Are you experiencing surprisingly warm weather, like I am? The geraniums are not producing many new blooms, but are still decorating the base of the wall of the Sun Room extension. Six trays have already been brought inside to brighten the bay windows throughout the winter as they will continue to flower for months without frost to destroy them.
Tulip bulbs that Deborah and I gathered out of pots months ago, once the leaves had fully wilted, are now shooting again, so John has planted some in a bed on the edge of the decking to replace the tired-looking tobacco plants. And I guess it can only be weeks before we spot the first snowdrops that are so welcome as a promise of the spring to come.
The lawn looks totally wrecked by four-plus patches of mole hills. I now wish I hadn't been so tolerant of them in March! But the patch where crocus corms were planted with wire netting above them under the turf have remained smooth, so I will concentrate my eyes on what should be a lovely sight in February.
Even the track looks a bit wrecked again as recent rain has highlighted the low patches after our weeks of throwing many tons of limestone into the dips created by the tractors and lorries, but I'm not giving up.
Reg has just completed the restoration of the raised beds by the drain-side. The wooden sides lined with slabs of polystyrene had lasted ten years, and I'm now looking forward to planting up an extra bed of strawberries and lots of the seeds that I have saved from hollyhocks, foxgloves and evening primrose plants. My aim this year has been to tackle the three years of weedy beds gradually, but steadily, working away from the cottage. I'm not sure that we will complete the task, but there is a noticeable improvement and we have four splendid compost heaps that Deborah tends to regularly. She seems fascinated by the way the contents shrink, particularly when we've had a couple of sunny days, and I share her joy as we watch Nature's recycling process in action.
A kingfisher has been seen on the edge of the beck twice more, but always without its vibrant colours as the camera has been operating in its infra red mode only, which plays back in a range of greys. The tawny owl sat by the water feature for half-an-hour just after dusk a few days ago without catching a mouse, and he has been heard calling from the balcony rail by guests in the Balcony bedroom. But the stunning colours of the tits and the great spotted woodpeckers still delight us on channel 09, where the camera is focussed on the squirrel-proof peanut feeder.
Please come and join us soon, and share in the tranquility of this special place. Barbara