Monday, 30 January 2012

Over Half Way

And today's happy thought is .... we're eight days past the middle day of the bleak mid winter. Not that it's been too bleak at all this year (as yet), not considering what the weather was like in 2011. Anyway seemed like a nice day to spend a couple of hours in the polytunnel. To tell the truth, things are getting a bit out of hand in there and it's in dire need of a good sort out and a tidy up. Another day perhaps. Amid the cachophany (Carol Klein uses that word a lot) of pots and half bags of compost and the rest of the paraphernalia, we've now got 3 barrow loads of logs in to keep dry and a barrow load of sawdust and that's besides the two cats who like to stretch out in there on anything warm.

I sowed some 'All-the-year-round. cauli seeds last October and I transplanted the little plants out, the middle of December. I'm really fed up - the slugs are playing havoc and I don't know what to do. Today I circled  some of the sawdust around each of the plants. Think I might have over done it a bit. Be interesting to see if that deters the little blighters what ho? The sawdust is only from logs sawn up from an old ash tree which succumbed to the gales we had a couple of weeks ago, so there's no chemical in the wood. Have you got any good way of controlling slugs?

I sowed some Hispi cabbages the same time as the caulies. They seem to be doing quite well and the slugs have left them alone? The recommendation  on the seed packet is to sow them in March, but I usually find they over winter quite well from an October sowing. Hispi have pointed heads and are lovely cooked with butter or uncooked and made into coleslaw. They're really nice in April/May when all the fresh greens are in short supply and as dear as fire.

I sowed some Little Gem lettuce seed about a couple of weeks or so ago and they  (fingers crossed) seem to be surviving as yet. It looks as if it could be  bit frosty tonight so I've covered them over with a plastic tray. Must remember to remove it in the morning. Hey do you like my seed label? Plastic cutlery courtesy of Coffee City, Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. Well like they say - waste not want not!

I really like flowers and I love cut flowers in the house. I've got some delphiniums, lupins and loads of pinks cuttings in polystyrene coffee cups.Coffee City's done us proud.  They seemed to have survived quite well so far this winter so I'm hoping to blaze the colour trail in the borders when the summer comes.  Done most of the flowers from seed collected around the garden last year. I was really chuffed too, I've managed to get two little wisteria cuttings to root, the one is on the left side of the picture. It's just starting to come into bud. Sown the first batch of sweet pea seeds today, ten week stock and petunias too.

This was the temperature in the poly this afternoon
Once it started to get a bit colder I came in thinking to put the new seed potatoes in trays to chit, only to find that we'd picked up the wrong sort and they were main crop and don't need planting until March/April. These are some we did last year. They're ones called 'Rocket'. We had our first new potatoes the middle of May and they were gorgeous. Off to town tomorrow to buy some more seed.

Hope you've enjoyed your day too.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Early One Morning

Feeling a bit blah? Come on a virtual walk up the Long Mountain. Get your boots on.

Scramble through the undergrowth and feel the crispness of the wind taking your breath and the glints of low sunlight on your face.

On past the old wheel wrights barn, He built a cart in there once and then found that the door was too narrow to get it through. That was tough.

Bright red fungi growing on lifeless branches amongst the wild garlic shoots. What are they?

Up the bank

To where the stream from the Long Mountain runs under the County Bridge

As you go on up to the top road, there's a tree stump on the side of the road, and underneath it ... home to a family of badgers. Shssh don't disturb them.

Just a little bit further up, look across and you can see snow on the Berwyn Mountains.
Loved having your company. Thanks for taking the time.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Minus Five

Minus five that's what the temperature was here during the night. Usually when you stand in the garden you can turn four points and see mountains and hills all around on every side. Not this morning though - couldn't even see the 'Moel-y', just one all consuming blanket of fog. Not that I minded too much, after all, you can't really have winter without a bit of winter and when you think what 2010/2011 was like .... well - You can hardly compare this to what we had last year. The child in me crunched figure eights across the frozen grass and delighted in the silver hard packed footsteps I left behind. And everywhere there were hoar encrusted spiders' webs. They don't care where they build.

Across the wing mirror on the old Red Transit

Clinging to the frozen handle of the redundant lawn mower under the bay tree.

A safety net maybe on the (not yet) flowering cherry.

I wonder why they build them this time of year. it's not as if they're going to catch many flies

And all the lifeless seed heads with crowns of silver.

Winter's not all bad, is it?

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Rose

I've not posted a lot lately
But the sun shone here today. Don't you feel so much better when the sun shines. I've got some rose buds out in the garden. Roses in January !!! How good is that!

Just been listening to Bette Midler singing 'The Rose'
And  I found a little bit of information on Wikipedia  here
I really love this song.

The lyrics were written by Amanda McBroom
' Some say love, it is a river
 That drowns the tender reed
 Some say love, it is a razor
 That leaves your soul to bleed
 Some say love, it is a hunger
 An endless aching need
 I say love, it is a flower
 And you, its only seed
 It's the heart, afraid of breaking
 That never learns to dance
 It's the dream, afraid of waking
 That never takes the chance
 It's the one who won't be taken
 Who cannot seem to give
 And the soul, afraid of dying
 That never learns to live
 When the night has been too lonely
 And the road has been too long
 And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
 Just remember in the winter
 Far beneath the bitter snow
 Lies the seed
 That with the sun's love, in the spring
 Becomes the rose'

I'm feeling in a bit of a pensive mood today.

Monday, 2 January 2012

What would you have done ?

Display in the Charles Darwin Centre
Our granddaughter has been staying with us for the past week and we took her back to Shrewsbury today to catch the train back to her home just the other side Chester.  We were quite early and arranged to meet back at the car park in an hour to drive her to the station. Sixteen year olds just love to shop.
It was grey and wet and the wind chilled right through to my bones. Not many folks braving it out. Most of the shops were closed (or closed down)  except for the clothes sales desperados and Waterstones. 'New Year Bank Holiday' and all that.  I trudged up the bank, past the Square towards Wyle Cop. A young girl ( probably the age of my grand daughter) came towards me on a motobility scooter and stopped right by me. She was very thin and not dressed too well. She looked straight at me and said quietly, 'Please can you give me some money so that I can have something to eat?' So I did - well actually only the price of a sandwich. She stood up on the scooter, put the bits of silver into her jeans pocket and trundled off. Was I sucker Number One? Or should I have given her more?  I don't know - the pain in her eyes somehow haunted me. And then as I walked back through the Charles Darwin Centre there was a ring fenced fake snow and Polar bears Christmassy sort of display. What amazed me were the amount of coins thrown over into it - hundreds of them just lying there.
Should I have given her more money? Should I have ignored her and just walked on by?
'What would you have done?'

Sunday, 1 January 2012

A Kind of Hush

Started my new diary today. I've kept a diary for about the last 20 years, though heaven knows what I'm going to do with them all. Do you keep a diary? I think I will bury mine in the walls or under the floorboards. We've lived in the same house a long time -  35 years. None of us know what 2012 will bring.

New Year's Day 2011
A few days on from now, a year ago I wrote this  ....... remember all that ice and snow .......
(2011)  'Looking in my diary today, – the 6th January is Epiphany – the final 12th day of Christmas.  The  Christmas cards dropped into the recycling box, the Christmas lights and baubles carefully packed away and the tree deposited outside ready to be chipped at the recycle centre. The beautiful bouquet of flowers with the red satin ribbon, I received on Christmas day have faded and are now their way to the compost heap.
Another heavy snow fall during the night has brought again things to a halt. What's struck me about today is that we've all been brought to a standstill – not because we can, but because we can't. Schools closed; planes grounded; hospital appointments except the urgent cancelled; bus routes disrupted; cars stuck in the snow; gritters battling against the odds with dwindling supplies where it's most needed and the majority of us having to stay put right where we are. The lethal beauty of whiteness all around us has stopped us in our tracks. And yet there is an unexplainable sense of peace. The sheep across the field are almost like statues motionless as they bide their time quietly near the hedges. Lambing will be starting in full swing any time now. Long raw cold nights ahead for the shepherds. The birds are quiet and elusive today, even though I've put crusts out on the bird table again. There's bright sunshine now melting icicles that hang beneath the eaves. Drip, drip, drip – there's no hurry! The buds on the camellia bush outside my door are weighed down. I hope they don't succumb to tonight's frost which we will inevitably get. Every thing's waiting, waiting in the silence of the snow for tomorrow's Spring.'

Yep, we were truly grounded. The child in me filled my rubber gloves with water and pegged them on the washing line.

We awoke this morning to grey skies, blustering winds and squally driving rain. No snow as yet this year but I'm still waiting. Longing in the silence for tomorrow's Spring to come around again, which it undoubtedly will you'll see.