Hello, and here we are again – another weekend and another storm whatever-it’s-called has wreaked havoc across the country. We have so many of these storms these days, don’t we? I hope that you have been able to keep warm, dry and safe wherever you are. We lost our phone line yesterday in the wind and our backup mobile wifi router wasn’t up to the job of uploading my blog post whilst everyone else was using it too so here I am, early in the morning whilst nobody else is up yet and hoping that it will work this time!
The sky was bright and there was no wind at all when I got up yesterday morning so I zoomed (as fast as I zoom on a half-term school holiday Friday morning!) out into the garden to take some photos. The garden is definitely waking up now and it’s lovely to see. I can also see how much work needs doing but everywhere is very wet and the weather really hasn’t been good this week so I am afraid I’ve been very lazy and stayed indoors as much as I could! (Not so small daughter has taken this one step further and stayed in bed whenever she could … )
That sky does look ominous, doesn’t it?!
It was surprisingly mild when I got outside – well, not surprising, really, as it’s been mild all Winter and I’m just glad that we got some snow in November because it really doesn’t look like I’m going to be seeing any before the Spring is really here! It was very still too, that “calm before the storm” that you get before the elements unleash their might against your windows and rattle the doors.
Down at the bottom of the garden, our daft ducks seemed unfazed by the impending storm. Big daughter stopped shutting them in their house overnight during the Summer as it was warm at night and now they seem to have forgotten how to go up the little ladder to get in there so they have been outside all Winter. If you try to put them in, they squawk and flap as if all hell is breaking loose and you really wonder if it’s worth the effort!
They like to go behind their house underneath the nesting box so we have put some boards against the mesh there to give them a bit of shelter from the wind and left them to it. They’ve got food, water, somewhere to swim and somewhere to get out of the cold and wind so we’re hoping that they will go inside if they get cold. I think our ducks might be turning feral and it’s a good job they are inside their enclosure so we know where they are … they really are daft creatures!
Elsewhere in the garden, the plants are starting to come back to life. There are snowdrops everywhere – I really don’t think I’ve ever seen so many of them in the garden, but I think I say that every year. They are so lovely with their delicate white flowers … I could probably do without them growing through the patio or in the middle of the grass but they’re not here for long so I am going to enjoy them while they are.
The Hellebores are out too. I do like Hellebores very much and have quite a few different varieties – and a few that have cross-pollinated so I have a range of colours from white to deep purple – and these green ones on the Helleborus arguifolius or Corsican Hellebore. I photograph these strange green flowers every year; I never get tired of seeing them!
Also in flower at this time of year is the Vibernum bodnatense “Dawn”. I cut this back quite hard a couple of years ago and the flower heads have been much bigger ever since so it is obviously appreciating the space!
I had a good look around the garden for the first time in a few weeks, seeing what treasure I could spot amongst the brown and emerging green.
These Skimmia (Skimmia japonica) flowers are just that, tiny jewelled beads amongst the green leaves!
These plants are a staple of Christmas planters because there’s not a great deal of flowery choice over the Winter; this bush probably started off as a tiny plant in a pot arrangement but it’s very happy being full size in the garden now – and I am very happy to see it in the Winter too!
It’s nearly time to cut back the papery flower heads of the Hydrangea – usually I do this before the Winter but this year I decided to leave them and they do look lovely. There are differing schools of thought over whether cutting them early affects the blooms for the following year, but I haven’t noticed that it makes much difference to this plant. It seems to do whatever it likes and chooses to be whatever colour it wants to be each year too!
Just before I headed back into the house, I spotted these new leaves appearing on the Clematis plant. From the house, it looks as if nothing is happening and going through my gardening to-do list in my head, a big chop was planned for this plant – but look! New leaves and new life already. We are not always required to give helping hands to plants as they know exactly what they are doing themselves!
With a last look around before I went back indoors, I looked up and saw this birds nest. I hoped it would be safe when the storm came – although it’s quite possible that it’s uninhabited at the moment. Still, I don’t like to think of anything being blown away!
Back inside, all was still calm although the light was definitely changing and something was definitely on the way.
I made myself a brew and sat with my indoor flowers for a while. My husband bought me this rose plant for Valentine’s Day – we don’t usually buy each other gifts these days but he said that it caught his eye and he wanted to bring me some flowers that would last a bit longer than cut ones. They’re lovely, and I’m very glad that he did! It will be quite a while till there are roses in the garden again so I will keep these ones going for as long as I can.
We’re still in that transition time between Winter and Spring – you think that it might be more Spring than Winter and then the weather reminds you that it’s not at all. The first drops of rain had started to rattle on the windows as I took this photo of my new Emergency Sock. Considering that I only pick it up when I’m waiting in the car, it surprises me how quickly it grows and this is how much I’ve done already. By the time my brew was finished, the wind had risen to an incredible speed, whistling around the house and hurling rain and hailstones against the windows. It makes me very grateful that I have a house to be safe inside.
In case you missed last week’s post and you’re wondering what the yarn is, it’s Winter Icicle from my Winwick Mum collection with West Yorkshire Spinners. There hasn’t been much progress on it this week as not so small daughter has been on half term holiday – and I’ve realised even as I’m writing this that there hasn’t been much to share about the holiday either. In previous years, there would be some event in the week that would merit a blog post of its own but this year, not so small daughter has been reading … and reading … and reading … and that’s pretty much it. She’s got mock exams coming up in a week or so and whilst there perhaps should have been a bit more revision going on, holidays are for resting and reading for pleasure is a far better way to rest your brain than watching Netflix, I think. There’s time for (yet more) room clearing or whatever we tended to do in half term holidays another day.
Whilst I’m talking about socks and before I forget, thank you for all your comments last week and your thoughts about whether I should fix the mistake in the green sock. It appears that you know me better than I know myself and you are absolutely right – I can try to talk myself into leaving it as much as I like but we both know that’s never going to happen. Susan suggested that I show you the process of dropping the stitches to repair the mistake and I must say that it’s something that I do so often that I hadn’t thought of doing that, but I will certainly see if I can photograph the process as I go along. Of course, if it all goes horribly wrong then I’ll just pretend I ripped it all out to re-knit it from that point
Thank you also for your comments on my post about our cat, Mike. I tucked the posts in about him and Toffee so that I would remember them in my own timeline but you still found them – thank you. We’re so sad that he left us so soon after Toffee and even the dog is missing him (he insisted on going outside in middle of the night for no reason a few times when he was first on his own – we think he was looking for the cats), and we’ve also realised that our home isn’t complete without cats so we’re hoping to have a new pair of kittens come to live with us this year. Yes, I know there are lots of older cats who need a home but although our dog loved his own cats, he isn’t good with others so we won’t put either of them through that. I’ll keep you posted if we have new arrivals.
Finally, before I leave you – going to try to upload this whilst I can! – I can’t remember if I showed you my finished Variance Hat. (The light was definitely going at this point, I needed candles! )
It’s still not blocked because I am going to use a balloon to get the shape to dry my hat on, and I can’t blow balloons up. Never have been able to. I can get them to the very first bit when you puff the air into them but then after that, it feels like my head is going to explode but no matter how hard I blow, no more air goes into the balloon. Clearly it’s a design fault with me because the rest of my family can manage it – I just need to remember to ask them to do it before they all go out!
Anyway, at least the hat is finished now and even if it’s only ready to wear next Winter, it’s done … although I suspect that we’ve not seen the end of this year’s Winter yet!