Things have been a bit monochrome today
Month: February 2017
It is snowing properly this evening after a day of flirty weather, hiding in the hills
and sneaking in with a bit of sleet, a bit of rain, a bit of sun.
I suppose the living things we are most aware of in our lives are the birds all around us. It is easy to see their behaviour through human eyes – the friendly Robins, the flighty Blackbirds, the secretive Wrens…
Recently we have been enchanted by the Treecreeper
(sadly, to our best current knowledge, singular)
Today, perversely, creeping on the ground
Always seemingly oblivious to human activity close by
Meanwhile excavations continue to create Shangri-La in Zenith
And pre-Spring continues to unfurl
While a hint of decay lurks on the doorstep to remind us not to be too optimistic
As we prepare tonight’s dinner, eating something we sowed ten months ago,
we appreciate the necessity for forward planning and Not Letting Things Slip.
So, although skies may play fast and loose
using the polytunnels, we should be able to harvest salad all the year round. But when Autumn comes it is easy To Let Things Slip.
This year we are determined to plant regularly and keep things going. We have so far kept this up for a month, germinating on the hotbed
which still has a core temperature of 65 degrees, and then quickly moving on
This system means we are pricking out salad leaves, which is not normal
(notice the use of slug-deterring bran, which we learned about here)
So today’s sowing, as an experiment, took place in guttering lengths
with a view to sliding the seedlings into a new location.
Also today, Dinah sorts out her maternity quarters
while Bert keeps a nose on things
The wind may still be blowing, the rain falling, and the temperature dropping
but daylight is lengthening and life is insuppressible
Dinah moves house
Doris having moved on, we wake to welcome sunlight
casting strange reflections
leaving snow at a safe distance
With a week to go before her confinement, it was time for Dinah to move to her maternity quarters. Suspense – would a pig follow a feed bucket?
As did the pig zone Robin
anxious to keep a check on his desirable patch.
Lottie and Bina kept a watch on their food
While we keep a watch on their nether regions
Not yet up to a senior boar, they are down for a couriered in offering from Ireland – but mapping the cycles of gilts is a millimeter measurement exercise.
Our household group of starlings
Resting on its laurels
The birds had to be more than normally acrobatic this morning as Doris violently rocked the feeders
By the end of the afternoon she was moving on, leaving the blue sky swept clean
But also leaving one of the Eucalyptus resting on the neighbouring laurels
Other predators sneak through with less bluster but still cause damage.
These aconites were planted out a few days ago – obviously a rabbit delicacy.
Waiting for Doris
We already feel slightly soaked and blasted by the last 24 hours’ weather.
The run off from the pig area reaches capacity
and we leave behind us aquatic footprints.
The hens are pleased to eat their teatime corn from the logs
The Guineas are pleased to be behind glass
to see how the overflow overflows
The starlings head over to their roost
and the Goldcrest becomes slightly blurred
will have better milk production if fed cabbages
is that all is ready for breakfast
Meanwhile the hotbed has reached a core temperature of 65 degrees
and the latest batch of salad seedlings have had to be evacuated to somewhere cooler
Bright, Spicy… and Speedy
The hotbed had a top-up last week and has revved itself up to record levels
55 degrees at the core, germinating the latest salad seeds in two days
Pressure is on to keep things moving
Preparing a bed for the previous sowings
Succession salad will be very organised this year.
Outside things are wet and warm
Let’s pretend it is Spring – just for one day
The skies cleared
the sun shone, the temperature rose – real shirt-sleeves and wellies weather
Bert did a bit of sunbathing and then had to have a mud-bath to cool off
And we nearly had a fatality in the new pond
fortunately, due to the sun, the spider could be rescued with a long cow parsley stem and hung out to dry
Living in your subject
In one piece Wendell Berry writes about the failed construction of a pond:
“The ground grew heavy with water, and soft. The earthwork slumped; a large slice of the woods floor on the upper side slipped down into the pond.” and the trauma of causing damage to the land: “too much power, too little knowledge.”
It is indeed a big responsibility to alter the contours, rearrange the soil, making changes that may well exist in some form for many years ahead.
Today we made progress on blending our interference with the surroundings
Wendell Berry says: “I no longer ‘go to work.’ If I live in my place, which is my subject, then I am ‘at’ my work even when I am not working. It is ‘my’ work because I cannot escape it.”
When life and place and work become one – that is contentment indeed.
It also means you are at work in time to see this in the morning
The whole of the Wendell Berry piece referred to, and Paul Kingsnorth’s introduction to the book, can be found here.
The usual Starling flocks circle around us today
But the colour looks wrong – flashes of pale among the normal black and gold
Looking closer, there are infiltrators
Also today, through the kitchen window:
Meanwhile the Broccoli is sprouting