the room one can see the overwintered aphids and other insects and witness Wrens and Blue-tits forage, snails eating the algae on the glass and a highway for mice to gain access to the roof-space. Not a bad place to be connected to in this life.

Anyway, tonight, in amongst the vegetational invasion of my dwelling are these tulips thrusting from winter dormancy and about to fully bloom. It accords with the time, a good feeling. Warmth and moisture, We are born, we procreate and die. Such is life, Fantastic.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

River Tay 26th April North Fife

This evening 26th April on my way to Newburgh North Fife, a sight that illustrates why The River Tay is called The Silvery Tay, every day different, every day a joy. Sometimes golden, even better. Below is a similar time yesterday further upstream in Newburgh, half gold and silver.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Balcormo Races Fife

Balcormo Races, Today I was invited to a point-to-point steeplechase at Balcormo Mains Fife. Perfect weather, good warm sunshine and windless. The course is 3 miles with 7 hurdles with these horses captured at the last before the finish. A few thousand people in attendance, socialising, betting, imbibing and generally having a very enjoyable time.

Marsh Buttercup North Fife

Marsh Buttercup, I've noticed this clump on the slipway at Newburgh north fife over the years, it seems to flourish even though twice a day tidal water of The River Tay submerges it completely.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Craigsimmie Pittachope North Fife

Craigsimmie from Pittachope Flisk North Fife. The rising ground is be-topped with flowering furze as if custard had been poured over. The foreground field is just planted with potatoes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wild Garlic Earth Day North Fife

A few hours ago we visited Monimail Tower for a Transition Towns meeting
where discussion was of local produce and how to integrate production in a sustainable way following the ethics of permaculture. One of many grass roots projects now underway in many countries to reduce reliance on transport and energy consumption. The surrounding woodland provided this bunch of wild garlic to be used in salads and pesto sauces.

Pitmedden Forest North Fife

Pitmedden Forest straddles the border of North Fife, Perthshire and Kinross. Auchtermuchty in the south (Home of Jimmy Shand) and westwards into Perthshire. It provides a wonderful space to roam on foot, on horseback and on trail bikes. Those who gallop or wizz along might miss the variety of plants and wildlife. How this wee stand of daffodils got there is beyond me but sitting in the forest stillness you are likely to see Roe and Red Deer browsing very nearby. Throughout the year with different species emerging one can enjoy to apprehend and even gather forest fungi and fruits.

Wood Sorrel as a food. The distinctive shamrock-shaped, three-lobed leaves are edible, and though they may have a sour taste, they make a great trail-side nibble.As a medicine: The leaves are chewed for nausea, and to relieve mouth sores and sore throats, and a poultice of fresh leaves for cancers and old sores. Leaf teas are brewed for fevers, urinary infections and scurvy.

Note: Large doses may cause oxalate poisoning.
Food for Free by Richard Mabey was first published in 1972, since then it has been reprinted 11 times. An all-colour, revised version produced in 1989 has sold over 30,000 copies in the trade. A guide to over 300 types of food that can be gathered in the wild in Britain, Food for Free explores the history and folklore of the foods as well as explaining how we identify them and the best ways to cook and eat them. The new edition will bring the subject right up to date. Organized by season rather than food type Food for Free will take us through the year. Richard Mabey's fully-revised text will be accompanied by stunning photographs, new recipes and a wealth of practical information on collecting, cooking and preparing. Beautifully illustrated, beautifully written and produced in a new, larger format Food for Free is designed to inspire us to take more notice of what is around us, how we can make use of it and how we can conserve it for future generations. .Food for Free

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Juneberry North Fife

We bought this Juneberry two years go and this year it has blossomed, if each flower sets then that will be fantastic, the start of a very nutritious fruit. This area of north fife was noted for soft fruits, black current, red current, raspberries, tay . berries, strawberries but now due to labour costs in the picking farmers have uprooted and prefer to exploit C.A.P. for it's subsidies thus divesting us of local choice and dumbing down available diet. there is a grass roots reaction to this of which we are part where gardeners and smallholders produce organically animals, vegetables and fruits for local benefit.
Amelanchier lamarckii - June Berry.
Delicate, star-shaped, white flowers in March to April and bronze leaves maturing to dark green and then orange and red in autumn. The white flowers of the turn to green fruits. These slowly turn pink then bright red in June & continue ripening to purple-black by mid summer. Noted for its beautiful autumn leaf colour, this upright-stemmed shrub which can be grown into a tree is an ideal specimen plant for a shrub or mixed border in full sun or part-shade. After leaf-fall, the upright branches continue to provide winter appeal. The bark is smooth in the shrub's youth, silvery grey with darker stripes. As it ages, the bark splits into craggy furrows with increasing character.

A closer look, the blossom is quite delicate but abundant.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Primroses North Fife

Primroses in Higham Woods at Ballinbreich North Fife. I have noticed this wee stand of primroses not too far from the roadside for a while. Clambering up to examine revealed the flowers more clearly but with the unexpected, bones and antlered skull of a Roe deer clearly illustrating the cyclical nature of life, providing nutrients and even confirmation that when it's good "everything comes up roses". I know, excuse me.

North Fife is now resplendent in blossom of many kinds. These are Sycamore flowers, to me they radiate a first flush of vibrant green, hardly seen yet quite luxurious in there own way.

Bird Cherry blossom, Smaller fruit than cultivated varieties and often decimated by local bird populations before one might gather.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

North Fife April the 9th

North Fife April the 9th, Of my eight ducks this is the dominant drake. There is one other and the rest lay eggs. Below is one of his offspring, hatched in August last year and has now become productive. Could this be incest? Anyway they are good to have around.

Yes, to Sara in California these pics were taken on the Nikon D90, I am impressed.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Toads North Fife 2009

Yes it's that time of the year, the sap is rising, vegetation bursting and the local amphibians are making their way to my garden pond, tonight the roadway and drive was strewn with toads with a few smooth newts interspersed. Arriving home at nightfall requires removing them in car headlight to the side. This little chap has already grabbed his mate. Such is Springtime.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Type Face Portraits North Fife

I mistakenly deleted the pictures taken today for this blog and in a moment of acceptance moused stumble. This site came up which I am really happy happened. There are 43 more. I like very much, maybe you will too.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Errol from North Fife April 5th 2009

Errol from North Fife April 5th 2009. Looking across The River Tay to Eroll which has a 2nd world war airfield now only used for parachutists and car boot sales. A lovely spring day, the fields below where I stand were full of migratory geese browsing grass.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Nikon D90 North Fife

Today I unpacked my new camera. A Nikon D90, This the first shot taken in my studio at Steeple Arts Newburgh, North Fife. Point and shoot on wide angle 18mm, not bad but with slight barrel effect. I find the automatic elements of digital cameras a bit of a nightmare with the plethora choices to set up somewhat complicated compared to totally manual cameras of old. Anyway I've bitten the bullet and will have to learn how to use it fully. Time will tell, I still yearn to use my old 4x5 large format camera but film stock and chemicals are limited, harder to purchase and what exists is increasingly expensive. I must be a bit of a Luddite at heart. I enjoy to scan my old 4x5 negs and adjust in photoshop to print, the results are fantastic due to lens quality and simplicity of application.

This and the picture below are of my ducks, Indian Runner, Khaki Campbells, yes I know, again, taken hand held at 105mm maximum length of the zoom lens, on manual focus but maybe the viewfinder or my eyes need adjustment for a better image. I'll be happy to take any advice on how to improve outcomes.

Each duck is a character and this is the dominant Drake.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

River Tay April 1st 2009

The river Tay North Fife April 1st 2009 overlooking Newburgh, quite a wintery light but with a much welcomed warmth. I visited a much loved spot high above the town, a gem that is visited by few.

Fly fishing on loch Mill Newburgh North Fife. Spring is now unfurling this April at last, Trees are just coming into bud and quite quickly winter colours will be replaced with lush new growth.