Slow Living :: February 2015

February can be a hard month – it’s often the last slog of bitter cold here and the year sometimes seems at its darkest (regardless of it turning at Winter Solstice) and regardless of Imbolc (Candlemas) being at the beginning of the month.  Yes I get very excited to see the first snowdrops, but still there’s the rest of the month to get through and I find it hard.

Snowdrop

Snowdrop

CELEBRATE

Braided fruitbread

Braided fruitbread

The plan had been to make bread in a St Brigid’s cross. It didn’t quite work out, so Nin went for a braided fruit bread instead.  It tasted good and, I suppose, that’s what really matters!

GROW

stinkers_digs

As the weather brightened, thoughts have turned outside to the garden where we have rather a lot of work to do.  We moved here last summer and any gardening was taken up with caring for the very many pots we brought with us (an overview of what happened gardening-wise last year is here: Garden 2014).

John has been busy clearing some space for broad beans and a few of our currants.  We eventually plan to plant some fruit trees where the broad beans are going this year, but just can’t manage the cost of what we want in time to planted already, so have to wait until the autumn.

The eventual plan for the currants and some of the raspberries is that they will live in the front ‘garden’ (as apparently they will tolerate some shade).  But the front garden is currently completely paved, so that’s on hold for the time being until we get other work done in the back garden.  We need to build a low fence to prevent the dog from accessing the main garden (so she doesn’t careen all over the beds) and so are dividing the garden with a paved area nearest the house (as there isn’t any sort of seating area currently) and building a low fence as part of a pergola over the planned patio up which we will be planting grapes (south-facing).

Our potatoes from the Grow Your Own Potatoes project (from the Potato Council) are chitting on the windowsill and the following have been sown:

  • Broad beans – Aquadolce Longpod
  • Tomatoes – Latah
  • Dahlias – unknown variety
  • Sweet peas – mixed

The latter two are courtesy of Nin who is trying to raise dahlias from seed this year.  These come from my visit to East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens and were a gift from one of the owners who is trying to breed black dahlias (he’s a massive dahlia enthusiast and was very pleased to hear that Nin is interested in dahlias too, so very kindly gave me some seeds for her).

We’re going to have to take it a little easy on the gardening front this year with a baby on the way and a little less space, but are planning to at least grow a reasonable amount of tomatoes, herbs and salad.

Update:

Tomato shoots

First tomato shoots of the year!

seeds

We ordered a few more seeds to add to what we have saved from last year.  We’re going to give cucamelons a go and we needed some more tomatoes as, although we had a few left from last year, tomatoes are something that we use a lot of and have really appreciated having dried to continue to use into the winter.  Now to get some more sown and hope that I’m not too exhausted to keep on top of them in the months to come!

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52 Weeks of Nature :: Third and Fourth Weeks of February

bridge

There aren’t many photos for the past couple of weeks. I was ill during the third week so spent much of it on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, rather than getting outside.  Still, towards the end of the third week we managed to get out and I took a few pics.

The crocus and periwinkle are from this past week, the first we’ve seen of the year.  The snowdrops are still out in force and there’s some shepherd’s purse flowering. There are plenty of green shoots promising more flowers to come.  We have seen the buzzards a few more times – once literally low over our heads, so I think we surprised it – but I just haven’t been able to get a decent photo.  I think they must be nesting fairly close as they’ve become a very regular sight.   We’ve seen great tits and blue tits and all the usual blackbirds, sparrow and robins, plus something that was pinkish and very pretty, but couldn’t get a good enough look at it to identify.

As Spring progresses, everything seems to speed up and you begin to see more and more green, it’s very cheering

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A New Slouchy Hat for Nin

Nin needed a new hat as her old one was getting a little small.  I made her a slouchy beret thing (Rav link here) which should last her for some time.  She would like a flower adding and it’s knitted up, so that’s on the list of things to do when I get a minute.

On the needles is a simple spring cardigan for Stinkers – which due to making all sorts of errors when I was ill last week (no idea what my brain was doing, but it must have been temporarily seeping out with all the snot…) I had to frog back and restart.

Joining in with Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Home Education 2015 :: Third Week of February

It’s been half-term, so Ted has been off school.  I’ve also been ill and spent a few days feeling rather sorry for myself on the sofa.   There was still daily maths and foreign language practice, but mostly I’ve been getting on with knitting whilst the children have been off doing other things.

Towards the end of the week I felt a bit chirpier and managed to get a bit of fresh air at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.  The changes to the wallaby enclosure are complete and we were able to walk through again, which made Stinkers very happy (she really likes the wallabies).

marmoset

baboon

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