I've been underlyingly grumpy this week, for no good reason. It's been really windy, which I always find unsettling, and I've had a sense of my days slipping away without me really doing very much.
I'm trying to pin them down, to be more deliberate, to at least create a record of what I've done so I can look back and remember.
Thursday was pretty cheerful. We started with a cuppa in our favourite cafe, and then I spent quite a lot of time sitting in the garden shelter, plotting and scheming. It was windy outside, but not in the shelter itself.
The chickens sat with me for a while - they can be pretty settled and restful when there isn't food on offer.
Thursday was also the day I finally got round to weeding the veg patch - with the chickens patrolling the perimeter looking (unsuccessfully) for a way in. I'd been pretty pleased with the lack of slug damage so far, but this last week the kale has been full of caterpillars.
Any illusions I had about the chickens acting as pest control were shattered when they wouldn't even eat a caterpillar that was plonked directly under their beaks.
Thursday was also the day I harvested some veg!
Not much, just kale, chard and a few peas, which I cooked up later with a massive risotto.
I've been slowly shifting my 'hay sponge' onto the edible windbreak to use as mulch, so I did some more of that on Thursday too.
The garden (or at least the veg patch) was looking pretty tidy by the end of the day.
Friday was quite different. I woke up in a bad mood, and grumped myself into an even worse one by stomping around trying to tidy up the house. Eventually it was 'suggested' that I meet a friend, and so we had lunch in a cafe near her house, and it was most cheerful indeed.
We managed to lose our only set of keys for one of the cars (it seems we may have thrown them out with the recycling), and then later in the evening there was a power cut as I was trying to cook my tea.
Written down in the cold light of a new day these things don't seem so bad, but they piled up on one another and by the end of Friday I was Quite Fed Up.
Fortunately, sanity has been restored this morning, as a lovely locksmith-magician turned up and created a new key out of thin air, and a spare for both cars (and a spare for what I thought was a front door key, but which apparently isn't).
I've been pottering outside today, but the weather is a mix of sunshine and showers and I keep having to dash back inside. I did stay out long enough to find some windfalls though - half of our apple crop and all of our plums (er, one). Sad casualties to the weather.
I'm never gloomy for long though. This afternoon I'm off to meet some friends for a cuppa in a place I've not been to for years, and later we have a friend coming to camp in the garden. I've got some adventures planned for next week, and it's nice to have something specific to look forward to. All good.
Goodness me I'm tired. I'm having a week off work at the minute, and I already feel like I need another week off to recover. I don't think I've been so busy for a long time.
I started the week with a trip to see my sister's new house, and to walk along the beach with my mum. I think this is the first time I've seen the sea for a year.
So nice to see them all, and a lovely day, but more driving than I've done in months.
After all that sitting down, Sunday felt like the time for a walk, and the sun was shining, so I donned my sandals and walked to our favourite cafe.
It's only just over four miles, so it feels absurd that it was so tiring. The first half was on footpaths and tracks, but the second half was all on the road. It was lovely to be able to stop and photograph the scenery that I so often drive past, but crossing and re-crossing the road to avoid blind bends, and hopping on and off the verge to avoid cars passing too close, did get rather tiresome, and I'm not sure this is a walk I'll be doing too often, despite the views.
I met Peter at the cafe, so fortunately I didn't have to walk home as well. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon out in the garden, strimming the grass.
I have a love/hate relationship with strimming. Ideally, I'd manage all of the grass in the garden with a combination of the scythe and the push along lawnmower, and most of the year I do this. However, neither of those things is really suitable (in my hands at least) for the narrow strip of verge down the sides of the drive.
The pushalong lawnmower doesn't deal well with the bumpy ground that is everywhere other than the small front garden, and the scythe is in need of peening (of which more later) so isn't at its most effective right now.
So I braved the strimmer, after a small tantrum while I tried to remember how to start the damn thing. Eventually we came to an uneasy truce, and after three or four hours with headphones and visor on, audio book playing in my ear, I was pretty pleased with the results.
I'm not one for a super tidy garden - good job really as I have neither the time to keep properly on top of ours, nor the money to pay someone else to. I quite like a bit of long grass, and don't really cut beyond a small bit of lawn that we use for picnics for most of the year. But after my (so far) annual attack with the strimmer, everything does seem rather calmer and a lot bigger.
There was a reason for all my strimming - a friend arrived on Monday afternoon to camp with her family.
They'd been planning to go to a campsite, but for various reasons had decided they weren't happy with communal facilities, so I'd offered a spot at the end of our garden. We have a separate toilet and sink, and plenty of space, and of course our deluxe outdoor shelter which got plenty of use, especially in the evening.
They left on Wednesday, and there was just enough time to sanitise the spare loo before our next guest arrived (just one this time, and just for a short visit). Today I popped to meet a friend for ice cream outside another cafe, and now one of Peter's friends is here (I'm hiding while they talk about guitars).
I had all kinds of plans for this week. Some things I've done (mostly the ones that involve other people), but others I've not even started. Right now I don't have any appointments tomorrow, and it looks like the rain will have stopped by then, so I might have a day of garden pottering. The list of jobs is getting longer and longer, and I only have another three days off work.
No jobs tonight though - I'm anticipating another evening in the outdoor shelter watching the sun set over the hills.
After yesterday's complaining, I made a conscious effort to drag myself back to cheerfulness, starting (of course) with a nice cup of tea. Far too windy to drink it outside, but it was very nice to feel the sunshine through the living room window, and I've enjoyed having these roses which some friends gave us last weekend.
I spent quite a lot of the day outside, with no particular plan, and the rest of it inside letting my face recover from being buffeted by the wind.
I realised I'd missed National Meadows Day on Saturday. For the last couple of years I've been to open days at local meadows, but that wasn't possible this year, so I wandered into the middle of ours to see what was growing.
Lots of things, as it turned out, but it was so windy it was difficult to take a photo of them. I'll write a separate post about managing our meadow I think - each year I learn more and I'm getting a better idea of what needs doing and when.
The gooseberries were starting to ripen - not the red ones I planted, but the green ones on the edge of the field, which I've missed for the last two years because the birds spotted them before I did. I've harvested a few (they're now in the freezer) and will keep checking. The blackcurrants are nearly ready too.
While I was out pottering round the garden, I turned the compost (and oddly enough later had a conversation with my sister about compost bins for her garden).
The first bay wasn't full, but it was becoming a bit of a tower and has had a lot of hay and chicken bedding added lately, so I shifted it to the second bay and mixed it up a bit. Some of the middle was quite dry, so hopefully the rain will give it a bit of a soak today.
I also spent quite a bit of time with the chickens, old and new. Peter's built a temporary outdoor run attached to the main run so the new ladies can get used to the fresh air without roaming completely free yet.
It also means there's plenty of space for a bit of 'enforced mingling', although at the minute the two factions prefer to stay quite far apart from each other.
The new ladies are making themselves at home and seem quite comfortable with us, and when they're on their own, but are very wary of the older ladies. The older ladies are also fine when on their own, but are quite put out about having imposters living in their space. Bessie seems to be on the mend now she has her implant, but Rusty has been acting a bit too quiet for the last couple of days, although she did lay this soft-shelled egg yesterday which might explain a few things.
We had a bit of a downpour in the afternoon so I came inside to tidy up a bit, and found one of these tiny fairy eggs that I'd collected a few weeks ago and shoved on a shelf near the back door and forgotten about. I love these - we've only ever had four in nearly two years of chicken keeping. They're shaped just like a normal egg but tiny.
I've added it to the collection I keep on the windowsill.
More rain, so I sorted out some clothes, and cleared up the kilo of dried mealworms that had vibrated itself down the side of the freezer when the washing machine was on earlier in the day (I'd also left my watch in the pocket of my jeans so that was not a successful wash overall!)
Eventually it stopped raining, so back out to do a bit of tidying in the greenhouse, which I'd neglected for so long that the thistles had started growing through the handle of my watering can.
We caught a mouse near the back door (probably harvesting the rest of the mealworms from under the freezer) and drove a couple of miles to release it in the Mouse Layby up on the moors (where we release all our mice into the wilds).
Once the chickens were all shut in, I made a start on digging my experimental french drain. There's a really soggy area in the field next to our edible windbreak, which gets even more soggy when trampled by the cows, and drains across the gateway, making even more mud. I'm hoping I can drain some of it off into a space in the garden which can stay damp most of the year, and soggy for some of it, and which will hopefully stop the field (or at least the gateway) getting too wet.
Bit of a project, at least when you're being stubborn and doing it on your own with a pickaxe. But I thought I might as well take advantage of the wall having fallen down to lay a bit of pipe underneath it.
I don't really know what I'm doing, of course, but other people have laid french drains before so it can't be impossible, right? I'll figure it out.
So, altogether not a bad day, and it did lift me out of the funk I'd dipped into. The sunshine played a big part in that, of course, but so did doing something, reading, growing, digging, pottering. I must remember all this next time.
May felt properly like summer, and we spent a lot of time outside. The garden is starting to take shape.
The veg patch
The big project for the month was to create a veg patch, fenced in to keep chickens (and hares and sheep) out, and easy to maintain, ultimately with a no dig system.
I picked a spot, nine metres by nine metres, in the sunniest part of the garden, and we put up a fence.
It's pretty exposed, and having this area fenced in also gives us the option of adding wind proof fabric round the outside while our edible windbreak establishes.
Over the course of the month, popping out for a few hours each evening, we cleared the grass and edged the beds with stone.
This has been a lovely project - not too arduous, and we could just do little bits, half an hour here and there, and could easily see the progress we were making.
As each bed was edged, I filled it with mulch, mostly home made compost. Not all the beds have compost underneath, as I didn't have enough.
We wondered whether to buy in either gravel or wood chip for the paths, but have settled on a longer-term (and cheaper) option of producing it ourselves. We acquired a garden shredder from Freegle a while back which we'd not used, so that was pressed into service. We don't have many trees here, but we're collecting branches when we can, and we'll do a bit of pruning in the coming weeks, and slowly we'll amass enough to cover the paths.
June's job is to finish placing the stones round the beds and round the outside of the fence, get everything mulched, and fit gates to keep the chickens out. They won't be impressed.
May was the month that most of my seedlings got properly started - rather late for those in warmer climes but pretty usual for us up here (especially with my lazy sowing habits).
By the end of the month, the greenhouse was starting to look rather full, and several plants like they might eventually be able to survive outside.
We had plenty of apple blossom this year, and it didn't get blown away, so I have my fingers crossed for a decent crop.
I finally got round to buying some paint pens for drawing on stone, and created some extremely cheerful plant labels so I can remember what's what.
May has mostly been filled with sunshine, but we didn't have our last frost until the 14th, and there have been some epic winds, and even a dramatic thunderstorm.
Between all that, I was quite glad all my seedlings were still in the greenhouse (in fact today is the first day I've started acclimatising some of them to outside - and now we're in the middle of a downpour).
Clearing the drains
I mentioned this in my last post - towards the start of May the farmer noticed that part of our field was rather lush and there was a suspicious whiff... He kindly loaned us his bag of rods, and used his digger to find our pipe (which I was VERY grateful for - how long would I have had to dig to find that by hand??)
As it turned out, most of the pipe was blocked, so we stood at the end pushing rods into it until eventually we got to the other side of the blockage, and first thick black gunge, and then water, came gushing out.
Once it was flowing freely again, we pulled the rods out, all still connected, so we could see how much pipe we'd had to unblock. It was quite a lot.
It's a strange business, doing something like this. I've unblocked the u-bend under the sink, and the drain outside the kitchen, by hand, but faced with a blocked septic outflow pipe I confess even my first thought was 'how much is that going to cost to sort out?' But our farmer neighbour (thank goodness) is far more experienced than me and explained what we needed to do, and gave us some rods, and once we got going, it was indeed pretty straightforward. We'll definitely keep an eye on it from now on though - I don't really want to have to unblock it too often.
There's not much else to report for May on the homestead. There's still no progress on the kitchen, although we have at least laid some tools out now, which I suppose is a start.
The weather was far too nice for most of May to want to be inside much, and our local DIY shop was closed for much of the time anyway. I suppose we'll have to turn our attention back to it at some point though - we've been using our little temporary kitchen space for eight months now, and the novelty has very much worn off.
So by the end of June, I'd like to have the veg patch finished, and much of the seedlings planted out. I want to sort out the edible windbreak area, which is looking extremely overgrown. It would be good to make some progress inside - although now we're allowed to see people again we'll have less time I imagine. And who knows what will have happened in the world by the end of June?
May is drifting by lazily in a haze of sunshine and soil. My hands are blistered from wielding garden forks and walling hammers. Slowly, the veg patch takes shape.
Some evenings we walk around the lanes, and the last of the sunlight lighting up the cow parsley makes us feel like we're in a story.
The days are long, and the weeks feel timeless, with nowhere to go and nobody to see. We've not yet driven anywhere for exercise, and we have plenty of outside space of our own so no need to sunbathe elsewhere.
This strange new world is starting to take its toll in unexpected ways. I'm starting to worry about how I'll fit everything back in when life starts to turn back towards normality. My days are full now, and while of course it will be lovely to see people again, and be able to pop to a cafe, I will miss the long gardening hours.
Would the veg patch have progressed as much as it has this month if I'd been able to pop into town whenever I wanted, or meet up with friends, or idle away the mornings in a cafe?
I wouldn't have chosen this time (who would?) but I've tried to use it well. Not by taking up the bassoon, or learning to speak another language, but by slowing down. Not taking up new things, but spending more time doing the old things, the things I already enjoyed but often didn't leave time for. Nurturing seedlings. Long weekend mornings of reading. Writing letters. Eating tea in the garden.
It's looking like I won't be returning to work in my office until after Christmas. I can't say I'm sad about that. I like my job, and miss some of my colleagues, but I haven't stopped working, and often worked at home anyway, so I can easily live without my physical office space (which at any rate is just a desk in a large open plan room). I've not been in my office since 27th February anyway, so already it feels like a place that doesn't really exist any more.
My world has become small, in some ways at least. I'm grateful for not having to navigate city streets and busy parks right now, but I've seen so few faces since this began. I wonder how many faces we do see each day in normal times, just going about our normal business? Hundreds? Thousands?
Anyway, no new faces for me, not for a while. Peter of course, and the postman, and the farmer checking on his cows. An occasional neighbour on a ramble around the lanes. The woman who runs the village shop. Those will have to suffice for now. It's like going back in time (aside from a fortnightly supermarket trip, of course, although I'd happily do away with that too).
Anyway. It's easy to forget as the days roll by that there are still things to do. With what feels like endless tomorrows, it's easy to put things off. Today I'm back at work after a long weekend, and within five minutes the day won't feel endless, it will feel like the normal round of jumping between projects and trying to get things finished. But come five o clock I'll be back outside in the veg patch, the evening stretching out ahead, the sun (hopefully) still shining.
April has passed in a flurry of daffodils.
I love April. It's my birthday month, but it's not just that. April is when it warms up enough to spend time in the garden most days, to sit outside with a cup of tea with the chickens, and to start planting seeds.
I've planted seeds that I already had, some out of date. Rainbow chard, curly kale, leeks, turnips and beetroot so far, and my sister bought me membership to the Heritage Seed Library for my birthday so I now have several others to plant too - carrots, swedes, peppers, celeriac, radish, and something else that I now can't recall.
In other garden news, I've mowed the grass a couple of times - I'm trying to keep on top of it with the push mower this year, but it means getting out there a couple of times a week or it gets too long.
And finally I finished the compost bin.
While I had the wood preserver out, I re-coated the table and benches, and the most exposed parts of the chicken run.
The plum blossom is out (and so far still on the trees), and the apple blossom has started to emerge too.
Inside the house I've been cleaning.
And yesterday we acquired a dehydrator, so we're looking forward to a summer of preparing and preserving more food.
Of course, we lost Mildred chicken over the Easter weekend, and now it's looking like we'll lose her old pal Maud too, the last of our original chickens. We're devastated.
Mostly though, April has been taken up with walling. This field wall fell down over a year ago, and I finally got round to stripping out the fallen stone early this year. In April I started rebuilding, and while it feels never-ending, I have made good progress.
I'm planning to finish this short stretch before I go back to work on Monday, but there's still a gap of twice the size of this to do.
What's in store for May? I'm hoping this wall will be finished, and we should see the arrival of some new pregnant cows from the local dairy farm. I've bought a fence to keep the chickens out of the veg beds, so I need to put that up, and create the beds themselves. I hope there will be some plants ready to plant out in June.
This week is mostly being taken up with a very poorly Mildred chicken, who isn't long for this world. She's spending her last few days dozing in the sunshine under my garden seat, surrounded by her feathery pals. It's all very sad, and I'm very pleased that today we discovered her enthusiasm for sponge cake - if she leaves us overnight at least she'll have had a last tasty treat (of course I don't usually feed the chickens sponge cake, that would be a waste, but this was a special occasion).
Anyway, I'll write more about Mildred another time. Today I want to talk about running.
Back in February I mentioned that I'd joined the local running club for their programme aiming to get people to running 5k. I've run 5k before, of course, but most of the other people hadn't, and it's been an absolutely lovely experience running with others twice a week, gradually going further and even a teensy bit faster.
In the middle of March we ran our local organised 5k run, and we even made the local newspaper. The following Monday we met for our first 'progressives' run - working our way up to 10k, and to being able to go out with the main running club each week (they run for an hour at a time). On Tuesday, the restrictions came into force, and our running group could no longer meet.
Since then, we've each been running on our own and posting our achievements on the group Facebook page. Our slower group also has a group chat, where we encourage and celebrate each other (and before all this, we arranged extra weekend runs). Sadly most of the women in there are struggling to get out on their own, and I think most of them have given up on aiming for 10k for now.
It's so much harder to get out there on your own. I knew that before, of course - that's the reason I joined the group in the first place. I've never trained consistently before now, and while I only went out twice a week with the running group, it was twice every week, which meant I was running more regularly than I ever have.
Now, of course, I don't have that, and even though our leader is valiantly trying to keep us motivated virtually, it's not quite the same.
Still, I have been getting out twice every week, and I can't complain one bit, because while many people are being told expressly to stay away from beauty spots and national parks, I find myself living in one, and unable to leave. Of course, this means that I have to run close to home, which means one thing - hills.
So. Many. Hills. Previously our running group complained about the hills we were being forced to run up each week, but they were nothing to the hills out here. Nothing at all. And I can't avoid them (unless I run up and down the same short stretch of flattish road several times I suppose). I'm trying to embrace them though - to enjoy the downhills, and run the bits of the uphills that I can, and just accept that I'm going to have to walk the rest.
I think I'm getting fitter, although it's hard to tell with all these hills. I went out the other day and felt like my legs belonged to someone else - they were a combination of stiff and jelly-like and I ended up taking a sneaky shortcut home along a footpath through a field.
I'm going to get out again tomorrow morning though, before I talk myself out of it, while the sun is shining. Even if I don't run much of it, I'll still get a bit of scenery, which I don't take at all for granted at the minute given that it's being denied to many people.
I don't know how long all this is going to last, but one thing I'm very much looking forward to is running with other people again. It's not something I've ever really done before, but it made such a difference. I really don't want to lose fitness now though and have to start all over again, so out I'll go, running from my front door, pretending the clouds are a mountain range.
Clearly there's been a whole lot more on the homestead than I intended in March. Between strikes and the pandemic I spent ONE day physically at work in March, and even that wasn't in my own office.
I'm very fortunate that it's been pretty easy for me to switch to working full time from home. I've worked a couple of days a week from home for years, so I'm already set up, and after an initial flurry of messing around, the work itself is all set up too. I did find after a week and a half that my shoulders and back were getting rather sore from sitting in the same office chair all day every day, so I had a good clear out in the study and created myself a standing desk.
Since we've been spending more time at home, we've also done a bit more clearing of other rooms - I finally tackled this dreadful mess that had accumulated around my chair in the living room.
What a tip! It's all been pulled out and sorted, and there's been a thorough hoovering and cleaning of the whole thing (although it seems I didn't take an 'after' picture).
Now the weather is warmer, the evenings are longer, and there's nowhere else to go, we're getting on with some outside jobs too. More progress on the compost bin I've been building (on and off) since January.
I was all ready to declare it finished at this point, but Peter convinced me that we should raise it off the ground (yawn) so we made a start at the end of March, and I've finally finished it this weekend and painted it (but that was April so photos of the finished thing will have to wait!)
We've also been tackling some of those 'really should do something about that' jobs this month. We finally took our giant rubbish pile to the tip (before they closed), and I shifted a pile of mud that's been outside our gate for months - with a little help from the chickens of course.
Speaking of chickens, poor old Mildred is ill. She started looking a bit slow last week, and her comb (a good indicator of chicken health) looking a bit tired. She's gradually got worse over the last few days. I spoke to the vet on Thursday, who confirmed my internet-fuelled suspicions that it was likely to be something wrong with her heart or liver, neither of which they can do anything about.
We've been trying to make sure she eats and drinks, and feeding her plenty of treats. We've been bringing her and Maud (our other older chicken) inside when the weather is cold or windy, so they can have a bit of a rest in the warm. It's quite endearing to see them having a snooze together on the carpet.
I'll ring the vet again in the morning. I was trying to avoid taking her in as she has a good sense of her personal boundaries and will NOT thank me for picking her up, let alone putting her in a box and taking her for a drive. I don't want to traumatise her, but at the same time I do want to make sure we've done everything that we can. Fingers crossed.
Peter built a new shelter in the garden, affectionately named Chicken Henge, which has now become a favourite haunt of Mildred and Maud. I can't think of a more fitting use. This is Beaky having a first look.
I also cleaned out the greenhouse (and I need to replace three panes of glass now as the window has blown through). I've not planted any seeds yet, but I did finally get round to repotting my houseplants, which were in an appalling state.
March definitely came in like a lion and went out like a lamb round here. We started with hail stones, but the rain of the last few months seems to have eased and the ground is drying out. The last two weeks have been dry, and even a bit sunny at times. I'm even starting to be able to imagine a time when I might be outside in sandals (not just yet, mind you).
Yet again I've made the mistake of looking back on my post from last month to see whether I've done anything that I said I'd do. I did make progress on the compost bin, but the bedroom still isn't plastered, and I've not even started building the fence round the veg garden yet.
Still, we're now five days into April, the compost bin is finished, and I've made some progress on the field wall that I'm rebuilding, so I'm hopeful April's post might look a bit better...
It feels like it's been raining forever, and apparently I'm not imagining things as it's been the wettest February in the UK since records began, and the fifth wettest month overall. I feel like I've spent most of the month inside, trying to stay dry. Still, there have been one or two non-soggy days, and a couple of outdoor things have been started.
Tackling the quagmire
On one of the few dry days I decided to tackle the quagmire that appears outside our front gate when the rainwater washes down the driveway and creates a giant puddle, which we then reverse the cars into, creating a muddy, soupy mess, which expands until we have to put wellies on just to get to the car.
It's interesting, this puddle, because it sits and settles and eventually the grass grows over the mud. All that grass you can see in the picture, both inside the gates and outside, is growing on just a couple of inches of mud - underneath is all tarmac. I suspect if we left it long enough (and didn't drive over it), the grass would keep expanding until it reached the top of the drive.
There would be some advantages to that I suppose, but I'd rather not wade through mud when I'm trying to get to work at 6am. So I needed a solution.
My solution wasn't complicated, or pretty, and probably won't be long term, but it's solved the immediate problem without creating a new problem (and it was done in a very short break in the rain). The chickens helped. The water now runs through my new little channel, away from the house and into the field.
Not perfect, not elegant, but good enough for now (which is my general aim in life).
We must have had another dry day at some point as I made a start on the new compost bin, which I mentioned back in January.
So far all I've done is retrieve wood from the pile of old floorboards removed during the building work, and lay them out in order to make sure I have enough. I've measured where I want the compost bins to go, and now need to do a bit of sawing and screw everything together. It's not raining today so perhaps that's a job for this afternoon.
Some things have been happening inside too - not much, I should add, but I have made a start on plastering the new bedroom.
Not a very good start, I admit. Either I let the PVA glue dry too much, or the plaster has gone off, and quite a lot of it didn't stick to the wall and had to be scraped off. What a fiasco. Still, it feels good to have made a start, and by the end of March I'm hoping this room will be beautifully plastered and ready to move in (ha, fat chance).
Not much is growing in the garden yet. Snowdrops, and I glimpsed the first crocuses the other day too. I did spend an hour clearing old ferns from the bed in the garden, so that looks a little tidier (although it would be even better if I'd not left the offcuts lying where I cut them - but in my defence it had started raining again).
The rhubarb has sprouted though and is coming on nicely. Rhubarb crumble before March is out I reckon.
Things I didn't do
I made the mistake of looking back at January's post to see whether I'd made any progress on what I'd started then.
I've started the compost bin, but other than that... no. No walling (far too rainy and windy for that), no progress on the fence, and we've not even taken that giant pile of rubbish to the tip (although we have added to it). The snow hasn't helped - it's not been constant, but every few days there's a flurry being whipped up by the wind, making me not want to set foot out of the door, let alone spend an hour lugging stones round in a field.
Even the chickens aren't impressed.
Oh well. The nights are getting noticeably lighter now, and that always makes me feel more energetic. I'm off work at the minute (we're on strike, again) so theoretically I should have plenty of time to be getting on with all these things. But somehow there's always someone to visit, or something else to do (that involves staying warm and dry).
But I'm going to declare a few things (which I reserve the right not to achieve). By the end of March I would like to have
Let's see how far I get...
Sometime last week (or was it the week before?) we woke to snow.
Not very much snow, but snow nevertheless. The chickens at first weren't impressed, then they were curious, and then in no time at all they were strutting round like it had been snowing all their lives.
Incidentally, this picture of Rusty reminded me of a similar picture of our dear departed Hermione, taken in the snow this time last year, just before her and Luna's untimely demise, which means we must have had these new ladies for almost a year now.
Speaking of chickens, Beaky isn't very well at the minute. She's been a little off colour for a few days, and has been living inside with us again, having an Epsom salts bath every morning. Some days she seems better, some worse, so she's off to the vets again in the morning for a quick check over. Poor little thing.
Anyway, I was talking about the snow.
It was very scenic, but not very heavy, and it didn't stick around very long either - the perfect sort of snow for wandering in, admiring, but not getting stuck in on the way to work. Most convenient.
I wasn't the only one who'd been out and about in the snow.
It was gone after a couple of days, and since then it's felt like we've had incessant howling wind and rain, sometimes even inside the house.
Bring back the snow I say.
Sit down and make yourself comfortable. I'm Jenni, and I write here about our new foray into country living, which includes growing food, knitting, baking, wandering around the fields, and seeing which local cafe serves the best cake.