Sunday walk

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Heavy snowfall always transforms the forest into something magical, so I venture out into the cold to take some snaps. The sky is clear and it is close to freezing but the sunshine will soon warm things up.

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Tracks in the snow are always interesting. Below left: are paw prints and with no signs of human foot prints it could be a fox or even the dreaded wolf. On the right are either deer or wild boar prints, probably deer as boar tend to roam in groups.

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Below the tree walk is deserted, a sign of the times. Normally on a Sunday like this there would be hoards of people visiting, but times have changed for the moment.

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tree

Doris

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Sheep tuck into a welcomed bale of hay as snow returns to the hillside. I knew a cold front was on the way but I was not expecting snow again. I think the woodpecker was equally surprised as he was noticeably silent today. ‘Doris’ the ewe (right in photo) always keeps her distance while the others dive into the hay with abandon. Doris is actually the one remaining sheep from the last flock and still suffers, I suspect, from trauma after a lamb and the other ewe were taken by a wolf last year. However she does respond when I coax her to come forward and tuck in, albeit very warily. So even sheep respond to being spoken to, believe it or not.

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Carrots in a bucket

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My carrots are doing nicely along with some garlic and ginger. Amazing what you can learn on YouTube. Despite the recent snow storm and zero temperatures Spring is just around the corner and even tomorrow 12C and sun is forecast. Meanwhile as I write this an owl is hooting away and I recently heard the spine chilling scream of a fox. I think if I ever heard that while camping I would be out of there like greased lightening.

Breakfast

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Yesterday the first snow of the year arrived as temperatures plummeted to zero. Today however it’s warm again with temperatures expected in double figures. Meanwhile the forecast for the coming days is a high of 17C degrees then next week a drop to -8C. 17C in January! A real roller coaster ride and quite unusual as temperature usually hover around zero this time of year. Meanwhile the sheep tuck into their welcomed breakfast.

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pterodactyl

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This pterodactyl is just one of many image tiles on the walkway strip leading up to the National museum of natural science. (see post: Taichung postcards). The creatures come in all sizes and this one is by no means the biggest. The larger ones are hard to view unless you have a drone or access to one of the tower blocks surrounding the walkway. Even then trees along the strip would probably hinder the view. So I created this image by stitching together 8 separate images so that it could be viewed in all its glory as I doubt few people have ever seen them properly. My feet at the bottom show just how big this one was.

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A pedestrian walks along the strip, the normal ground level view.

Taichung postcards

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Taichung’s old main station lit up in all its Christmas glory.

Initially Taichung can seem chaotic and impossible to navigate, especially for non Chinese speakers. However, well designed tourist maps are available from the main station and buses are frequent, well marked and easy to use, especially if you buy a swipe card (Easycard), which is essential for frequent trips. (MRT is still under construction). Most bus trips inside the city are free so that even getting the wrong one costs nothing. A shuttle bus service does a round trip stopping at many of the main places and it is useful if you have a particular place in mind.

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Taichung park lake and fountains

However, from the old/new main station with a bit of zigzagging it is possible to take in many of Taichung’s main attractions by walking or riding through the greenest parts of the city. First stop after the station is Taichung park, which was created by the Japanese during their administration of the city. It’s a great place to relax with a real zen atmosphere, spectacular trees and a boating lake full of koi carp and turtles.

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A typical restaurant street at night between the park and the canal walkway.

From there head west along the canal walkway to the National Taiwan museum of fine arts. Then a long narrow park with sculptures (Calligraphy greenway) takes you north again until you reach a vast green area overlooked by the impressive Hotel One.

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A typical ‘Calligraphy Greenway’ path where a variety of sculptures can be found.

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Hotel One towers over the a park where families spend weekends picnicking and playing.

Continue northwards staying on the parkway strip and eventually you will reach the National museum of natural science and finally the botanical gardens.

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There is a beautiful tiled pathway leading to the National museum of Natural Science with inlaid animals and plants depicting a timeline from prehistoric to contemporary times. Unfortunately they can only be viewed at ground level, which is a pity as some are so big, particularly the larger dinosaurs that they are difficult to see properly.

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Finally you will reach the botanical gardens with a tropical glass house and waterfall.

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Freedom II

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Another stressful morning freeing two more sheep caught in brambles. It took me half an hour hacking my way through brambles, shoulder high, to get to this one. This is a new problem as the last flock took no interest in brambles (blackberry bushes) but these new sheep seem to have a taste for them.

After rounding up the flock the owner and I managed to get them into another area fenced off and away from the worst of the brambles.

Freed!

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I had to rescue three young sheep this morning trapped in brambles, an ever present hazard here. This one took around 20 minutes to free as I had no tools with me to cut away the thick bramble stalks. The wool had become tangled and wrapped around the stalks and the young sheep was literally hanging from vegetation on the steep hillside. Note the tufts of wool everywhere, it must have struggled all night. I found two more young sheep  elsewhere caught in brambles, they seem to like eating them, which could account how they become trapped.

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Meanwhile another young sheep that had been hanging around came to inspect the damage and seeing its mate freed called it to join him but was duly ignored. The young sheep seemed more interested in eating, no doubt not having eaten for sometime. So the other wandered back to the flock, satisfied I imagine that all was OK now.

A while later …

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I discover on the way back to its flock the young brown sheep became trapped on the corrugated roof of a small shack,  caught up in a cable, but once freed it too joined the rest. The flock finally together again, minus the first one I freed, which seems to have taken umbrage with its family. So that makes four rescued in one day. I just hope the flock has learned from that experience and stick to the grassy pastures in future.