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.