Friday, 15 February 2019

Sunny skywatch

It's been a good week, dry weather and, at last, sunshine and the chance to do some jobs in the garden. I imagine that Valentine's Day for most women involves painting their nails and wearing an attractive dress, but I had a delivery of compost, a thousand litres of the stuff. The huge bag could not be moved across the gravel and was left outside the garage block so we had to barrow the contents away if we wanted to get a car out of the garage!  I'm as happy as a pig in muck! I've used some as a top dressing on parts of the flower borders and what lovely looking stuff it is, dark and friable.
We chose our Valentine meal from the M&S offers, so much food that we made two separate meals out of it. I was amused to unwrap the starter and see that the prawns were making a romantic statement!
It is so good to be outside, cold in the shadows but heartwarming to see the sun lighting up the bare branches.

The days are lengthening. Still light at half five.
And a clear sky means that it will be cold tonight.
My sunset to share with Friday Skywatch.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Sunday walk

We've had two days of sunshine and the snow is steadily disappearing, 
it's slipped from the branches
and kept the narrow pathways to and from the garage clear.
We hadn't been generating any electricity since the snowfall, but at noon today there was a dull thump as a load of snow slid from the roof panels and landed on the ground below. Hoorah, we are back feeding into the grid!
It looked so lovely out that we put on our boots and had a walk around the lake. 
No fishermen about, we had the place to ourselves.



The village looked very peaceful in the snow.

Friday, 1 February 2019

winter skywatch

At the start of the week we were waking to crisp, frosty mornings
and the promise of sun that never lasted for long.

A pheasant in the orchard looking for windfalls.
But this morning we woke to a different scene. I went round the garden with a soft sweeping brush banging the snow from bushes and branches so that they wouldn't be damaged by the weight of snow. 
We've had about ten inches or so and it embarrasses me that the country seems to fall apart every time we have a bit of weather like this. My father used to put chains on the wheels of his car in snowy conditions and always got to where he was going, slowly but safely.
It's a rather leaden sky for Friday Skywatch because the snow continued to fall for much of the day.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Squash.

It's a miserable time of year for me, I'm not a cold weather person. The best place to be throughout these winter months is in the warmth of the kitchen preparing (and eating!) comfort food. I'm working my way through the squash that was harvested in the autumn. After such a warm summer my crop was good, with enormous squash with hard skins that aid their storing. It's quite a tussle to cut into them. Himself  came to my aid with a big knife and a lot of muscle power.
There is a huge amount of flesh to be got from one large squash, not to mention a whole lot of seeds. I'm saving the seeds for the local swap on March 9th. The flesh I've chopped into small cubes and put in bags in the freezer. It's handy to pull out a bag all ready to use as the basis of a variety of meals and soups. 
A favourite recipe is a vegetable traybake with halloumi cheese.
Put cubes of peeled raw beetroot, squash and red onion and red pepper strips into a roasting tin,  drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and herbs and bake for half an hour or so. Add lots of peeled garlic cloves, cherry tomatoes and cooked chick peas and roast for another twenty minutes.
Put thin slices of the cheese on top of the veg and grill until the cheese melts and starts to brown. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and serve.
While penetrating the skin of the squash was a battle, some of my citrus have split open of their own accord before the fruit has ripened. I don't know why. Perhaps the tree needs more water, but I'm loathe to use too much in the winter, especially in these frosty conditions.
Hope you are all keeping warm and well.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Skywatching

This week I've been skywatching through the horse chestnut tree that borders our entranceway. The tree is old and unhealthy and in windy weather we've had a few limbs come crashing down. It's no longer a safe place to park a car! The tree roots have also buckled the drive so that whenever our younger daughter visits she scrapes the undercarriage of her car, which must be lower-slung than ours. There was quite a noise going on outside this week and I went to see what was happening.
 
Men at work!
Two men had come from the council to make the tree safe. They had chosen a good day for the job, the weather was dry and bright with no wind. The elder of the two men stayed firmly on the ground while the younger strolled about the high branches with his chainsaw with great agility looking perfectly at home. Rather him than me!
Joining other skywatchers at Skywatch Friday.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Skywatch Friday 2019

I took the decorations down from the tree today and packed them into boxes ready to store in the attic. It takes a little readjusting to the rooms, stripped of dangling hearts and fairy lights they look rather plain. And how quiet it seems now that the family has gone! But the year is starting well, weatherwise. (I'm not talking about the state of the country.) We seem to have left the murky dampness in 2018 and the weather is crisp with a light frost in the morning and occasional patches of sunshine throughout the day. We took a short walk before sunset, just up the road a little to stretch our legs. The days are so short that the sun was disappearing and the temperature dropping sharply by the time we got home. This is the time of year when its good just to hunker down!
Sharing my sky with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The Christmas holiday

After years of just being grownups it was wonderful to share the Christmas holiday with a small child, our grandson. He was with us last year but was too young then to know what was going on. This year, at one and a half, he was able to understand what it was all about; ripping paper, finding presents, eating chocolate, fun and laughter. Yea!
(Look, Gary, there is still a bit of space left for our tree to grow before it hits the ceiling!)
Christmas Eve meant some patient waiting.
And on Christmas day it was very entertaining to find granddad impersonating an elf!
Where's the best place to buy a really silly Christmas jumper? Himself had wanted to know.
Try Asda, I suggested. And I was right. It would be hard to find a jumper much sillier than this. It even has legs- with bells on! 
On Boxing Day we visited friends and had a good old bash on their drum kit.



(Himself still dressed as an elf!)






New Year's Eve it was an adults only affair and we joined friends from the village to welcome in 2019.


Strange decorations
And blimey, the music gets louder every year. 
Or am I just getting older?!
Wishing you health and happiness
throughout 2019.