|We've had a few sprinklings of snow this last week|
|But also some brilliant sunshine for the animals to bask in|
I have pricked the first of the tomatoes and the aubergines into their own vending machine cups. It is early, I know, but I have only done two of the six varieties, the early cherry and large pink types of tomato, and if they should fail it's not the end of the world. I have been very restrained and only kept ten of the pink ones and ten aubergines, which means I have had to throw many away....how come a pinch of seed grows so many plants, but a pack of something expensive yields just a couple? I was going to wait until the nights warmed up, but it's going to be a while so I went ahead. Dave has put the garden table in the corridor upstairs where they will have all the available light from the door and window. Until I put things up there I didn't realise just how light it is. They are moved away from the window onto the freezer when it's dark, the small heat from the motor keeping them from chilling. The worst of the cold is hopefully gone now so we will get more seeds on the go. When the sun is out there is certainly enough light.
|Two types of tomatoes and aubergines|
|The only surviving pelargoniums have come out of the garage|
|All the wizened chillis need removing. This plant will be enough for us|
|The last of the squash. A few didn't make it and a lot given away|
The seedlings in the cold frame are doing OK, not growing much but not dying either
Things are changeing in the garden too. Chickweed is growing, much to the delight of the chooks and ducks. The tulips, snowdrops and daffs are growing like mad, we have several types of snowdrop/snowflake and they have a long season because of this. The tiny ones in the lawn you would miss unless you were looking at them, but the next size are now showing beautifully. The cornel by the gate is bursting it's buds showing little yellow flowers. The tree will grow slowly yellower, the first blowsy show of spring. it will soon be time to prune roses and any perennial plants which need it, as well as trees and fig....in fact the fruit trees need doing asap.
|The larger snowdops coming out|
|You can just make out the yellow of cornus bursting out. Another photo affected by the sun. giving a whole new meaning to point and shoot....blind!|
In the veggie garden the lettuce have shrivelled in the frost again, but will come alive with a couple of days of above freezing temperatures. Nothing else, just the onions and garlic growing well. The ducks are digging away looking for bugs (hopefully) and worms (we can spare a few to repay them) while the chooks spend more time close to home, getting fed up of huge clods of mud on their feet. The ducks just have baths when they get too bad. They have been on the lawn too, 'mowing' the weeds, with Dave and Bella keeping an eye and making sure they don't see the lettuce.
|Farmer Dave on watch|
The ducks are continuing to lay well. They are very keen to get out in the mornings, well before it is light enough to send the martens to bed they are bashing on the doors and yelling to be let out. I don't think it helps that Sevi starts crowing at 3.30am...and yes, I know because I am awake and often downstairs. Many people seem to like ducks more than chickens, and they certainly seem to be nicer to each other generally. But I reserve judgement. They are mucky, costantly muckying the chooks' water bowls, no matter how many there are, and noisy. They have yet to win me over, though I can see they can be quite pretty. Dave thinks they're great, much better than my chickens who he can't tell apart. And to be fair, the ducks are laying better than the hens with all this cold weather. The original white female is trying to get into the small nest boxes (she is far too big!) so maybe she will lay too one day. Spot and Spotty desperately follow the big group hoping to be part of it, but remain just on the fringes.
|Not even properly light, but an early morning (very cold) bath is a must|
|Spot and Spotty have to wait their turn. I like these two|
|Looking on in horror....|
|Cheese and onion and meaty little quiche|
|Lemon drizzle buns...they cool quicker than a cake for hungry husband|
|Winter warmer, toad in the hole with mash, veg and thick onion gravy|
Bonnie's nasty lesions seem to have dried up at last. She seems happier in herself but whether that is the reason or just that spring is in the air I don't know. She seems to be finding the stairs a bit easier and even tried to jump up this morning, something she has never made a habit of. Bella is Bella, a bit put out that she is no longer allowed to take up half the bed, still playing with the cat and getting clawed for her trouble. The cat has not calmed down yet, but having more bed to sleep on seems to have stopped him moving around so much. He has started to try to follow Dave and the dogs on their morning walk if he manages to get out, a worry with the ever expanding pack of feral dogs in the village, but he seems to take no chances. The feral dogs are being very noisy all night, something we are not used to, possibly as the bitches are coming in to season. I am not sure the villagers will be as tolerant of them when they are outside more and have their windows open at night.
|....come ON......(bite, chew)|
|Play cat, c'mon....Wassat???|
And finally to a frustration. I have mentioned before that, though my camera takes quite nice pictures even on auto, the screen is impossible to see in sunlight and there is no view finder. This is so annoying and today was one of those times when the woodpeckers were frolicking in the walnut tree but with sideways brilliant sun I couldn't see anything. So here are the 'best of the really bad photos......oh dear oh dear.
|Can you see it? Just taking off...behind a forest of twigs......|
|....and this one? Bottom right, that really was a woodpecker posing nicely haha Rubbish!|