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Saturday, 9 January 2016

The snow arrived

It came when we were warned it would so we weren't caught out. We are more self reliant this year than last so there is little besides flour and oil and yeast that we are likely to need, so stocking up on essentials takes little time, plus all the things you need for emergencies are available in the local shops.
A few pics from the square before people were out and about

The main road through the village

Village hall

Our house

It wasn't heavy but because the night temperatures were so low, down to -15, it lay straight away and after the first light but steady fall there was 8 or 9 inches, then went up to about a foot. Dave cleared the paths as Bonnie and I are rather wobbly on our pins, with the days being sunny once cleared, the paths dry during the day. But we had a fall of rain which upset the apple cart, meaning Bonnie, who still insists on a morning walk, having to be carried up the steps out of the garden which were a sheet of ice first thing. But we are now on the way to a thaw and the nights are not as cold.
The girls supervising

Waiting for their walk
Life in the old girl....

Freedom on the lane

Unimpressed ducks

Spud was playing in the snow...but too quick for me
Charlie keeping warm

You'd think they were friends....

Charlie keeping warm (2)

The ducks' initial reaction was one of horror! They came out, jumping up and down , trying to get away from the cold....and made their way straight to the hen shed where they stayed, being waited on by Dave as they need their water replenishing constantly so they can not only dip their heads (they don't do tears and need to wash occasionally) but they need water to eat too. The first night Dave chivied them back to their own quarters but they are now allowed to sleep with the long as it works OK and the chooks get their rest. A couple of bales of hay were sacrificed for walking on and scratching through and when he could, Dave made a path to the water pond and sorted the well pump which had stopped working. Happy ducks.

That's enough!

All glad of freshly cleared ground

The chooks take everything in their stride and the three Sussex have now got the small pen since the ducks moved out. They are laying well and Dave has set a few eggs in the incubator to see how it works, not necessarily expecting any chicks, just so he knows what's what before he sets eggs in earnest. And yes, we were supposed to be stopping this breeding lark, but it will be just Sussex and ducks as we think there might be a market for them.
They won't get cold with those fluffy bloomers!

The rest of the chooks are laying well and we are getting a bit of an egg mountain, but they will keep fresh in the fridge for a while and a couple of people are having them from us.

The goats have hibernated. They have plenty of space in their stable and they jump up and down from the bench if energy takes them. Milly is still giving around a litre of milk a day so must be happy enough. They get a lot of attention from Dave.

And the garden...well there's not much to say really. We had a solid frozen cabbage one day, from the polytunnel, and we have sprouts which are better for being well frosted. I have tidied all the geraniums and chilli plants overwintering upstairs and they are looking great. Some seeds are germinating, onions really, so they are not too unhappy up there. The nights being not so cold will make a difference.
After the rain there was a weird texture in the early morning light

One thing about the snow is we are seeing more birds in the garden. They keep the cats amused as they try to raid the walnut box outside. Because of this I thought I would make some high protein treats for them, mostly great and blue tits and hedge sparrows, but I have also seen lesser and greater woodpeckers, jays and other small brown birds, hard to distinguish and impossible to photograph for ID with the glare of sun on snow. The fatty, fruity and nutty treats, with added flax and sunflower seeds....have been totally ignored by the hungry birds, though because of the cats we have had to hang them on the washing line instead of the tree. I have seen one great tit and one blue tit have a look, but that's all. Ah well, I tried. They will just have to make do with hen food! There are tracks of animals passing through the empty garden behind us, but owls are all we really see there. The owls in the square just watch on, almost invisible unless you know they're there.
This is a Syrian woodpecker but we also get greater and lesser spotted woodpeckers in the garden

Lots of lovely goodies

Bella says she'll have them!

A lone blue tit looked and went

There have been a couple of orthodox religious name days this last week. On the 6th is is Jordan's  day, where young men (these days with a health certificate) gather by the river, (representing the river Jordan) a cross is tossed in and all the chaps try to retrieve it. Flipping cold this year! I think there must have been a few cancellations. Then the next day was John's (Ivan's) day. I confess I am not a religious person and only have a passing interest in what all the days are for.

Dave went to the village cafe, sliding over the ice, where Baba Danka's 40 day do was, a day to say goodbye to her spirit and marking the end of the mourning period. It was also as I said above. John's day and as Dave was waiting outside the shop for Venka, both he and Yordan were accosted by a Priest and whacked across the face with some herby twigs and blessed. A bit alarming at the time. He came home with a share of the meal for me and a poster to put on the gate for Baba Danka.

We are having some cracking sunrises. This is not unusual but I never get tired of them. They often don't come out well in pictures...then there's a good day!


  1. Enjoy following along with your new life...the village seems quiet and peaceful in the snow. Beautiful sunrise!

  2. Another beautiful post to make an old woman green with envy, I know what you mean about wobbly pins I've been the same since just before Christmas, I had an op on my knee back in 2012 and it seems that the problem is back. Maybe they'll give me a new knee because I need to be fit to grow this years crops on the plot. Snow on the hills here but down in the valley its just rain,rain and more rain.

    1. I hope you get your new knee Kath, I've heard great things of them. Alas both knees are shot now, and plenty of other joints are following. But I am fine for pottering as long as I don't have to walk too far. I'd never manage without Dave to do the heavy stuff...but I can still stack logs all day as long as they are brought to me!

      Soon be time for you to get back onto the allotment. Hopefully the weather will be kinder this year.

  3. Those owls are amazing... never seen anything like it in the wild before... we hear the owls here but never see them. I don't envy you the snow though. But spring is coming, our storks are back and the cranes are leaving... this always cheers us up as its a sure sign that winter won't last long.

  4. For some reason I can't use the reply button.
    There are eight owls in the tree at last count Jane, but we have eard of people seeing a lot more than that. As for returning birds, they are coming back, there are reports from people living by the coast. Our storks don't return until late February/March, depending where you are. It's an amazing sight to see fifty or so storks wheeling overhead. As you say, a sure sign that spring is nearly here.

  5. Great photos as usual, I especially like the owls, woodpeckers and sunsets. I have never been able to get such close views of owls or such great photos of woodpeckers and I used to do quite a lot of bird watching. The sunsets are spectacular.

    1. Thank you Carol. We get excited about seeing the birds so clearly because once the spring brings new leaves you can hear but not see them. We're looking forward to the nightingales returning and would love to get a shot of him singing against the sunrise.

  6. Oh well your weather changed after all - much more seasonal now. Funnily enough my ducks have never minded snow yet I haven't ever had a chicken who would venture out on to it! Love the owl pics and the Syrian Woodpecker, and the sunset is glorious!