30 Jan 2011

On a winter’s day.

We spent the day walking on Marros Mountain. Not the whole day. We were only out for about two and a half hours, but the sun was low in the sky when we returned, so it feels like we were at it all day. Our mission today was a long walk, and we accomplished that, if not much else.

We took a very long walk, indeed, really for Truman’s benefit more than our own. The weather’s been cold, but bright and sunny and the dog has been pining at the back door since yesterday. When Truman needs a long walk he won’t settle. He becomes this manic, attention seeking little powerhouse; dragging laundry off the radiators, or shoes downstairs; a bundle of puppy energy that has no where to go but naughtiness. There’s nothing for it but to help him burn off some of the excess with a ramble through the countryside. This is known as “breaking the dog.” Don’t worry. He’s not really broken. Just calm and sleepy and lovely and mellow at the end of the process.

We don’t always feel like walking when Truman does, but if we oblige him he sleeps for hours and hours afterward. It’s always worth it. Plus there are health benefits for both Tonia and me that I’m well aware of. And I like knowing that my legs will carry me for hours across the countryside if I so chose.

Family walk

Jasper accompanied us for the first part of the journey, as he often does. I’ve been wanting a picture of this for months now. Today, Tonia caught the moment for posterity. Adorable, isn’t it? My neighbors find Jasper’s behavior delightful; the little orange cat trotting along the lane with his very best buddy in the whole wide world. Make no mistake, the cat is walking with Truman, not with me.

I was a little nervous about Jasper following us, as we were planning to cover a fair bit of ground. I’ve been worried that Jasper will wander off and not be able to find his way home. I needn’t have. We met Stephanie, a neighbor, looking after her horses on Honeypot Hill, just at the base of the mountain. Jasper took one look at her collie, and decided that that was far enough for him. He was waiting on the back porch for us when got home.

Ice architecture

Near the foot bridge over the creek there’s a boggy area that’s been iced over for most the week. There’s been no rain, so the water level has dropped, leaving sheets of ice suspended between the willow saplings growing out of the bog.

Wool gathering

Up the mountain (which is really no more than a large hill) we followed the the tumbled remains of a dry stone wall along several large fields, to the kissing gate at the entrance to the woods. There were more molehills this time than last week, and fewer sheep. Which is to say, none at all, today. Lots of wool though, snagged on gorse and along fences.


In the clearing just inside the woods we stopped for rest and a Dollheid photo op. This part of the woods was clear cut by the previous owners, leaving a stark landscape of stumps and gorse. The current owners, neighbors of ours, are actively managing the woodland, planting deciduous native species, and thinning the old over grown woods. There are big plans for the area, and it does my heart good to see the place under such careful management.

Until this month I hadn’t walked Marros Mountain for five years, and the last time I was up here the woods were dark and silent. It’s lovely to see the range of wildlife now in the area. Last week I spotted a Pine Martin slipping into the undergrowth while I walked with Truman. Stephanie mentioned this morning that she’d seen deer tracks in last months’ snow and, sure enough, today we spotted a deer. Though if she hadn’t mentioned it, I probably wouldn’t have recognized it as such, as I’ve never seen one here. It’s quite surprising to discover deer living less than a mile (as the crow flies) from my front door.

The 'heid in all its glory.

As for my new Dollheid, it performed admirably on its first outing, doing everything that a well made hat ought. The cashmere lining of the corrugated ribbing is super soft. My ears were kept toasty and my head neither too warm or cold. An excellent hat (worthy of a Today’s Sweater feature in the next podcast) for a most excellent Sunday, walking frost-covered Marros Mountain on a blue-skied afternoon.

Posted on January 30, in Blog


  1. Leanne wrote:

    Hi Brenda, Love your hat! It really is beautiful. Take care & stay warm!!
    Leanne xo

    Posted on 1.30.11 ·
  2. Cat Bordhi wrote:

    Such beautiful photos! Love the cat-dog friendship. And you do live in a very beautiful place. And the hat is exquisite. Thank you for the treat.
    And yes, the internet is grouchy on this side of the pond too. Has been for days. I am wondering if it is because so many people are following event in Egypt. Like everyone, I am holding them in my heart as they try to make it through the birth canal.

    Posted on 1.30.11 ·
  3. Barbara S. wrote:

    The hat looks lovely, and I love the photo of the ice suspended on the willow saplings.

    Posted on 1.30.11 ·
  4. Theresa wrote:

    Thanks for sharing your walk with us today – I really enjoyed it. I wonder how many calories I burned . . . Now I must get my cleaning finished so I can get to some knitting!

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  5. BeckyinVT wrote:

    Thanks for sharing the photos, you live in a lovely area! I have a cat that likes to go for walks with us and the dogs too. It really amuses the neighbors, but apparently it’s not as unique as we thought!

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  6. linda wrote:

    Lovely post! My daughter’s anthro prof took her snake out for a walk on a little leash. Brenda, I miss you soooooooo much! Linda in Colorado

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  7. All of these beautiful photos are making me long Wales. You are so lucky to live in such comforting surroundings.

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  8. Gina wrote:

    I’m so jealous that you are still able to take your dog out for walks! Mine is such a baby about the cold weather and so we haven’t gone on a walk in months!

    Your hat looks amazing, I’m excited to hear all about it in your next podcast!

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  9. Katarina wrote:

    Looks like you had a lovely day out! As much I love living in the city I do often long for those long countryside walks. Dollheid is lovely!

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  10. Jan wrote:

    My cat walks with us too. He’ll got with or without the dog. He can do about a mile before it’s too much for him. He’s been carried home more than once! I think it has to do something with the hunting instinct. I think he thinks we’re going on a hunt.

    But isn’t it great fun to walk with the animals!

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  11. What a lovely walk for all! It makes me miss my cocker spaniels. I love the cat walking beside Truman. True buds.

    Great hat too, Brenda!

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  12. Beautiful pictures. Thank you for taking us on your walk 🙂 I’ve been wanting to make one of Kate Davies’ lovely hats for a long time. Your version is lovely.

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  13. hunter wrote:

    Thank you for taking us on your walk with you, it sounds like a lovely day!

    And this “worthy of a Today’s Sweater feature in the next podcast” totally made my day. Looking forward to the next episode!

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  14. Thanks for the lovely pictures! I am so jealous of your wonderful looking weather! AND the walks!
    I am sitting in my bedroom with my 1 month old daughter looking out the window at the falling snow … We live in WI and the snow thus far is up to my window, and I am craving a walk like nothing else – excepts its too cold! It makes me want to move somewhere warm…

    Posted on 1.31.11 ·
  15. lynn wrote:

    I love the photos. They are made even more beautiful with your lovely dialogue.

    Posted on 2.1.11 ·
  16. Jammie wrote:

    What lovely sunshine! Enjoy!

    Posted on 2.1.11 ·
  17. Camille wrote:

    Ooh, I love your dollheid!

    Posted on 2.1.11 ·
  18. Laura wrote:

    Gorgeous hat – the colours are wonderful. The photo of the ice and saplings is remarkable. I’ve never seen that before.

    Posted on 2.1.11 ·
  19. kmkat wrote:

    We used to have a cat that would walk along. The best was the time she accompanied my two boys and I on our trick-or-treat rounds in our neighborhood.

    Posted on 2.1.11 ·
  20. Lydia wrote:

    Oh, I do like to read about cold weather and chilly walks during our hot hot hot summer. Over here last weekend we were on cyclone alert which luckily changed into a rain depression and violent thunderstorms and 38oC. Love the hat – Kate Davies patterns are all so elegant. What a very sweet little cat and dog too!

    Posted on 2.1.11 ·
  21. Hanna wrote:

    What a beautiful story you tell, as always! Our little black cat likes to accompany us on walks, too, so this resonated with me. When we lived in Vermont, she’d walk pretty far into the forest with us. When she’d gone far enough, she’d start crying, and then she’d let me carry her the rest of the way.

    Posted on 2.2.11 ·
  22. Dianne wrote:

    Love the hat Brenda!

    Posted on 2.3.11 ·
  23. Robyn wrote:

    Thank you for sharing with us. Good to see you and Truman again

    Posted on 2.3.11 ·
  24. Josie wrote:

    My cat Hermione walks with me and Mika, but only as far as the end of the road. Then she sits in a hedge and meows pitifully until we get back to that bit, then walks back home with us, all the while telling us off for going out of the territory. I’m not sure that she’s keeping us company as such, more like ensuring that her minions don’t do anything too dangerous. You’re so lucky to be living in a place with such a wide territory! I love being in Cardiff but I do miss being able to take a walk like this without having to drive off somewhere first.

    Love the hat. Very pretty.

    Posted on 2.3.11 ·
  25. Cynthia wrote:

    You seem so contented…and that brings us all joy.

    Posted on 2.4.11 ·
  26. Bee wrote:

    My cat does the same thing! Or I should qualify that,she follows me on walks as we don’t have a dog.

    Posted on 2.5.11 ·

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