Saturday, 27 February 2021

Spring Is on the Way

The last week has seen a gradual rise in temperatures here. The ice and frost covered earth has once again been replaced by mud and puddles - thank goodness for my wellies - and even I felt a little too warm wrapped up on our walk yesterday. The seasons are shifting and there is more than a hint of spring in the air. Earlier this week I was woken by birdsong. The glorious dawn chorus. It must have been around 6.15am and it was loud! And so, for the first time this year, I stood at the door and just listened for a while.

I've yet to spend any time in the garden, although it's going to need to happen soon, as I'm looking forward to sitting out there with a mug of tea in the next few weeks. The soil needs turning, the stone flags need cleaning and it looks a sorry mess, as it usually does at this time of year. Winter has lain heavy on the ground and although there are new shoots beginning to appear, the garden hasn't sprung to life just yet, much like myself  :)  On a positive note, however, there is now a new shed in place and this one is not going to collapse any time soon.

My plan is to not grow any vegetables this year, I'm going with flowers instead. I know I could make more effort and do both but the garden isn't really big enough and, to be honest, I just fancy a change. Just like vegetable growing, with my limited knowledge I will be making it up as I go along, so any advice is more than welcome. I would love to see the garden full of colour.

With the gradual relaxing of restrictions I am looking forward to being able to travel farther afield, and I've been making plans of places to visit as soon as we are able, although I can't complain. Staying local has really opened my eyes to what is on my doorstep and I'm sure we'll be spending just as much time at the river again this summer.

J. X

Tuesday, 16 February 2021



As I noted in my last post, life here trundles on much the same, week after week, with the exception being that we are now on our half term break - yay! This has meant we can put all notions of home learning aside, for this week, at least, and I can't stress just what a relief that is. I have felt under much more pressure this time round, so I can only imagine it feels far worse for Lily, especially being away from her friends and the reassuring routine of the school day. 

Thankfully, despite the bitterly cold temperatures we've been experiencing, another difference is the noticeable brightening and lengthening of the days, a clear indication spring is on the way. That, and we discovered some early bright green shoots of wild garlic pushing through the frozen earth last week. It's hard to think that in just a few weeks time we will be walking there in the warm sunshine to gather some for making pesto.

As it's been so cold, I've made sure to keep the bird feeder well topped up. Since the beginning of the year we have been fortunate to have many birds returning to the garden. For ages, it seemed, we didn't get any feathered visitors, which was really disappointing. I wasn't sure if it was down to our garden receiving little in the way of sunshine at this time of year, so I eventually stopped putting any food out at all. In a determined effort to encourage more of our feathered friends I once again began putting out a variety of nuts and seeds and have since been rewarded with a steady stream of blackbirds, blue tits, and robins. Although, I must admit they have been a bit of a distraction from our home learning, with both mother and daughter having the same tendency to gaze longingly out of a window, rather than getting on with the task in hand :) 

Even though I've still been working, we've taken every opportunity to get outdoors when the weather has allowed. These daily walks, although becoming a little repetitive, are necessary to my wellbeing. I know I've said this before but if you look closely there is always something new to see as the seasons change and nature does her thing. I hadn't, however, prepared myself for the sight of this stunning display of icicles down by the river. We were amazed. So much, in fact, Lily insisted we went back the following day for another look. 

J. X

Sunday, 31 January 2021

January Brings the Snow

I never intended to leave it this long between posts. More than in previous years, this January has been a long and tedious month. Always my least favourite time of the year, it has proved even more challenging than usual. The cold weather and lack of sunshine, along with the limitations of lockdown restrictions are enough to test even the most positive outlook -  and I was never blessed with one of those :) 

Still, I've been keeping busy, although I am beginning to grow weary of the repetitive days. Much like last year, for now at least, my diary remains empty aside from birthdays and anniversaries. Weekdays are filled with home learning - both Lily's and mine, and with much more structure than during the first lockdown there is a greater expectation to keep on track, leaving us with little time to relax. 
With  tensions running high one day last week, I holed myself up in the kitchen making marmalade. I was pleasantly surprised by the therapeutic properties of carefully shredding the orange peel, the delicious aroma of simmering oranges and, of course, the finished product made it all worth the effort, especially with the added brandy. My taste buds definitely approve and peace was restored.

As you can see, we've had some more snow. Both snowfalls came as quite a surprise. The first covering lasted a while longer than the second, which disappointingly began to thaw later that same day but it still looked so lovely for a short time. Tomorrow is the start of a new month. In January it often feels as though time is standing still and I'm just marking the days until I see them noticeably begin to lengthen. Evidence our wheel is turning.
This afternoon I saw some lambs in the field. Spring is on it's way. 

J. X

Sunday, 10 January 2021



This wasn't the start to the New Year that I'd hoped for but even though I've found the last week rather challenging, I woke this morning determined to shake myself out from my feelings of melancholy. I can't help but think that it's going to take a whole lot longer than expected before we see a change to the current situation and I need to become more accepting of this.

The snow all but disappeared overnight and today the fells were hidden from view by a dense fog. The temperature had risen above freezing for the first time in a week, and for once my morning routine did not include tentatively treading across the frosty garden to check the bird seed and replenish the water. From the kitchen window I could still see two thick discs of ice, which had been previously emptied from the water tray, laying stubbornly at the edge of the grass but even they had thawed by midday.

We're back to home learning once again and, after an intermittent start, we've got the hang of the new system. Already it seems to be working much better than the platform we used last time. Instead of completing all the work during the morning, I've been breaking it down into several short twenty minute sections slotted throughout the day, as I've discovered this more relaxed approach works better for us.
I'm still working every day, and this gives me a sense of routine and normality. 

We are getting out walking most afternoons, although keeping our routes close to home for the time being. The winter sun has been beautiful in the woods and it's lovely to see the snowdrops are almost in flower. Wearing lots of warm layers has been essential in the freezing temperatures but more often than not Lily will still insist on removing her jacket. Children just don't seem to feel the cold do they.

Christmas already feels like a long time ago and although most of our decorations were taken down last week, I've left the wooden snowflakes, a star and Lily's snow globe on display. Also, to keep a cosy glow in the kitchen I've kept my little tree in the corner, complete with lights. I'm happy to see it has some fresh green shoots on some of it's branches. 

I went for a short run this morning and as I passed by the fields which, in a few weeks, will be full of lambs, I  reminded myself spring is just around the corner. 

J. X