I love the power that flowers have to lift my spirits. It may be a very gloomy January outside but indoors my cyclamen (inherited from my mother) is in full bloom with lots more buds to open. I also bought two cheap pots of bulbs a couple of weeks ago from Lidl. Potted up in old terracotta pots, with plenty of Hill Farm moss, they are now looking fabulous. The cheerfulness living up to their name and perfuming the bathroom with their scent.
I meant to watch birds today for the required hour for the Big Garden Birdwatch but somehow my time disappeared. However I did spot a young jay down by the raspberries and a rather naughtier bullfinch enjoying the emerging buds on our damson. I notice that neither feature amongst the 15 named birds on the RSPB checklist.
This made me laugh! We've a robin who comes each day for little treats (and isn't averse to pinching cat food from puss's plate). While I was washing up I noticed he had perched on top of the metal bird that stands in our flowerbed creating a two bird tower!
I seem to be spending a lot of time on fun, but totally unnecessary craft projects. With a bit of a cold and the garden far too damp for me to do anything constructive outside I've been playing. I went to an embroidery event to create a 'Hare with Agapanthus Flowers', well who could resist a title like that. In the end we had guests and I got there rather late so instead I created my own project and have since been having fun teaching myself a range of different stitches.
A group from our WI met tonight (despite thick freezing fog, so bad I struggled to follow the lane) and learnt the art of 'tea bag folding'. Now at first this sounded like just the skill needed to run our B&B but it turned out to be more akin to origami. Apparently it originated from decorative paper squares used to wrap tea but ours, more prosaically came via a craft supplier. It was great fun and we were taught two different types of fold. I'm adding a link in case you are inspired to have a go! Tea bag folding information.
This crow was sitting guard over the very misty garden. Each time I think the weather is clearing this persistent fog or low cloud returns. It is definitely time to enjoy the pleasures of stopping indoors.
A pretty pink sky this morning as the sun rose. I still get surprised by how much the rising and setting sun moves its position over the course of the year. In the summer it rises much further to the left of our view.
Well actually there were lights in the sky when I came to bed last night and they were in the north, but after checking online I know that it must have just been a strange greenish/pink reflection off the clouds. For a minute I was so excited as I would love to see them and I know from here there is the very slightest chance that one day I might.
Oh the excitement of life here ... I have a new apron! I loved this one with its images of hares set among the oak leaves - so Hill Farm, although sadly our hare is keeping his distance during the winter. If you fancy one for yourself (the apron, not our hare), you could like me ask Father Christmas, or else you could visit your nearest National Trust shop!
The clouds tonight were lit by the setting sun and turned a beautiful pinkish orange, that reminded me of the lining of a shell. The evenings are drawing out again and it isn't truly dark until around 5pm.
At this time of year we get wonderful sky-scapes (unless shrouded in fog!) It is one of the perks of having such amazingly open views (the downside is that the wind here is also more spectacular than elsewhere!)
The sheep opposite us are now starting to look really pregnant. Today they were bought a big bucket of fresh hay and they were making very appreciative little squeaking noises whilst they ate. When I took the photo all was harmony but a little later I noticed a fair amount of head butting going on!
Today was very grey and miserable but whilst searching for something in my sewing box I found this tiny felt bear kit - a present from my sister years ago and put aside 'until I had a moment' and now I have! It was a lovely way to spend a few hours. I now have the head and the arms made and can't wait to show the finished result. The bear came from Bower Hinton Bears but I'm not sure if they are still available.
Well the promised snow sort of arrived. Joe scraped quite a bit off his car but by the time it was light enough to see the temperature had risen and so although it was still falling fast it was also melting. By the afternoon the sun had cleared most of it away. I saw more snow down in Doveridge when I left our WI meeting the previous evening.
Well our crudely lashed together roof held and now Dave is busy effecting repairs ahead of the strong winds and snow that appear to feature in tonight's forecast. At the moment it is trying to sleet here, a good day to sit at the computer and plan things (notably next month's Afternoon Tea being hosted by our WI for Chinese visitors to Rolls Royce!)
Well the gales came and were much stronger than forecast. I hardly slept for the roar of the wind in the night and by the afternoon the dairy roof was only staying put as we'd gone out with a length of rope and lashed it down. The lane was hard to pass and Dave's chain saw came in useful clearing fallen branches. Despite three power cuts we managed soup and rolls for lunch and our electricity was back on again in time for our supper. Congratulations must go to Western Power who rang us in the evening to check that everything was OK.
The blackbird and pheasant were quick to spot the opportunity provided by my apples which had blown off the table and into their reach. It had been such a rough day I couldn't deprive them of their bounty. In the front garden, sheltered from the very worst of the wind, my Lichfield Angel is in bloom. These were snatched photos taken between trudging branches out of the lane.
Today it was time to get outside and begin to prepare the flower beds for the year ahead. It is amazing how many weed seeds are already starting to grow, shepherd's purse was even daring to thing about flowering. Our forecast is for gales tomorrow so although the ground is pretty soggy it was a good day to work outside.
A grey wet day provided me with the perfect excuse to sit indoors and start to plan where I'm going to plant things this year. (Mind you I also need some good gardening weather as there is lots to clear and prepare before I get to the sowing stage!)
We have had our 'pond' for 11 months now and after it's glory day (singular) when it was full of water it now resembles more of a big puddle. Before Christmas it looked as if the water levels were rising but now it has almost all disappeared again!
Even though really the Kings are just arriving in the nativity story it is time to take our crib down, along with all the Christmas decorations. I hate having to pack them away for another year. We have so few Christmas's really over a lifetime and I like to treasure them all.
This silly sheep got itself totally tangled up in the brambles. The more they twist and turn the more they get stuck. Sometimes they manage to pull free but otherwise the farmer has to work to release them. The ones that free themselves walk around in a huge tangle of briars - almost as if they are wearing their own Christmas decorations.
Today was foggy first thing but as the sun rose there were small patches of blue sky to be seen. On the 'lookout tree' the buzzard was in position. He can sit there for ages and early morning is his favourite time to watch the field looking for breakfast.
The sun is rising late at the moment and has moved much further to the south than in the summer. This morning it was around 8.30 when I took my photo. There was obviously a change in the atmosphere as all the vapour trails stopped abruptly in a line across the sky, I assume there was a strong cross wind at that point. Pilot brother can doubtless advise!
A glorious 'blue sky' day had me outside gardening (while the men went to watch yet another football game). Although the frost remained around the base of the hedges it was good to be outside. When I came back in for my cup of tea it was wonderful to be able to warm chilly toes on our heated floor!