Winter is not letting go just yet with more snow falling over the weekend. Nicknamed ‘Mini Beast from the East’ I’d say a tame little pussy cat rocked up to Bedfordshire (at the moment anyway, fingers crossed). Nevertheless, the ground is frozen solid once again and that means no veg garden or allotment tinkering. Humph!
This latest dusting of snow didn’t stop me from my usual trot to the allotments to snoop look at the plots and soak up inspiration. It never ceases to amaze me how allotment folk utilise items that others would simply throw out with the rubbish, we’re a frugal bunch and I love that. Something else I love about allotment life is the humble shed. Ramshackle, brand new, plain or unusual. I don’t know why I adore them like I do.
The sheds on the allotments are actually pretty tidy, being a new allotment site most of the sheds were bought new rather than being inherited down through the years, they haven’t had the time needed to become significantly weather-beaten or patched up. I’m still window shopping and deciding which shed will work best for me and my new plot, as well as planning the plot layout on paper. Very exciting!
Plot 33, bedraggled and shivering in the snow….
But I have plans, with sprinkles of love and bunting.
For many days the UK has been gripped by the ‘Beast from the East’, snow and freezing temperatures tucking signs of spring firmly under a white blanket. Now storm Emma approaches from the Atlantic bringing more snow, clashing with Siberian air causing icy high winds and blizzard conditions. The entire country is now under a severe weather warning with worse yet to come, parts of Scotland, south-west England and Wales are on red alert for snow. Lives are at risk.
Even though it’s still snowing here in the east of England and so cold I can barely feel my fingers, I feel our region has got off lightly so far compared to some. Having said that, those with livestock to care for makes things difficult wherever you are. Our chickens refuse to leave the coops and drinkers freeze within half an hour of refilling. I really feel for farmers and smallholders, plus it is lambing season.
The above photo was taken yesterday on my phone with shaky cold hands! Today the garden is completely submerged and it’s too cold to stand around taking photos. Us Brits have a good moan about the weather, hot or cold we’ll find something to complain about but we really are getting our a*se whopped right now.
Very early this morning we woke to this beautiful scene.
Heavy snow fell through the early hours, covering our village (and most of the UK) in a white blanket.
I don’t like snow. Yes it’s pretty to look at, but for me the novelty soon wears off.
The roofing to the walk-in chicken runs need attention, well, they need completely replacing to be fair and weight bearing snow really didn’t help matters, but we managed to clear most of it off the sheeting before it turns to ice and completely buckles the structures. This all took quite a bit of time today and our toes and fingers were really throbbing. The chickens were very suspicious of the snow and dull white sky, choosing to spend time inside the coops, sulking.
However, at least one member of the garden smallholding enjoyed it…..
She loved every moment of the snow, she’s sprawled out on the sofa snoring now.
A light covering of snow arrived early this morning. I was mucking out the chickens at the time, watching their reaction to the strange-looking threat falling from the sky. I did find it amusing, it’s the first time these particular hens have seen snow.
After finishing the chicken chores I grabbed my camera and took some photos.
Our dog wanted to take part in the snow photo shoot….
Within a couple of hours it stopped snowing, anything that did settle melted away by early afternoon.
The snow that we had been expecting arrived last night, I watched the snowflakes dance and swirl before covering the ground with a crisp white carpet. The above photo shows the view of the lane from the front of our house, taken from an upstairs window. As beautiful as snow is, it can be very destructive as I discovered early this morning. Laying before me was our established Photinia ‘Red Robin’, flattened by the weight of its new snow coat. A complete shock and unforeseen. Being a small tree it has been difficult to lift it off its knees, it’s just too big and heavy to stake so I’m afraid its future is looking very bleak.
The above photo shows the Photinia before its demise, standing proud next to the honeysuckle arch, just a section of our back garden. If it cannot be saved then I shall have to make plans for a new feature plant. Perhaps a large grass would be nice.
If the snow fluttered down on you I hope you enjoyed it, the older I get the more miserable I get about it all. Bah humbug!
We’ve had some strange weather and seasons this year, I’ve usually cut the autumn raspberry canes down by now but they’re still fruiting, the summer canes are only just starting to lose their leaves. The rhubarb didn’t really die back properly and doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do either. Snow threatened to land last week but thankfully it came to nothing. I do like snow, I think most people do until the initial excitement and awe of it disappears, the novelty soon wears thin with me anyway. Around this time last year I remember trying to find my vegetable garden which was buried under several inches of cruel snow, at the moment I’m able to visit it whenever I feel the need to ponder or escape for some peace and quiet. Prodding at the soil and making plans in my mind for the coming growing season keeps me sane this time of year, it’s a need, an urge and I just have to be able to do it. There’s plenty of Gladiator parsnips left to pull, I will enjoy some roasted with rosemary sprigs tomorrow with my Christmas dinner.
Wild birds are enjoying the food that I’m leaving out for them, they’ve already pecked their way through the dying sunflower heads of summer. I love watching the different types of garden birds that visit, it can be quite therapeutic as well as educational. A territorial robin has been amusing me this week, his antics certainly make washing up seem like less of a chore! Holly berries are also being devoured, it’s such a huge tree now that I don’t feel guilty about taking a few branches inside, along with Ivy for decoration.
Wishing all readers a lovely Christmas, many thanks for the visits to my blog and comments that you took the time to leave for me. I read each and every one of them, it’s nice to know that my little corner of blog land is being visited and enjoyed.
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.
It snowed heavily again overnight. In fact I believe last nights snowfall was heavier than Mondays. It has been so cold recently that the little bit of winter sunshine from yesterday failed to make much of an impact on Mondays snowfall. Hardly any melted at all.
The hens are again unimpressed with today’s weather but not quite as shell shocked as Monday. Not surprising really considering where they came from. Their enclosure is very sheltered, it has a roof and some temporary tarp on the sides to protect them from wind driven snow. They are well protected from whatever the weather decides to throw at us again today.
One of the difficulties since the start of this severe weather has been to prevent their water drinker from freezing during the day. Monday was particularly annoying and no doubt today will be too. A member on the ex battery hens forum has kindly given a tip to prevent this problem. She adds a glug of olive oil to the drinker, which prevents the water from freezing. I have not tried this yet so I shall see if it works today if access to their water becomes a problem for them.
Our children’s schools are shut again today, its too dangerous for the school buses to travel through the villages as hardly any of the roads have been gritted over night. Rich could not make the journey into the office either, so he is working from home today. The snow plough came through the lane which fronts our property at 6.30am, it helped a little but its still pretty treacherous out there.
So another day of being snowed in, sorry to be the fun police but I hope this is the last of it.
The biggest snowfall for 18 years hit most of the UK big styleee. It started last night and continued throughout most of today. London was worse affected, bringing the capital crashing to its knees. Now there’s a surprise. Meanwhile, here in Bedfordshire it was a peaceful winter wonderland.
Our daughters school closed half day as the weather worsened, our sons school was closed full stop much to his delight. I spent some time with our children today building a snowman. Although I was frozen solid and my hands and feet throbbed with pain from being so cold, today brought back so many memories of my childhood during the long forgotten harsh winters.
Another day of snow filled fun awaits our children tomorrow, their schools are to remain closed. The chickens were soooo not impressed with the snow, I was quite concerned about them today. They are by large sheltered from the worst of it but they still sulked all the same, choosing to spend most of the day inside the coop. Only 1 egg today, says it all really.
On the vegetable front, I started off some garlic in small pots yesterday. Hurrah! I finally got something done, although I totally forgot to buy some seed potatoes at the weekend. Duh!
At last it has snowed. I awoke today to see clean fresh unspoilt snow covering the garden like a blanket. The flakes were falling fast and furious and were big and fluffy, gorgeous! It has been so cold the past few days and nights that I have been surprised that the snow did not come sooner. I took Jason our dog outside with me while I tended to the hens, he had a great time running around and trying to eat the snow. I love snow paws and as you can see from the above photograph, Jason is a big boy! The hens were spared cold feet, they have a roof on their enclosure so the snow did not make it inside, they seemed quite interested in it all the same. I will let them out to free range a little later, this will be their first experience of snow.
Of course our children J & J could not resist coming out to play too, snow and children are a match made in heaven. I think its the only time they do not complain about being cold!
By this time the snow was getting pretty wrecked, I love freshly fallen snow but its a shame not to enjoy it. The wild birds will find today pretty hard to find food, so my next job was to refill the feeders after their feast last night. I also scatter seed around for the larger birds. The Pheasants in particular do well out of me, at the last count there were 4 at one time feeding from the ground.
The weather forecast predicts more snow, perhaps there will be enough to build a snowman next time?