Blast from the Past

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Mid-March, and the Beast from the East has returned, whipping up a last blast from Russia. A light dusting of snow has covered the ground, but those are white flower blossoms on the wild plum tree, not snowflakes. In summer the tree produces a great number of cherry-sized fruit, the colour of glowing cheeks. We lay bed sheets on the ground, shake the tree, and stand back to watch the mini-plums rain down. Basketfuls of these are then stoned, cooked in a cauldron with sugar and lemon juice and decanted into jars. The resulting supply of coral-hued jam normally lasts for the whole year. I fear that this year’s summer crop will be small if not entirely ruined. The daffodils have bowed their heads in suffering. This has been,, and continues to be, a long, hard winter. With temperatures below freezing for the rest of the day and snow falling until tonight, it’s hard to believe that spring starts in four days’ time.

 

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Fox Proofing

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

A B&B that has to feed up to eight people with full English breakfasts is going to need a lot of eggs. One solution is to get some hens to supply at least some of them. The hens were decimated by hungry foxes during the recent very cold months. One attack after the next left us with just a cockerel, a hen and three geese. Two of the geese have been rehomed because they really weren’t very pleasant characters. We kept Jemima the snow-white Sebastopol goose because she’s lovely and gentle. The cockerel survived the clutches of the foxes, but began to feel lonely with just one hen and Jemima for company. And the poor lone hen was getting rather exhausted by all the cockerel’s devoted physical attention. So Tracey went off to restock and we have a lovely collection of multi-hued birds (bottom pic). Today, with the help of Tracey’s father, we made an enclosure that we hope will be more fox-proof.

 

 

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Icicles in March

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

An unusual sight from a north-facing window. Common in the Alps maybe, but in Kent in March? These sprouted overnight.

Although Peonie the black cat likes to go out hunting in the snow,  Georgie prefers to keep himself warm.

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More snow

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

The last day of February began with an early morning temperature of -14 degrees Celsius, and winter showing no signs of giving way to spring just yet. But then the sun came out, and it was a pleasure to go for a walk and enjoy the local scenery.

The sun melted some of the snow, but the streams were still frozen.

And the quiet country lanes were totally silent.

There’s more snow forecast for Friday.

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Beast from the East

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

The house is ready (more or less) and the website googlable. The software for the bookings diary is working well, and the reservations are coming in thick and fast, like today’s snow. All I have to do now is refine my recipes, check my linen stocks and wait for the first guests to arrive. It is hard to imagine today that in a couple of months’ time the rhododendrons should start to flower, if the buds haven’t been frozen off in the meantime. The flower blooms on the daffodils were already opening two days ago, but are now covered in a thick white blanket. Temperatures this week are set to plunge several degrees below freezing, and more snow is forecast for the end of the week. Apparently the jet stream has reversed its normal direction of flow and is sending in weather from Siberia. Jemima the Sebastopol goose was feeling the cold this morning. And the pond has disappeared.

We haven’t had snow like this in these parts for several years. This was the village High Street yesterday, as captured by one of its residents.

And here are some views of the house and garden and the woodland beyond.

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