Raindrops on Windows (and Whiskers on Kittens)

It’s been a long gloomy week here, with torrential downpours. The lanes are riddled with new craters, which lurk beneath deep pools and streams of dark water running off the fields, ready to swallow unsuspecting car tyres.

The start of this weekend brought a welcome (though brief) respite from this rain, and we found time to get on with the usual tasks out in the garden unhindered. On Saturday, while King of the Hill wielded his chainsaw and splitting maul on the large branches that we recently felled, cutting them into manageable logs to stack and dry out for burning next season, I worked alongside him cutting up the dry logs into sticks with the kindling axe.

An old tree stump makes a good chopping block for the kindling. There were a few loud exclamations as bits of wood unexpectedly splintered off on the fall of one of our axes from time to time, but otherwise it was a peaceful way to spend an hour together. The day seemed a lot brighter working outside beneath the open skies than in the house, where the light levels are too low not to have lights blazing day and night.

This morning saw us both back in the garden; I was armed with loppers and a saw, chopping the twiggier ends of branches into a wheelbarrow full of kindling sticks, while King of the Hill was down in the greenhouse reassembling the potting bench ready to accommodate all the trays of seedlings soon to be sown.

Like many in the online gardening community, I have been less than motivated for the first couple of weeks of the year. The return to work seems long and slow, daylight is fleeting and the weekends and evenings vanish leaving a trail of intentions along the wayside. Working outside instantly alleviates any such reluctance, the sense of pleasure is palpable even as the wind whistles past and brings the scent of rain.

The garlic is sprouting in its pots alongside the greenhouse, fresh green shoots pointing hopefully up to the sky. In the shed, I found some daffodil bulbs hastily rescued from destruction late last spring and flung into an empty pot are also shooting, despite no growing medium. Must find a corner of the garden or large pot of compost to slip those into as soon as we can!

We are still harvesting leeks and small but mostly perfectly formed cabbages from the remains of last year’s plot. The picture above was taken last weekend, in a brief but welcome burst of sunshine, which has proved more elusive this weekend.

Birds wheeled overhead as we worked, and at the utility room window two black and white faces were pressed keenly to the glass, looking with interest at the world they have yet to explore. I’m really looking forward to introducing Willow and Xander to their new garden, once their vaccinations are complete in a few weeks’ time.

In the meantime, they are mostly happy racing about on the slate floors, crashing into cupboards and table legs with abandon as they find they cannot stop, inducing frequent peals of laughter from us at their antics.

We came back inside when the rain became too heavy to continue working, leaving more tasks still to do when the weather allows, but with an eye on the raindrops sliding down the glass, ever hopeful that they will subside as each chance to slip out into the garden is precious during these dark days.

Xander and Willow have wisely opted to slumber beneath their favourite fleece blanket, while we turn our attention to yet more unpacking, organising and paperwork that seems to mount up silently through the week; electric lights and fire blazing inside while outside the light slowly leaches from the sky and afternoon races towards nightfall – and we are another step closer to spring.


14 thoughts on “Raindrops on Windows (and Whiskers on Kittens)

  1. Sometimes when I’m indoors all day (especially in Winter, when I’m perpetually surrounded by harsh artificial lighting) I wish I was a farm worker or something similar – out in the fresh air all the time. But then, after an hour or so in the garden (as you hasten into the warm for another cup of coffee) you realise what hard work that must be. When I was a teenager I once worked for a while on a Market Garden, harvesting veg. That was VERY character-building!

    • It’s true – another example of always wanting what we don’t have! It’s just such a contrast to summer where there is always time to spend in the garden, despite working long hours indoors. In winter we drive off in the dark, and drive home in the dark, and some days I could believe that the sun hadn’t even risen! I do sympathise for those who have no choice but to work out in all weathers non-stop though. Character building indeed!

  2. now I no longer have all the open fires and the rayburn died I am not turning prunings into kiddling but I remember it well, I really love your kittens………….well I just love cats, all cats, your leeks look good must be nice to get them from the garden instead of supermarket,
    Frances from wet Scotland

    • Hi Frances! Cats are amazing animals aren’t they? I’m still thrilled that we finally have two of our own and somewhere suitable for them to roam. They really lift your heart, day or night! We’re really enjoying the leeks too, lovely to have a taste of bright freshness at this time of year. Hope that wet Scotland is treating you well, love your pictures… x

  3. Wonderfully evocative Sara. I do love the way an hour or two outside can boost your spirits at this time of year. We had a dry but windy morning this morning and I had a lovely time pottering about cutting back the dead perennials, thrilled to find lots of signs of bulbs pushing through and fresh growth appearing. I think I could do with a small axe to turn the remaining birch branches into my allotment log pile! Typically it started raining before I could get the shredder out without risking electrocution…

    Your kittens are lovely – have a good week!

    • Thanks Janet. It does make such a difference getting outside doesn’t it? A garden is even more precious at this time of year for that, even when it’s looking rather ragged all over! The little axe is magic for the medium sized bits of work – I can’t lift the maul that my husband uses on the big ones, and I saw or “lop” through the smallest ones. Shame that the rain came this afternoon – we’re hoping to haul the shredder out of the shed for the twiggy branches soon too… Have a great week yourself x

  4. Weather has been horrid here this weekend as well. My plants seem to have suffered more than in the snow. My Phormium looks like its given up completely.

    Pleased to say that my garlic is sprouting as well and I sowed some sweet pea seeds in the greenhouse today just to make me feel more positive

    • I hope that the plants prove robust and make a good recovery! Shooting garlic is a wonderful sight. I’m impressed at you planting your sweet peas today too, I intended to, along with sowing my chillis to get a good start, but time has once again vanished! Next weekend, then! x

  5. I hope the weather clears eventually for you. It’s been hit and miss here and the odd dry day means I’ve made some progress at last!

  6. like you, i’m out there with every break in the weather .. today i spent time, with frank, out raking, sweeping and sanding our wet stone pathway .. and before we knew it we were raking and cleaning up the front .. sweet moments ..

  7. Hello Sara, Reading your posts is like an episode of the Good Life. As a marooned townie I enjoy stopping by to see what the Hillwards are up to. The weather gave me a break yesterday to clear up more leaves – another 7 bags in the moulding.
    Bet you appreciate the warm log fires as much as your kitties.


    • Heh, thanks Laura 🙂 We all certainly appreciate the log fires; we try to eke out our oil supplies by using the central heating as little as possible, especially important with today’s massively inflated oil prices. The success of the wood is twofold – it warms us up working it and moving it about, and again when we burn it!

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