Sunday, 16 March 2014

Spring almost springing

It's the time of year for hunkering down and getting through the last of the winter weather, all the time waiting for signs of new growth and lighter evenings.

January and February 2014 were one of the wettest on record, Aberdeenshire didn't suffer as much as some parts of the country but I think I can say that the start of drier weather in March has come as a welcome relief.  I got my last 100 square bales of hay delivered, just in time as I was down to my last half dozen.  The 'girls' (my new name for the horses are we have all mares now) have all settled into our mini herd well, Brooke, our new addition starting to really relax with the others and me now, in fact a new, wee cheeky side to her appearing which is lovely.

One of my friends drew a pencil sketch of Brooke for my birthday at the end of January and it captures her beautifully.  Thank you Mel, I adore this wee portrait of her :)

In the garden we are awaiting warm earth and the first of the narcissi and daffodils.  Broad beans and sweet peas grown from seed in our conservatory are now hardening off in the greenhouse, still protected by fleece at night.  The new seeds that are now gracing our windowsills inside are beetroot, we are trying 2 new varieties Golden Detroit and Detroit White, along with salad leaves.  (I have a lovely recipe for a beetroot tarte tatin, next time I make it I'll take some photos and post it on here.)

Although it feels as if spring is almost here, the trees are still bare and winter is still keeping a bit of a hold on us!

Paul and I headed off to Leith Hall a few weeks ago, I wanted to take some photos of the carpets of snowdrops they have there.  Unfortunately I hadn't checked the battery on my camera before we got there and I didn't manage to take any photos.  Never mind, the snowdrops in the garden are lovely too.

Some very exciting news for me is that our daughter has started blogging too, I feel I may be doing more reading of her blog and less posting of this one as she is an aspiring writer!  Have a look at her blog and see what you think, here is the link;

Can't wait for spring now, something very hopeful about this time of year and that makes an eternal optimist like me very happy!

Friday, 24 January 2014

January 2014, Happy New Year of the Horse and happy new pony!

Now I think it's probably too far into January to say Happy New Year, but it certainly still feels like a time of transition, of taking store and planning ahead.  The days are starting to stretch slightly but on a grey day in Aberdeenshire it can still feel as if they are too short, once we get to the end of the month I really notice the difference in daylight.
Our mild winter weather and no snow (so far!) has meant we have turned our thoughts to spring and our yearly tradition of ordering seeds is under well way.  Paul has cleared most of the well rotted muck heap and top dressed the rhododendrons and other shrubs in the front garden.
This year I am planning a cut flower bed inside our polytunnel, so far I've got freesias, anemones, gladioli and dahlias.  As this is a 'experiment' I'm just going to plant the flowers that I love and then see what our success rate is, fingers crossed I'll have beautiful bright vases of flowers for the whole summer.
2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse and my Chinese horoscope sign is the Horse, so I am feeling that this year will be full of love, joyfulness and galloping forwards.

I believe that people and animals come into my life for a reason and last week we had a new member of our equine family join us.  A series of coincidences led us to offer a home to the lovely Brooke, she had sadly lost her elderly equine companion before Christmas and my friend who is her hoof trimmer had taken her to her yard so that Brooke wouldn't be left alone and the family that owned her could start to find a new home for her.  We had lost our darling old horse Zac last year and I had always thought of rehoming or rescuing a pony to come and join Brea and Poppy our other horses.  We brought Brooke home on Saturday and after a few days of either ignoring each other or chasing each other, the 'girls' have now settled happily into their routine and my tiny 'herd' is complete.  Of course Brooke, won't ever replace Zac but she is filling our stables and my heart with her own personality.
Quite fitting that we have a new pony almost at the start of a new year of the Horse!  I hope to find the time to blog more this year, my only excuse for lack of posts last year was the fabulous weather and being outside too much to think about it :)