Footprints In The Snow

Snow in Kitchen Garden

Hopefully all the plants are tucked up safely and enjoying a nice sleep. I’m trying to enjoy the snow whilst it lasts… people grumble about the snow (I realise it makes life more difficult, travelling is a big worry and it will ultimately turn to a brown, messy slush….) but there’s really magic in each snow flake, you can see it sparkle, so I enjoy it while it’s here.

Garden Snow Collage

I love to see different footprints in the snow and I try to follow where the rabbits and foxes have been. It’s interesting to try and work out  who the little footprints belong too… although with my over active imagination I imagine following prints around the back of the shed and unexpectedly coming face to face with a Yeti!

Winter views

There’s not too many outside jobs to be done at the moment so I started to put together a wish list of  plants for the kitchen garden this year. I’m a huge fan of Sarah Raven so I’m starting with her catalogues as she has a great range of products and her customer service is brilliant. After what seemed an endless task of chores today I finally sat down with a cup of apple & ginger tea and started to paw over the catalogues… but more of that next time!

seed catalogues

This weekend is the RSPB Big Birdwatch so I’ll be spending an hour tomorrow counting our feathered friends (chickens not included) to see how they’re fending. I’ve never done this in the snow before and I’m hoping it will make the process easier! The results are sent into the RSPB and the information gained throughout the UK provides a useful snapshot of which species are in decline or booming!

SnowChicks

I’m sure Bella and Milo will want to join us in the garden room for a spot of birdwatching too but I somehow think that their furry minds may not be on conservation!

IMG_4108

Wonderful White Stuff

The snow is lovely but the wildlife is certainly suffering a bit. The birds seem to strip the feeders as fast as we can fill them up and it’s a job to stop the drinking water from freezing. I’m giving them left over scraps and fruit cake so they’ve now invited their mates over too!
Goosey sadly died in the week. This was not unexpected as she’d not been herself for quite a few days, looked tired and frail. We gave her some extra vitamins and checked her over but at six years old she’d had a good life.  She looked like she had died peacefully in her sleep and I’m so relieved that she didn’t have to put up with the snow! The other chickens seemed a bit quieter than usual – I’m not sure if chickens feel loss but it wouldn’t surprise me as Goosey was their boss for a long time and it must have seemed strange to them. We built a little SnowChicken in the enclosure… Goosey would have pecked those little sunflowers seed eyes out in a jiffy!

snowchicken

We spent some time today in the chicken enclosure and cleared some paths for them to make it easier to walk around. They don’t seem too bothered about the snow although I’m worried about them getting hypothermia. The only one who doesn’t venture very far is Bluebell, one of the new girls, who has decided to have her first moult and looks perished… I’m tempted to knit her a little jacket but I know that she wouldn’t want to be seen in it unless she had the shoes to match!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about Bella and Milo so here’s a bit of a catch up. They’ve both really made themselves at home and it feels as though they’ve been a part of our lives forever. They get on really well together and if they’re separated for any reason start mewling until they find one another. I can’t believe that they’re four months old already.

BellaCat

They both seem to have a mild obsession with water – dripping taps, water bowls, rain on the window panes. Milo especially loves to flick the water out of his bowl and even stands with his paws in it! They don’t bother with the sink in the kitchen but they love to sit in the utility room sink and poddle little wet footprints everywhere!

MiloCatI’m not sure why Milo looks a little cross-eyed in the photo above… he’s not normally!

Baby, it’s cold out there!

Well, it’s finally starting to feel like January around here and after a very wet and mild December we have snow forecast for overnight. It somehow feels wrong not to have frost and chilly winds this time of year and I do like the excuse to wear thick woolly tights and scarves! I’ve recently moved the plant pots to a more sheltered area and the bay tree and fig have been protected as much as I can. There are loads of cobwebs everywhere and even Cedric looks like he’s got whiskers (it makes him look a bit friendlier!). I’ve tried not to be too tidy so that the wildlife can benefit… but it’s messing with my mojo a bit.

Frosty Garden

The chickens are always cause me extra concern this time of year – trust me, if I could scoop them all up and build a giant nest in the house for them I would. My husband constantly reminds me that they have their own little quilts made from feathers but I still fret. We’ve now insulated the hen house and added extra bedding – it doesn’t look pretty but it will hopefully do the job. Goosey, one of the old girls, has slowed down and looks tired so we’ve given her some extra vitamins and do an additional check each night to make sure she’s okay. The other chickens are being really good with her – they’re probably scared that she’ll get better and back to business of being the boss!

Frosty Doodles

I usually like to try something new each year with hope that it will turn into a hobby and so in November I enrolled onto a watercolour lettering class with Val Webb. If you haven’t already had the pleasure of seeing any of Val’s artwork then I strongly recommend her website especially if you like faeries, nature and all things whimsical (Alys – you’ll just love it!).
My paintings still need a lot of work but I really don’t mind as I’ve found the whole process of water colouring SOOOooo relaxing that the end result of a more chilled out me is always worth while. Her instructions are clear and practical and I’m really looking forward to practicing some more.
I helped my sister and family move house last weekend and I gave her the painting below in place of a New Home card.

Home watercolour

Must go – although I have so much to write since I last blogged. Work and homelife have been really busy since new year so this is the first time I’ve had chance to post in 2013 and I’ve missed it! I’ve also missed following my favourite blogs so I’ll make sure to spend a little time each night after work in Blogland catching up with them all. I hope to include the kittens in a post very soon X

Let It Rain

The rain has been awful… this morning whilst at work the sky very quickly darkened. It was strange and eerie and nobody could believe how quickly the sky had turned black! In fact, all over town street lights were turning on as if it was dusk. My first concerns were for the poor chickens… they surely must be terrified?! I then had a reassuring thought… if it was dark enough for the street lights to be fooled then hopefully the chickens will be fooled and safely go and roost!

And what would happen to the Kitchen Garden? It’s just starting to be productive and the sweetpeas are starting to flower…  Oh well, worrying wasn’t going to help the situation!

So, like a regular Pollyanna, I decided to play the Glad Game and look on the bright side of this particular storm…

I’m glad to have a chance to wear a favourite rain coat that was put away after Spring…..

I’m glad (more like ecstatically happy) to indulge my umbrella addiction a some more. I learnt a while ago that they only get lost if you take them for granted…

And it reminded me how desperately I need to buy new wellies! My last ones split, so in my wisdom, I decided to hold off buying a new pair until the weather started to get chilly again in Autumn!! I love the Hunter wellies but I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to colour… the red ones are great but my favourite colour is purple. The Navy Blue ones are classic but the glossy Raspberry ones look so much fun. Decisions, decisions….

I arrived home to a flooded driveway, no power and a flattened peony – but I’m so glad that my lovely chickens looked dry and well… and the Kitchen Garden was pretty much unscathed! If it stops raining over the weekend I’ll take some more photos :-)

Weeds Part 1

The new Kitchen Garden was designed to be both productive and beautiful. It’s like entering another world and it has such a tranquil quality that I almost hear the plants growing. It’s a very new garden but somehow it feels extremely old, as if it’s always been there, and perhaps it has – I’ve simply dreamed about it for such a long time!

It looks neat and tidy with clean lines and tidy raised beds… each bed has a purpose and each wall will support different plants to hopefully provide year round food and interest.

However, the rest of my garden doesn’t look like this! Half of it is still undergoing building work and has the beginnings of a driveway. The remaining areas are covered in nettles and thistles (but I like to think of these as a wildlife haven rather than a jungle!).

West Garden

One day I hope to transform the area under the trees into a woodland garden with lots of ferns and bluebells. In the meantime it will just be mowed and used as a path to get to the chickens!

The weeds near the shed have grown so much that even the pheasants don’t venture in it anymore! There is a wooden seat against the shed so please believe me when I say there are weeds here!

But as long as I can reach the doodles, and they can still look out of the enclosure without straining their little necks too much, then that’s okay. They seem very happy and we’re getting lots of eggs from them again! Even our little one-eyed chicken has settled down nicely and is usually the first to snaffle the food!!

I hope you enjoyed “Weeds Part 1″… Part 2 is somewhat scarier and may have to come with a suitable warning as those of you with a nervous disposition may be adversely affected!

Healthy Weeds

I’ve had such a lovely morning – even the subsequent housework hasn’t dulled the pleasant post-gardening feeling that I’ve been left with! Many of the plants in the small greenhouse were taken out for a taste of fresh air and a good watering of rain. There is likely to be a good frost again tonight so they’ll be nicely tucked up again before night fall. It’s good to know that happiness can be found in such simple things – a cup of tea, a radio and a little shed of tools. Most women treat themselves to a regular manicure… I treat myself by getting soil under my nails!

The Hen House looks lovely through the trees and I can watch the chickens without them realising it! Usually, as soon as the Girls see me approaching they come charging to the gate, flapping and clucking, until they are either fed or let out! The new Girls are settling in well and, although there are two separate groups, there is peace in the Hen House.

The Strawberry Pot is enjoying it’s sheltered location and I’m looking forward to all the lovely Summer recipes. Mmmm…….

Broccoli & Figs
These are both new to me! I’ve grown the Broccoli from seed and I’m so pleased… I hope it survives to adulthood as it’s one of my favourites. The fig tree was bought a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure whether to plant it against the South facing wall or keep it in a pot so that it can be moved in severe weather. It’s a “Brown Turkey”, so is suited for our climate, but advice would be appreciated from those that know what they’re doing!

I love this little sign and I wanted it the moment I saw it on Etsy.com!

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if every visitor removed a few weeds whilst waiting for you to answer the door? Or, would it tempt you to delay your welcome until a whole patch had been done? Ha ha ha :-)

On second thoughts… cancel the sign! I would probably lose a lot of valuable seedlings and special plants too! I have to confess that I sometimes have to let weeds grow a little before identifying them properly. This is because I’ve recently been guilty of removing perfectly healthy little plants thinking that they were buttercups and daisies! It’s all part of the learning curve x