Still Winter (478)

by Max Akroyd

Late into last night a neighbour’s dog was loose in our garden: barking, howling and dragging his broken chain noisily behind him. Eventually he took his eerie, lonely presence off into the valley. However that other wild, unrestrained and unwelcome visitor, winter, is still here. 

This is the time of year when you have to keep a close eye on the forecast and, perhaps more importantly, go with your gut feeling about what the weather might do. The gardener ends up in a strange, tiring dance with frost – adapting working patterns to frozen ground, moving seedlings in and moving seedlings out… Inconveniently the growing season has a different partner, day-length, and an accelerating tempo which is bound to trip up anyone who believes this cold spell puts things on hold.

Sometimes it’s good to have the animals’ needs to distract from this intractable  season. The ground may be frozen solid – again – but I’ve got the cleaning out of their houses to complete and if that’s one thing, it’s definitely warm work!

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Catkins against a wintry sky

Having finally completed cleaning of the piglet barn and the goat house, I confess it was tempting to give up on the rest of today as a bad job. The weather was a bad bone-achingly cold, turning the day into a zombie-like experience. You could almost taste the impending snow, so I sheltered in the greenhouse and sowed as many potentially bright, warm things as I could find.