Sunday, 26 March 2017

A Blast of Snow

I knew it was coming, timed perfectly for my Mother-in-law's visit and we went from snowy showers to this overnight.
It was the most snow we have had in the six years we have been here, fabulously powdery, all the sounds were muffled in a bubble of peace but no chance of getting out on ungritted roads up steep hills. We sit at 620 metres altitude and the views were spectacular.
The big dog loved it, the smaller dog hated it but bravely waded through the snow as I fetched wood for the stove. He wasn't going to let me die alone in the blizzard.
Poor Tim and his Mother were trapped in the hotel but their hosts were fabulous, feeding them and ensuring that they had a roaring log fire. We still have a leaking roof and no hot water so we felt that Tim's 91 year old mother would be happier in the best that money can afford locally, and we were right.
It was very beautiful though.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Blooming Marvelous

I have blossom and flowers, everything is waking up. The weather is still variable but I have seen bumble bees working so I am hoping for fruit later in the year. Butterflies appear at the first hint of sun all year round here. I have also seen the first few flies heralding the plagues that are to come.
The nectarine is a mass of blossom and the outdoor peach is not far behind, although less spectacular as it is still struggling with peach leaf curl which it gets every year. I hope that it will be less affected as it gets older.
The early plums are also in bloom but more bees are needed.
I am trying broad beans in the polytunnel this winter. I chose 'The Sutton' which is dwarf and so far they are looking good, I just hope that they again get fertilised.
Finally the kittens are now recovered fully from their spaying and vaccinations and are outwitting the dogs and exploring the garden. At first they would get stuck up things (trees/porch/roof) and I would have to fetch them down with a ladder but now they can go down as well as up which is a great relief to all. This is Dinah up one of the old apple trees this morning.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Catch Up

I know I haven't blogged for months but as I get older time seems to speed up and life has been rather more chaotic than usual. With close family members suffering from illness I have been upping my carbon footprint to visit them in the UK. Tim was also made redundant over Christmas so he is currently in the UK job hunting with silent desperation. The environmental news seems to be all doom and gloom and weather extremes are becoming the new normal for everyone.

There is good news however. I am in the latter stages of writing a book and kind family and friends are currently proof reading it prior to it's being sent to potential literary agents so everything is crossed that someone will like it enough to take it on. Spring is definitely in the air here, with raucous bird song and two days of sun which has found me neglecting my dirty kitchen floor and sowing seeds in the polytunnel instead. I also have cabbage, broccoli and onion seedlings to plant out as soon as I have some beds cleared of over wintering weeds. They were bought from the market because I never got my act together enough to sow my own.
I have however dusted off the propagator and I expect to sow tomatoes and peppers this weekend to be followed by squashes of all kinds later when space allows. The periwinkle has been flowering all winter long. It is a bit thuggish but I am going to leave it where it is as it saves me weeding and I shall put my more delicate herbs and flowers elsewhere where they stand a better chance. It has a loganberry emerging from it so it is productive as well as pretty.
The camellias have also been blooming since December and I have my first dandelion blooming as well. I am keeping some patches of them for tea. I have stopped my anti-inflammatory drugs as they make my heart condition worse and am currently exploring alternative herbs and spices to replace them.
The sweet kittens are now vaccinated and neutered and are ready to start their working lives as mousers (and ratters) we hope. We have eight juvenile meat chickens in the orchard which have settled down well but the white ones in particular are huge and lethargic. They are not used to free range and mostly walk from their shelter to the feeder and back with the odd nibble at the grass. I hope as the weather improves they will forage a bit further afield.
As ever the egg glut has started so some will be frozen for the winter. Hurrah for a new growing year.