Friday 26 February 2016

Guess who dropped in!

There's a small lake across the road from our house. (Americans would describe it as a pond.) Swans fly regularly overhead on their way to and from the lake and I love to see them and hear the sound of their wings slicing through the air. Until today we have never had a swan land in our garden. A friend was sitting on the sofa and she said, "a swan has just walked past the window!" We were discussing a surreal short story at the time but her statement seemed far more bizarre than the written story. We all got up to look and, sure enough, a swan was strolling about the garden.
It spent the whole morning with us, exploring the garden boundaries, presumably looking for a way out.
It didn't appear to be injured.
After several hours we became concerned that it didn't have enough space, a long enough runway, to be able to fly into the air. I looked up the telephone number for the RSPCA. It was the usual palaver, press one if the animal is stuck in a chimney, press two if.. and so on. I took another look in the garden while I waited to speak to a human
and the swan had gone.

Sunday 14 February 2016

Sunny Sunday

Sunny days have been rare. After a lazy time eating a St Valentine's meal and watching an afternoon film we were in need of some exercise. But in spite of the sun it was cold out so we wrapped up well and had just a short walk by the lake.

The woods have been thinned, with quite a lot of brash and debris on the ground
and the pathways are sloppy with all the rain.
But clumps of wild snowdrops are flowering and soon the shoots of bluebell leaves will carpet and beautify the woodland floor. Although it feels like the depths of winter there are signs of spring.
Snowdrops also decorate my garden borders.
The perennial borders don't look good at this time of year, although I've been tidying up, twiggy remnants of last year's growth remain and the beds look untidy.
But at least the topiary is improving - it might even look like a pheasant by the end of this year!
Even the slightest bit of sun lifts the temperature in the greenhouse
and the 'Blue Moon' peony is flowering beautifully.
But the oranges need far more sun before becoming orange!

Friday 12 February 2016

5pm skywatch

In spite of a great many overhead wires, the sunset, seen from the garden, looked wonderful.
Time to walk across the road and look at the colours reflected in the lake.
I disturbed five mallard ducks on the banking and they flew out across the water making loud noises of protestation.
And then everywhere was silent. 
And cold!

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Out to lunch

We met friends for lunch yesterday at our local hotel. We hadn't seen each other for a while so there was plenty of catching up to do while we studied the menu. And there was so much choice - what to choose? The hotel has a twenty-five mile food policy and much of their produce is gathered from their own property; pigs, chickens and a deer herd are all made good use of, in addition to the large and very productive vegetable garden. My starter was venison black pudding, what a treat! For main I choose fish.
It was a lovely way to spend a cold February day. And it wasn't raining. That's right, IT WASN'T RAINING, so after a leisurely coffee we ventured out to see where our vegetables had been grown.
Everything was wonderfully ordered. We had a peep into the polytunnels to see what was shaping up.
Just as we arrived home the heavens opened and pelted us with enormous hailstones. We didn't care, we'd had a lovely time!
(Memo to self: must sort out my veg plot.)

Monday 1 February 2016

A little more light

The neighbours' fir trees on our southern border have grown to a prodigious height, with even more growth still to come. Their trees have shaded our greenhouse completely in wintertime and severely reduced the efficiency of our solar panels. But at the weekend a team of men came and, braving wind and rain, climbed up, thinning out and removing any dead wood from the cedars. They also cut down three solid fir trees that were threatening the foundations of the dividing wall. It's great to have more light coming into the garden.
The cedars were not topped and they still create shade, but now some sun will be able to filter through. There was quite a storm last night, the wind rattling outside the house, but because the cedars had been thinned the wind can now travel through the branches so we didn't have to worry about them coming crashing down about our ears!
I'm itching to start work in the garden, there's a great deal of 'fettling up' to do. But the ground is waterlogged and the wind fierce so it will all have to wait for an improvement in the weather. (It looks quite green and pleasant in these photos but, believe me, it is anything but!)