Monday, 29 January 2018

Escape to the sea

I suddenly found myself with a free week in my diary and so went down to Portland to stay with my sister. Although very wet and grey for most of the day the sky cleared in time to watch this beautiful sunset over the sea.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Potted up

My marmalade has set despite my concerns yesterday when it still looked really liquid. It is hard to stop the peel rising though even though I gave it the recommended cooling time.


It is lovely to see the snowdrops as it always feels as if spring must be on its way and the worst of the winter is drawing to a close.


It is wonderful to see the catkins unfurling against the blue sky. I was worried that previously there were hardly any catkins at all on my hazels but this is the fourth year since planting and they have suddenly come good.

Coffee break

This morning was the first time in 2018 that I've sat outside with my coffee, lovely in the sun but a bit bracing when the breeze picked up though!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Hare again

The hare was here again this morning although harder to spot than previously when the field was covered in snow!

Is it just me ...

Is it just me or do these sheep look determined to find a way out of there field and into ours! They are thinking that this is how they escaped last time and yes they'd be right!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Marmalade time

Today I started to make a batch of marmalade. This is going to have a mixture of citrus fruit: red grapefruit, mandarins, lemons and one Seville orange because I can never resist a paper fruit wrapper. It came from Huerta Ave Maria and I love that thanks to the internet I could look them up (who wouldn't be charmed by a picture gallery that says 'in this space we would like to present the paradise where we grow our oranges'. Today I got as far as squeezing the juice and finally slicing all the peel so it can soak and soften for a day before I actually start to cook it.


We decide that it is time to prune back the raspberry canes and Dave takes advantage of a little sunshine to get on with the job. I'm desperate to garden but everywhere is still terribly wet, the lawn squelches underfoot and as I walk I leave impressions on the grass.

Ewe foolish sheep

Going outside this morning I couldn't believe my eyes, this silly sheep had her head stuck right through the hawthorn hedge to reach the ivy growing on the lane side of the field. We just looked at each other and she was still there when I returned to take her photo!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

A hare in the snow

This afternoon Dave walked out by the barn and disturbed the hare but he didn't run far, instead he sat for ages in the Big Field with the snow making him very visible.

Christmas rose

I bought this hellebore back in December and it has flowered beautifully, now covered in snow, it looks ready to star on a Christmas card.


With snow outside it was time to sit down with a cup of coffee and the puzzle page from the paper. I've only recently discovered the fun of codewords and love the challenge (except when you go wrong right at the start and become totally stuck!)

Saturday, 20 January 2018

More snow

Today, after our guests had gone, it continued to snow steadily and by mid afternoon it was starting to settle but the fog also closed in and evening came swiftly at Hill Farm. It was good to be able to light the fire and enjoy being warm indoors.

Friday, 19 January 2018


It was a beautiful dawn sky and as I watched the vapour trails I wondered which one was Tom on his way from East Midlands to Belfast.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

My own flock

Well sadly not really mine but they are in our garden. I was a little surprised to open the back door and spot them all by the apple trees, they then looked equally surprised to see me and took off through our young hedge!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Reach for the stars

My amaryllis (a Christmas gift) have suddenly had a growth spurt and so, as it's too wet and wild to work outside today, I took two substantial twigs pruned from my buddleia and used these to secure the top-heavy bulbs.

Windblown girls

Today we keep getting squalls of heavy rain and wind coming through, which has certainly cleaned up the very muddy sheep a little although I'm not sure how much they appreciate it!

Friday, 12 January 2018


The arrival of the land rover at the gate of the field opposite caused all the sheep to come rushing forward, they then all tried to stick their heads into the buckets with a lot of shoving and barging about. Sheep seem to have perfected the art of head butting eachother.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Redwing and Fieldfares

A whole flock of birds landed on the far side of the Big Field, zooming the camera to its maximum I can see that they are redwings and fieldfares, I'm not sure what they are eating now that they've taken all the berries. Earlier I saw a pigeon trying to behave like a hummingbird, hovering on the ivy to eat the berries from that - it was as you'd expect fairly unsuccessful and again and again he dropped back down onto the grass.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018


Such a pretty sky all pink streaks against the dark horizon. Within five minutes it had gone dark and the moment was over. For me it's been a busy day of gardening cutting back some of the dead herbaceous stuff before it gets tangled up with new growth. Already I can see that some of the tulips are pushing through.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018


I bought two pots of very inexpensive cyclamen from B&Q at the end of November and they have been wonderful all through advent and New Year and I now have one in the big bathroom and the other on the kitchen windowsill to brighten my day.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Farewell for another year

I'm always sad when the time comes to pack away our Christmas decorations for another year. Although I took them down on twelfth night it wasn't until this morning that everything got carefully wrapped in tissue paper and placed back up in the loft. I love my fairy and she goes in her own very special box to keep her safe.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Out walking

Although it's still frosty underfoot during the afternoon on the lane it was a good day to get some (very fresh) air. The sheep seemed to be posing for me and where looking cosy in their thick winter fleeces.

Saturday, 6 January 2018


It's that time of year again when the pheasants start to establish their territories. These two made a half hearted attempt to spar with each other but mainly they were enjoying the sunshine and the fact that they'd escaped from the shoot which I heard taking place nearby.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Our hill

After the snow and rain our hill is quite muddy and everywhere looks wintery now although I spotted a lone periwinkle in bloom where it was sheltered and my pots of bulbs show little green tips.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Owl incident

When I looked at the Christmas tree this morning I couldn't help noticing that the owl (top LHS), which is a very old decoration inherited from my mother, was sitting at right angles to his branch - presumably he'd made a night of it!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

The morning rush hour

I have to laugh, when I pulled back the curtains this morning I saw that the sheep were all queuing to squeeze themselves through a narrow gap into the next door field. Later in the day they were all queuing up again to make the return journey!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Season's Greetings!

Home for supper and a last chance to use some of my (large) collection of festive napkins. You'll note of course how my new very smart (John Smedley) tangerine cardigan so perfectly matches the orange roses .... Burton Albion won so it was a good start to the year!


On my way to a friend's New Year's Day BBQ (yes really) I noticed that the gorse was in bloom, and as they say when gorse isn't in flower then kissing is out of fashion! It was a good day for a walk although I had to laugh as helpful neighbours kept driving by and stopping to see if I needed a lift.

New Year's Day

The year starts with winding back my grandfather's perpetual calendar and opening our new Hill Farm calendar for the year (once I'd found where I'd put it!) which I enjoy making myself using photo's taken the previous year. This one also featured on our Christmas Party invite.

Welcome to 2018

The first sunrise of the New Year and a time to wish all our friends health and happiness in 2018.