Monday, 6 April 2009

Ponies, trees and tatties

Some rural images today. It was a public holiday so I had the day off. Took a drive out in the countryside with my wee camera for company. I'd passed these Shetland ponies a few times recently, but today I stopped. I knocked on the door of the house next to the field and sure enough they owned the ponies. I wanted to get in the field to take some close up pics. The poor guy who came to the door must've been about 90. Turned out they were his daughters ponies. She apparently got one about 15 years ago and they felt sorry for it cos it was lonely. So they got another, then it got preggers, pupped, foaled? Not sure of the expression! Today I counted eight and I'm sure there are more. Anyway he told me to come back when his daughter was there and I'd get into the field. I would have stayed and chatted longer but he looked perilously close to death, so I thanked him and snapped the pic from the road. 
If you click and enlarge, you'll see the two at the back are just puppy ponies, how cute are they?
It was a pretty grey day so I liked the way the blue tractor stood out on the landscape, especially against the deep brown of the turned earth. Tatties going in there I think.

 Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.

Under my window a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.

My grandfather could cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, digging down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it. 

Seamus Heaney

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  1. enjoyed your post, photos and your verse...thanks for sharing such a lovely entry.
    have a good evening.

  2. Your pictures are fantastic, but your commentary has me chuckling!

  3. I have always enjoyed that early Heaney poem; I like it all the more with your photos.

  4. Thank you, I really loved your verse, and the pictures of course especially of the ponies :)

  5. Lovely post; the photos and the words.

  6. Your photos are delightful and so are your own accounting of your day. And the beautiful words! Thanks for them all!

  7. Lovely photos and wonderful commentary.
    Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful week.
    Mary Elizabeth Now and Then.

  8. We have a Shetland and are looking for a 'friend' for him, so I had to laugh at this! I laughed again to hear about your conversation, but I loved the photos and verse. Beautiful post!

  9. This was a wonderful post. I enjoyed the words and photographs so much. The ponies are so great with their long shaggy hair.

  10. Love those poniesand the view of rural life.

  11. Love the manes on the ponies and the blue of the tractor also. The story left me giggling.

    Nebraska Birding

  12. I would never knock on the door of someone here. They would consider me round the bend and chase me off their land. I'm afraid the ponies are far too cute to venture towards the tractor.

  13. What fun! So glad to visit. We have a blizzard in My Muskoka today.

  14. Excellent photos, the last one is my favourite, such gorgeous countryside.

    Have a great week!
    Regina In Pictures

  15. Lovely photos, love the ponies!

  16. Pitu my old eyes can't read the red against the black. In the pony picture when enlarged, i lowe the trees in the far distance. I like rural scenes and the turned earth looks fertile and rich.

  17. Lovely photographs...
    The ponies are so tiny, but very sturdy, THAT I know, from owing one :)
    You have a lovely blog, off to read more !

  18. Great photos - love the one with the trees

  19. I so love the countryside..the simplicity is so inviting..loved the pics of the ponies

  20. Lovely photos and story! The poem was difficult to see with the dark red letters on the black background.

  21. I used to ride at a stables that had a couple of Shetland Ponies, they were lovely. BTW the term is foal/foaling.
    Looking at those stark trees (which I love btw) it looks like Spring hasn't sprung with you just yet?

  22. Not quite Sarah, but it's on it's way at last. Thank you all for your kind comments and sorry about the red on black, it wasn't intentional, just came out that way and I couldn't be arsed changing it. Red on black is a nightmare for us colour blinders, so I know what you mean.

  23. I conquered the red on black by selecting it. White on blue was easier to read. And well worth the effort. I really liked your poem about your dad and granddad. You pix are pretty cool, too.