The snow is on it's way out now, the sun is surprisingly warm when it comes out and even when there has been a sharp frost it soon starts melting. Unfortunately the resulting mud is very sticky and the dogs race in with big clumps on their feet! Thank goodness we are tiled all through downstairs. The chickens are all doing silly walks as the mud clumping on their feet makes them heavy. They have access to all the outbuildings and path but still paddle in the mud occasionally. Then wipe their feet on the window ledge!!!!
Silver and Venus checking up on us
We have filled the bird feeders under the apricot tree and have had our first birds. The great tits were first, then woodpecker came for a look-see but was a bit confused. Then the jay, he didn't stay long, and now the tree sparrows have descended. That will keep Mrs "shoo" happy, they might leave her chicken feed alone. We have used a mix of cage bird feed and pigeon feed as wild bird seed is very expensive. The nuts are walnuts from our own tree.
The other day when we went out we saw huge flocks of small birds all along the roads. We slowed down to try to work out what they were, and it seems they are mixed flocks of finches. We identified the usual subjects, sparrows, chaffinch, gold finch, but there were also bramblings (new to me) and what look rather like siskins. A real mixed bunch who kept just out of range for a decent photo, but we managed to blow some up for ID.
The dogs are enjoying having a fire in most of the time. They are well and truly over worrying about spitting logs, but I do worry that Bonnie may be getting a bit too close! When they are not basking by the fire they insist on cramming onto the small sofa with me. Not really enough room for two big dogs and me!
In the kitchen I have tried a new recipe, this time for lemon polenta fingers. Strange texture but very lemony. I am planning on taking half of it and half a banana traybake, as well as a quiche, to the English neighbours' house in a couple of days, where they are having a get-together.http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9076/swirly-lemon-drizzle-fingers
Also did a batch of spiced walnuts which I found really moreish and Dave didn't. I think he would rather have chocky. We have now started opening the Advent calendars sent from Dave's old work colleagues and the pleasure he gets from those tiny bits of Cadbury's chocolate has to be seen to be believed!