Brrr Winter Has Arrived

The run up to Christmas is usually a rainy, miserable and cold affair, not a snowflake in sight. This year we just might have a white Christmas due to the recent snow fall and reports of more on the way.

The hens are totally unimpressed, they had enough of the white stuff in February when most of the UK was under a thick blanket of snow. Blizzard conditions on Thursday evening forced me outside in the dark equipped with a torch and tarps (which are still desperately clinging to the sides of the chicken pens), the hens appreciated my efforts which made all my cursing and freezing aching body parts worthwhile, I guess. The vegetable garden has all but disappeared, I know it’s there somewhere, I might go and dig about later and try to find it. OK, maybe not. I don’t have anything exciting to see anyhow, only a row of garlic which is staying firmly underground for now.

I was thinking earlier of trying to make some extra christmas decorations, little finishing touches using some holly from the garden. We have a HUGE holly tree so I don’t feel guilty cutting some, the wild birds will still have plenty of berries to eat. I must admit im not very creative or ‘crafty’, this sort of thing comes easily to some but with me I usually end up mumbling and swearing to myself, pricking my finger and basically giving up. If anyone has any ideas for holly decorations I would appreciate some tips!

Oh, don’t forget to feed the wild birds everyone! Freezing conditions make it very difficult for them to find food. You don’t need a fancy feeder, just a few handfuls sprinkled on the ground or heaped up high- say on a wall for instance for the smaller birds will do. They aren’t fussy but they will be hungry and appreciate your efforts.

Frosty Morning

Brrr baby its cold outside! A hard frost descended upon the garden smallholding last night and turned it into a magical twinkling wonderland. I find frost quite beautiful, especially with low winter sun beaming across it. I spent longer than usual letting the hens out this morning, it felt so clean and fresh outside that I wanted to enjoy the peace before facing the usual morning rushing about.

Im chuffed and amazed at myself for remembering to put the tender herbs in the mini greenhouse, im certain I would have lost a few if I hadn’t. On the other hand, im not that clued up on herbs anyway so I may eventually kill some off by accident. The pheasants are once again a welcome sight, I do miss them during the summer months. The bird feeders are topped up and feeding the hungry small birds, the pheasants and other ground feeders clean up the mess.

I moved a rhubarb clump a few weeks ago, hopefully it will be OK and come up again early spring, all the rain that we have had recently should have helped to settle it in. The raised vegetable frames are looking good, filled with fresh homemade compost and being turned regularly. I will top dress some of them with rotted horse manure in the spring. I really must get around to making a compost bin from wood, we have 13 hens now and my compost bins are filling up fast!

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