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Sunday, 11 January 2015

And so the year starts

Dave has done another painting for his exhibition in April. This time an Irish Setter. He thinks he has enough now but who knows, there is time for more lock-ins yet. He is now concentrating on a portrait of a friend's rooster. But he has also done a cartoon of our friend Helen and her setter Missy....I believe it will be going in the loo! Missy is being a bit of a challenge to train and Helen has had a couple of hairy moments when she has been a bit enthusiastic, so Dave thought a picture of Helen and Missy in a chariot might give her a giggle...well, it would be one way of getting rid of some energy!

Helen and Missy
We went out for the first time the other day. Dave was unsure about the roads (with good reason) but as snow has been given for tomorrow we thought it best to go out for animal food and flour so off to the supermarket....
Brrrr....but he's convinced there's something there

The pond ice solid in the morning
Frozen, wilted and faded romanesco

Oh dear

Dave had been having trouble keeping the battery charged. It probably wouldn't have been noticed but for the very low temperatures helping to drain it, despite the car being in the garage. So we needed a battery, better safe than sorry. The temperature the night before had been down to -18c so bitterly cold, but we daren't have the heater on any more than necessary to keep the windows clear, and it's law that we have our lights on. It was COLD! The roads were still pretty bad and snow drifts from Christmas were still around four feet deep, so the odd few hours of sunshine hadn't helped much, though the fields weren't too bad. The road we travelled for chicken feed is fairly busy with several large villages and a few good sized industrial businesses along the way so we thought they would clear the road. Anyway, we made it to our usual garage and arranged for a battery. While we were there he pointed out another problem but said it was up to us if we fixed it, but it would affect performance. There's no rush, we rarely use the car any more so we'll see.
Pretty sky

Plenty of buzzards watching over the road

The main road through our village

And outside the house
The animals thawing Dave out....favouritism!!!!

Yesterday was the day when next door's steer met it's maker so Dave was round there helping out all day. He came home at lunch time to pick up a large fig and almond tart to help feed the workers, and Dave came home stuffed as usual. Venka having produced another huge meal. So the garden was adorned with huge chunks of cow, though this time I knew what to expect and there was no shock value.

Then today....well, what can I say. The temperature has risen, the sun came out and it was like spring! I managed to get three loads of washing dry, including towels and jeans. Warmed our backs. The animals absolutely loving it, basking in the warmth both inside and out.

Someone got too close to Dave's paintbrush
Can you see what it is?

Wanna be a labrador......

Even the bees came out to play. Dave has made them some sugar syrup in case they're hungry
 Dave was desperate to get into the garden and sort the compost heaps out, but they are still solid frozen under the surface. But he managed to find enough to give to me for sowing seeds. It may be a bit rich for seedlings but they will be potted on as soon as I can so hopefully they will be OK. So the sowing of seed has started, but only things that we know will be OK around the house if (or when!) the weather turns back to winter. (Snow forecast for tonight) Dave has built a new lighter weight cold frame and positioned it against the white house wall, he just needs to get some polythene which you can get anywhere out here. All very exciting but I have not sown many of each variety, I can do more later if I need more, or any don't grow. I am still waiting for an order of seeds which are more difficult to find.

Dave has also been ferreting around in the open loft above the outhouses and found a few crates of bottles. We are thinking of making some fruit juices next year and small bottles would be ideal, While he was up there he had a good scout around to see if he could find out why one of the hens keeps going up there, but can't find any hidden eggs. A mystery, but we have both seen her coming and going and she knows which logs make the best ladder.

As usual small cat has to get in on the act....

Splash is spending more time outside...when he's not sitting in the sunniest spot on the sofa. There is another ginger and white cat hanging around and I have to say I have mixed feelings about seeing him with another cat. I worry that the local feral toms are going to be fighting over the ladies soon and he is still entire till he is seven months old (another month) but on the other hand another cat will show him some manners and he should interract so that he doesn't think he's a dog!

To end the day we have had the most amazung surround sunset sky, just lovely and I wish we could reproduce the colours as we saw them.


  1. The four cats always seem to gravitate towards Mr FD, be it on the sofa or in bed. I can,t help getting a bit jealous - although I don't mind missing out on Bib's bitey love in bed, I am envious that George snuggles inoes out!, purring loudly, as soon as the light g

    1. Hmmm I tend to get the pestering in bed, he knows when I'm awake, which is often!

  2. The ice sure is thick on the roads you've shown. Driving must be slow and difficult. We have similar cold and more snow, but our roads are cleared a couple days after a storm. Splash is a long and skinny teenage boy! And such beautiful sunset photos.

    1. We are now battling through a fresh fall of snow as predicted, but have no reason to go ut for a while, though Dave wants to go to the market on Wednesday. It seems to be wetter snow so might help to clear the roads unless temperatures plummet again. What will be will be.

      Yes, Splash is very much the teenage boy, defiant as well as skinny, he eats like you wouldn't believe even though the worming is kept up to date

  3. Brrrrr! Glad the weather has warmed up for you. Dave looks cold in the picture where he is covered in dogs and a small cat! Reminds me of my battle for the sofa every evening. The beef hanging up in the garden is a funny picture - hope it's tasty and tender!

    1. After more snow on monday we are having cold but not like we had at night and lovely days with the bluest skies. The animals make good heaters, but you can guarantee they will all pile on my much smaller sofa as soon as I strat to think blog and I can't move. Bless 'em, spoilt to death!

      The neighbours are still ploughing through the meat, mincing, sausageing and curing. I am hoping we have not been forgotten, I would hate for Dave to go through all that for nothing. Happy to pay just to be able to cook something other than chicken or pork for Dave.