Monday, October 13, 2014

Reflecting on walnut trees

click photo to enlarge
Over the past few weeks the same incident has replayed several times. A grey squirrel has hopped across the lawn with a large walnut in its mouth. It has stopped, dug at the grass with its front feet, decided the spot was no use, and then moved on to repeat this action until a suitable spot is found. There it buries the walnut. Do they ever find them again? I suppose so, but I never see it happen. Do we have a forest of sapling walnuts sprouting from the lawn in spring? No - so I guess they are retrieved and eaten by the squirrels at some point in the winter.

I never noticed walnut trees until I moved to Lincolnshire. They probably existed where I lived in the other parts of England, but not until I moved to this county in the East Midlands did I see them in sufficient numbers that I became aware of the trees. The village where I live has several. A couple are in a small playground/park where they provide amusement and collecting opportunities for the local children. Another one is in a field that is visible from the front of my house.

This tree is slowly succumbing to age and the weather. Last year, during particularly windy weather, a large bough fell off. This year the top branches were completely free of leaf. It can't have many more years left. The field in which it is located was once pasture and I imagine that the sheep and cattle found its shade welcome in high summer. For thirty years or more, however, it has been used for vegetable and cereal growing and as far as the farmer is concerned it has become an obstacle around which agricultural machinery and vehicles must be carefully guided. I posted a photograph of it on the blog two years ago when it was looking very fine against a dark and threatening October sky. The other day it was the tree's shape in the mist, augmented by a gathering of rooks in its topmost branches, that caught my eye.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 37.1mm (100mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On