Sunday, 28 March 2010

Summer time

Its all been a bit busy here but with the end of term things should calm down a little now. The clocks moved forward last night, the start of British Summer Time and now we have longer lighter evenings to enjoy. Darker mornings of course but it won't be long until the sun is shining when we get up just after six.

These pictures are from my walk first thing this morning, the dew still on the grass,

buds on the trees opening

and although we don't have blossom here yet, looking at this hawthorn, it won't be long now.

A good start to summer time.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Frogspawn and violets

We finally have frogspawn in our little pond. Looking back over previous years, I have posted about the appearance of frogspawn at the end of February. If this is a measure of spring, then it is about three weeks later than usual.

The spring flowers are appearing though and I was pleased that on this first day of Spring, violets are flowering in the hedgerows.

They are such delicate flowers with a lovely scent. When I saw these today I began to believe that winter is over at last.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Catching up

Its been busy here, extra days at work over the last few weeks, university open days on three successive Saturdays, a trip to the West Country for Mother's Day, visiting eldest son at university, there has been so much to fit in.

Although I like to be busy and have plenty to do I also like to have time to myself to recharge my batteries. This weekend I am happy to have nothing at all planned. Some gentle pottering in the house and garden will be just perfect.

I took these photographs after work today.  It feels as if spring is just beginning. The birds are singing earlier and earlier in the morning as the days lengthen and I can feel my energy increasing with the change in season. Everything is later this year, no frogspawn yet in our little pond, but in the last few days it does feel as if spring is finally here. I plan to slow down and enjoy it.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Starting planting

We finally seem to be getting a little spring weather. The days are sunny although the nights have still been frosty.
At the weekend I planted my shallots and onions, covering them with twigs to try to stop the birds "un-planting" them!

On my windowsill the potatoes are chitting nicely but I'm not putting these out quite yet. I'll keep them inside until the soil warms up a little - maybe next week.

We have had so many warm mild winters and early springs recently that it seems strange that I am only just beginning to start planting at the allotment. Some years I have sown leek seeds in February but even in a mild spring I seem to get better results if I am patient and don't start too early. This year I will have to be just that little bit more patient.

According to data collected by the National Trust, spring this year is between two and four weeks later than usual. This seems to be true around here. There are still lots of snowdrops in the banks by the road and by March they have usually finished. I noticed a few daffodils showing yellow in the village, again a few weeks later than usual. When spring is late all the spring flowers flower together over a shorter time period so it looks as if we could soon be in for a few weeks filled with flowers.

The spellcheck on my laptop doesn't like the word "chitting" and suggest chatting instead. It made me smile the thought of my potatoes sat in egg boxes on the windowsill chatting away to each other!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Sunshine and Snowdrops

Late afternoon sun shining through the snowdrops in my garden.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The hens and the garden

I noticed on my last walk that very slowly the countryside is starting to green. Not the hedges and trees yet but the fields and verges are looking brighter and fresher as leaves of celandine, cow parsley and cuckoo pint push their way up first through the soil and then through the brown covering of last years leaves. I was pleased to see the grass growing too and hope it will start growing again in my garden.

Last spring when my garden had been scratched to bits by our two hens, I divided it in two, half for the chickens and half for me!  This is how it looks now.

My part (which is actually rather less than half, I have been very generous to these birds) has recovered and is beginning to look like a garden again but the rest looks pretty awful. During the winter months the grass has been eaten far quicker than it can grow and there is very little left.  As the weather gets milder and the grass grows more I hope that the lawn will recover. I had no idea that just two hens could do this much damage.

I could keep them inside their run each day but that seems a shame. I've always bought free range eggs so now I have my own hens I don't want to keep them inside a run.  At the moment they are free to wander in their part of the garden during all the hours of daylight which seems much kinder and a more natural existence.

Here are the culprits, two healthy happy hens, Sage and Onion!  Hopefully in a few weeks time I'll be able to post pictures of the garden looking happier and healthier as well.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Calendar - March

This is my photograph for the month of March from my Shetland calendar. It was taken in Lerwick, the capital in Shetland.

The building is a Lodberrie. The name comes from Old Norse meaning 'loading rock'. Lodberries consisted of a house, store, small yard and private pier. Goods could be unloaded from boats directly on to the property. This arrangement made it easy for smuggling to take place and underground passages leading away from the lodberries allowed some of the goods to be taken away before the delivery was declared to the customs officers.

This month I shall remember wandering around the narrow streets in this part of Lerwick

and seeing these lovely old buildings jutting out into the bay.