Controlled Burning


Jackie and I spent the morning weeding and clearing the rose garden. The task is not yet finished.

A rather large creature has head-butted a hole in the fence, tossed the insect hotel logs aside, and broken off the legs of a couple of the plastic edge rails bordering the stepping brick path, across which it has trodden a trail. We rather hope it is not a rat. In an attempt at least to deter the beast I have plugged the square hole with a round peg.

Ladybirds 1

The ladybird bug in the weeping birch has taken a mate and led her further up the tree.

This afternoon we went on a drive through the forest.

A group of ponies on the road between Burley and Ringwood feasted on gorse, grass, and brambles on the verge and the bank above it.

One took itself along and across the road where it thought the grass was greener.

Attracted by the smoke of controlled burning, I stepped out onto the heathland where


I met a group of hikers seeking directions. Naturally I led two of them to the driver who set them right.

‘Yearly burning of heather and gorse in the New Forest is helping to reinvigorate the area’s heathland habitats for wildlife, according to a scientific study.’ This quotation comes from from the Forestry Commission website which has further information.

On the outskirts of Hyde we encountered a string of ponies taking a leisurely stroll along a road lined with



Ponies on road 3

One of the animals stopped, turned, and noisily expressed its desire that I should also stop, and retrace my steps,

Ponies on road 4

which I did, to find reinforcements alongside the Modus in which Jackie closed the window

Pony and Modus

in the face of one particularly hopeful individual which,

Pony on road 3

when I came between it and the passenger side, observed me with what seemed like malevolent intent.

Cattle occupied the higher ground at Gorley Common,

Donkeys eating gorse

while donkeys’ leathery mouths tore at the gorse below.

Beef cobbler meal

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beef cobbler served with boiled potatoes, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and green beans; and purple sprouting broccoli which turned green the cooked. Jackie drank sparkling water and I finished the Bordeaux.



  1. The glaring pony photo is a masterpiece, Del! You are certainly getting better with your pics..mind you keep practising.

    1. I pre cook the beef(in a pressure cooker) as it is just cheap beef. I fry onions and mushrooms (lots of whole button mushrooms) and put this all together and thicken the gravy, for the scone topping you need 8oz of flour and a couple, or three teaspoons of baking powder, and 2 oz of butter or margarine, some milk, approx quarter of a pint. Dessert spoonful of English mustard powder. Salt and ground black pepper. I did not have the mustard powder and therefore I added made up mustard from a jar as I added the milk. It worked ok. Oh and I also added dried herbs, thyme and sage to the scone mix.
      Make the scones by putting all the dry ingredients in a bowl mix thoroughly and then rub in the butter ;til they look like fine bread crumbs then add the milk slowly ’til you get the scone mix into a lump that you can roll out to about 3/4 of an inch thick, cut into circles with a pastry cutter place on top of the hot meat filling in the dish, brush the scones with beaten egg, and cook for approx 15 mins or more until they have risen and browned. I have been known to sprinkle grated cheese on top of it all, and that is good too, but I did not do this on this occasion as there was mustard and herbs in the scones and I thought the cheese would be too many flavours.

  2. Your ladybirds appear to be rather larger than the ones I am familiar with – either that or the branch they are on is particularly small….. And malevolent horses? This is getting alarmingly close to Hitchcock and his birds!

  3. I can’t decide which photo I like best, Derrick! The blackthorn is lovely, but that malevolently glaring pony is wonderful, and of course, your dinner looks delicious.

  4. Controlled burning is a good thing. On the other hand, my young neighbour at home in Cantal is a Pompier. She is driven almost mad at this time of the year by SOS from elderly farmers who have set fire to the verges and failed to control the blaze. It is most amusing hearing her commentaries on the balcony. As ever your pictures and words delight.

  5. Sometimes a round peg does fit into a square hole! I hope your intruder doesn’t pay you another visit. Sweet photos, and spring is definitely in the air.

  6. I love that you used the round peg! 🙂 Controlled burns are so important for the health of grasslands. It’s great to see the land being cared for in that way. And I never get tired of seeing the animals! You remind me to look at everything from the largest to the smallest.

  7. What a lovely feast! When I was young and living in a rural town, farmers would often burn their fields, always at night. All the the neighbors would come and gather around the perimeter of the field to make sure the fire didn’t go where it wasn’t supposed to go. I expect volunteer firefighters would be there, too. Such an exciting time for a child. (In those long ago days, children were allowed to help.)

  8. Love your drives Derrick – the shots are always interesting. The shot of the lone horse looking back at you, priceless! I need to hop on a plane and head over for one of Jackie’s dinners – this was looked delicious!

  9. Horses, ponies and donkeys show their personality in these photos! I love the personal encounters you have and how you describe them, Derrick.
    Hope you don’t have a rat, too. 😉

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