Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Entering Hibernation

It's been wet and cold and horrid here and I have officially entered hibernation.
It's been far too wet to do anything on our soggy clay, so weekends have been spent having leisurely lie-ins, flicking through the paper over brunch and seeing friends and family.
Aside from my morning dog-walk, I haven't spent much time outside at all.

I noticed this morning that most of the leaves were finished off by the storm at the weekend.

The brambles persist, though.

The trees are back to their skeletal state again.

Everything around is decay and death.

That's absolutely fine with me though. This is the time for rest, recovery, 'downtime', for cosy nights at the pub next to the wood burner, for not doing much and not feeling guilty about it.

It is so beautiful to have this cycle of life each year, and the zingy, fresh joy of spring and summer wouldn't be as precious without this chance to stop, pause and recuperate from a busy year. That verdant green colour, bright sunshine, smells and abundance of the summer feels a million years ago.
To think that the days are still getting darker and darker until midwinter, still a month away!

One thing I have been enjoying as I snuggle up in the evenings, is binge-watching a Danish drama called 'The Legacy' (or 'Arvingerne' in Danish). It is the story of a family who are ripped apart by the death of the matriarch and the division of her estate. More enjoyable than it sounds! I highly recommend it if you missed it when it was on BBC4 a few years ago.

This is just the most recent symptom of my general and inexplicable love for all things Danish,including learning the language (another thing to do during long dark nights).

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


The chickens continue to lay here, although we are down from 5 eggs a day to an average of about 3 from our five hens.

We use movable electric netting and try to rotate it around the garden so that they always have fresh grass. Although with more and more grass being turned over to growing space, we may have to find a more permeant solution, perhaps one involving woodchip.

Meanwhile, now that the ground is wetter they are finding it hard to scratch up a dust bath area, so I have helped them out by adding bucketfuls of sharp sand to their run. Dust bathing not only keeps them happy, but allows them to clean their feathers and keep parasites down.

I also add a dash of 'Smite' (Diatomaceous earth) to the sand and to their nesting area to help with this - a totally organic natural pesticide. So far, we haven't had a mite outbreak so it seems to be doing the trick.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

First Frost

Last night saw the first frost here in Wiltshire. Unfortunately this spelled the end for my flat leaf parsley and remaining chives, which didn't make it to the greenhouse in time.

However I can live with this because this morning on my early dog walk,  the landscape was transformed into a glistening, sparkling scene straight from a Christmas card.

It isn't pleasant getting up in the cold, but once I was wrapped up warm and walking briskly I really enjoyed being out in the fresh, crisp air.

Hopefully a sign that a 'proper' winter is on the way

and hopefully enough of a chill to kill off some overwintering pests.

I vowed that in time for next winter, I will create plenty of overwintering spots for beneficial predators in my garden and I will leave plenty of old seed heads as sources of food for the tough little birds that see the winter through.

In the same way that nature does automatically.