Tag Archives: winter

Flowers in the Frost

It was a bit cold this morning – minus 3.5 degrees C according to my car. With a bit of a breeze and the proximity of the River Trent it felt even colder. I started taking photos and twenty minutes later, when my hands could no longer feel the button, I called it a day and sat in the car with the heater on. Julia continued her inspection, declared the garden closed for the day and started ringing round to reorganise things.


Frozen solid and minus three and a half degrees, though the moles are still active

I think it’s fair to say that they enjoyed themselves more in the main building than they would have done in the garden.


There was still plenty to see, though it was mostly droopy and covered in frost crystals. I tried to get some sun into the pictures but it was a bit low in the sky, and concealed behind trees.


A cold-looking garden gnome

The poppies, meanwhile, are standing up to the cold weather better than the real flowers.


From there I dropped Julia at the main building and went to the jewellers to get a safety chain fitted to one of her Christmas presents. I will say no more…

I managed to do some shopping before my return home and a session of writing Christmas cards and blogging before starting to cook tea.

This is the street, complete with frozen snow. Despite the forecast of higher temperatures I fear it may last a week or more, and continue to be a hazard underfoot.


A wintry scene


We had some snow today. That’s English snow – measured by the flake rather than the inch. After two attempts we have a very sparse scattering, which will no doubt freeze overnight and, as our street gets no sun in winter, stick about for a week or so causing problems.

That’s how we deal with snow in England, acting surprised, being under-prepared and letting a few flakes close down the entire country. No doubt we will have train delays and car accidents tomorrow. I can’t help thinking that other places do it better. It’s unlikely, for instance, that Canadians or Scandinavians would even recognise this sprinkling as snow.

Fortunately the urban population of the UK is plentifully provided with Chelsea Tractors.

I will keep my opinion of such things to myself. It’s not that I’m short of opinions, but Julia has given me a list of jobs to do ready for her Open Day tomorrow.

The Last Nasturtiums

I’ve always gauged the end of the year by the first serious frost, which always tends to flatten the nasturtiums. In my mind winter starts when the nasturtiums finish. The calendar may disagree, but that’s how I see it.

They are actually doing quite well in the Mencap gardens at the moment. The nasturtiums are still looking reasonable, and there are quite a few stragglers in the beds. My original thought for a post was “The Last Geranium” but the photograph didn’t come out that well.


As you can see, there is still a lot of colour in the garden, though it’s mainly just a few stragglers rather than beds of colour now. The sumac has mainly shed its leaves now, though the sedums are still showing well.

The Elephant  Grass (Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus) is still looking good, with its stripes and fronds and the teasel, always looks good at this time of year.


In fact there’s so much to show that I’ve just posted photos and I’ll let them speak for themselves.

There were birds around too, plus a new art installation and piece falling off the camera – an interesting day all round, and material for a second post.

Simple Pleasures

Sitting here on a gloomy grey day I idly wondered if winter  in England could get any worse. At that point an advert for the RSPCA came on TV. Pictures of neglected dogs don’t half bring the mood down.

At least it’s stopped raining, and every day that passes is a day nearer spring. I like spring.

However, it isn’t spring so I’ll have to make the most of what I have.

The best bit of the day, best bit of the week in fact, was being able to go back to bed after dropping Julia off at work. Any of you who are around a foot taller than your partner will know what I mean. Normally you find the duvet wrestled away from you by a small, compact and determined person who insists on sleeping half way down the bed. When you are on your own you can cover your shoulders and tuck the duvet right up to your ears.

It’s a simple pleasure. but the best ones often are, aren’t they?

Same goes for he Welsh Rabbit I made when we got home. It’s only cheese, milk and mustard on toast but there’s nothing better once you get the curtains closed and the fire on. We even had The Persuaders on TV to add to the atmosphere of cheesiness.

It’s one of the 50 new recipes for 2017. I know it doesn’t seem much of a recipe, but after years of making simple cheese on toast I thought I ought to make the effort to do something a bit better. Somehow it seems a lot nicer than ordinary cheese on toast.

I’m trying a new Cottage Pie recipe tonight, inspired by Jackie’s Post House Pie on Derrick J Knight’s blog. I happened to have leftover veg from the hot beef stew and pork with oven-baked vegetables I’d cooked this week, so it seemed too good to miss.

Winter and comfort food could have been made for each other.

We just ate the pie, with peas and kalettes. I’m definitely getting my five a day. With the leftover veg, it’s a very tasty pie, though the presence of chillies does introduce an element of chance into the eating process.

No pictures. When there’s a choice between eating and photography…

Wood chip woes

Three degrees centigrade when we arrived this morning. It’s now past 11 am as I write this and it’s still only four degrees so it looks like winter might have started. Despite all the newspaper reports this shouldn’t be a surprise, as we often have our worst weather in February or March.

The heat exchangers on the front of the building have been working hard and are covered in ice.


Meanwhile it’s 20 degrees inside, as long as people keep the door closed. Unfortunately, shutting doors seems to be a bit of a lost art.

Meanwhile the biomass boiler has been giving problems because we have used a new source of wood. First of all it needed recalibrating to deal with willow, and now the ash removal mechanism keeps clogging. When you have four homes relying on the system this isn’t good. Though we all know biomass is one of the ways forward, it’s easy to see why people stick to the more traditional methods of heating.


Busy Monday

Monday morning and it’s sausages once more (sounds vaguely like a song from the 60’s doesn’t it?). Fortunately they are all done now, as there are only so many cold, slippery sausages you can handle without thinking wistfully of sitting down in front of a fire and a TV.

It’s been gradually getting colder over the last couple of weeks, and we have had frost on the car windscreen for the last couple of mornings. To me that means winter has arrived, even though it isn’t official until 21st December.

The nasturtiums definitely think winter is here. Within the space of a weekend the bright flowers and large salad leaves (as I like to think of them) have become a soggy mess of green. There are slim pickings for a forager now.

The group has been out doing sheep this afternoon – checking health and ram activity. We’ve not had a great deal of success with rams this year. The new one seems to be working well but one of the older ones dropped dead with a suspected heart attack (insert appropriate comment (or inappropriate comment if you prefer) about him dying whilst doing something he enjoyed) and another has injured his leg.  They really are a most inept bunch of Casanovas.

For the rest of they day they have been making Christmas decorations.

It seems the big day is only a month away. This is not welcome news.

Before then we have a big open day on 1st December, with 20 or 30 people wanting lunch (you can guess the state of the planning from the wide range of possibilities). We also have to organise the Winterfest event on 5th December (though it’s just about done) and we have to plan for the Christmas lunch on the farm. It’s going to be smaller scale than previous years, as it spread to a two day event last year, which seems a bit much.

After that I just need to get presents and food for 25th and all is well.