Sunday, 26 April 2009

The first cuckoo

I heard it this morning when I was hanging out my washing - the first cuckoo of the summer. I had a little 'run' around my patio because if you don't run when you hear the first cuckoo, you'll be lazy for the rest of the season! I don't want that to happen, I'd never get anything done.

I don't have a photo of a cuckoo, I'm not sure I've ever seen one, so the photo is Cuckoo-pint which is just appearing in the hedgerows now.  Its also called Lords and Ladies depending what part of the country you are from.

Enjoy the lovely summery weather.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009



fresh after the browns and greys of winter,


the colour associated with healing,


yet energising,
full of energy,
stored sunlight.

Leaves, green with chlorophyll, trapping and storing the sun's energy and giving us a living planet.

We must protect and cherish our wonderful green world.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Almost bluebell time

The bluebells aren't fully out in flower yet, another few days to get the full effect but already magical and well worth a walk and some photos.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A day in my life

Tuesday 14th April

This month the 14th falls on the first day after the four day holiday weekend so it was back to work for my husband and eldest son, only two of us on school holidays these days.

I was up to drive my son to work for 7am and then back for one of my favourite parts of the day, a few minutes of coffee and computer time. 

Our computer and the internet cable for the laptop are in what used to be our spare room.  Several years ago we decided that as we rarely have anyone to stay, having a dedicated spare room was not a good use of space.  We replaced the bed with a sofa bed and brought in a folding table and chairs.  Its now a busy well used room as we queue for our turns for the internet!  We have only one room downstairs so it good to have somewhere to sit away from the television. 

It faces east so is bright and sunny in the morning. The windowsill is full of geranium cuttings which I took at the end of last summer and will plant out in the garden at the end of May once we are past the chance of frost.

Once the washing machine had finished I went out into the garden to hang the washing out.  I got a bit distracted taking photos of the daises in the lawn.

Next it was a trip out with my youngest son who wanted to buy some clothes.  Back home for a sandwich lunch.  The mixed salad leaves I planted are just about big enough to start harvesting.

I am enjoying being able to grow a few salads in the garden again now that the chickens are restricted to half of the garden. 

After lunch I started to make some bolognese sauce ready to make lasagne for dinner.  I like to give it a long simmering time on a very low heat.  To make the meat go further I add red lentils and the long slow cooking means that they disintegrate and are not noticeable!

I picked my son up from work at 3pm and after bringing him home I turned round and went back out, this time to the allotment. It was weeding and watering today, everything is starting to grow now. 

I love these wild pansies which self seed all over my plot.  I make sure that I weed round them and today there were loads in flower.  There are plots on our allotments that do not have a single weed, I'm not sure what those plot-holders think about the plants I allow to flower on mine, wild pansies and forget-me-nots at the moment soon to be followed by foxgloves, californian poppies and aquilegia. Its good for encouraging insects as well as looking prettier.

Back home to take the washing in, make dinner, eat dinner, clear up and shut the chickens up for the night.  Now the boys are downstairs watching CSI and my husband and I are upstairs using the computers.  Definitely a good idea making the second bedroom into a family room.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

A railway walk

This sign post is near the start of one of my favourite walks and we smile when we see it because there has not been a station at Burghclere for almost 50 years but the sign post still points the way.

The Beeching report in March 1963 led to many rural railway lines being closed but some including this one were closed before the report was commissioned. Burghclere station closed in 1960.

In many places the old railways have been built over and there is no trace of them but in other places they are virtually untouched apart from the removal of the tracks.  

We walked along here today.  It is an odd place to walk because it still looks very much like a railway line.

Here you can see the old station platforms.

Back in the 1950s and 60s many lines were little used as car travel took over from trains and freight was taken by road rather than rail. Now looking back when we are all encouraged to use public transport, it seems very short sighted to lose so many miles of railway.

We had a very pleasant and peaceful walk through the countryside but it did seem sad to think of all the work and effort put into the railway structures, many of them still standing but now unused.

Friday, 10 April 2009

A good rainy day

We've had a couple of weeks of lovely dry sunny spring weather.  I have been busy in the garden and at the allotment tidying up and sowing the first seeds.  The warm bright weather has tempted me out for a couple of walks.  In my eagerness to spend so much time outside, the house has been neglected.  The basic stuff has been done, cooking, washing and a quick tidy up but all rather rushed so I can spend time outside.  

A few days ago I began wishing for a rainy day both to do the garden good and also to make me stay inside and catch up on the housework.  My wish came true yesterday and today - perfect rainy days.  Nice gentle rain to water small seedlings without flattening them into the earth, rain to dampen and to darken the colour of the bare earth and make the fresh green of the new leaves appear even more vibrant and rain to make me want to stay inside and do some housework.

Without the distraction of the sunshine, I have accomplished much more inside.  I've caught up with paperwork, I'm working my way down the mending pile and I've even started some spring cleaning, clearing everything out of the kitchen cupboards and giving it all a thorough clean.

I'm feeling very pleased with my efforts but two days seems long enough to work inside so I'd now like the rain to stop and the sun to shine so that I can go back outside, please!!

Have a Happy Easter, lets hope the sun shines.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Early morning at my allotment

At this time of year, my favourite time of day to go to the allotment is the early morning.  The dew is still on the grass and everything looks really fresh in the slanting sunlight.

Although many of the seeds I've sown this year are still at the small two leaf stage, the permanent plants are growing well in the warmth and sunshine.

Although the flowers of the fruit bushes and plants are not as showy as "garden flowers",  close up they are very beautiful and delicate (click to enlarge).



Alpine strawberry

I have been forking over the soil and adding some compost from the compost bin, all the while being closely watched by this very tame robin.

He seemed to find plenty to eat and flew off with his beak full of wriggly snacks.

I took home something for us to eat too.  I am harvesting the last of the parsnips and leeks, the lambs lettuce is doing well and although I don't have much yet, I picked just a few stalks of the first rhubarb of the season.

We have been eating some bottled rhubarb during the winter but the first taste of the fresh spring rhubarb is always the best!

Friday, 3 April 2009

weird daffodil!

While tidying up the garden this week, I came across this daffodil.  Its not very clear from the photo, you might need to click on it to see, but its growing through a hollow stalk! It is a flower stalk from a Rusty Foxglove which must have been growing directly over the bulb.  The leaves and flower bud grew straight up through the stalk and then flowered as normal.

Weird.  What are the chances of that happening?