I don't know about you, but I find February one of the more confusing months. I find it a slow month, a grey month, a hard~to~get~going again month. I suffer from mild SAD and February is often my worst month for this and I do my best to overcome the trials of the dark days. Winter is half way through, and it's teeth grip ferociously across the much of northern hemisphere; many of us shiver while the days start to lengthen and we look forward to the returning light and some warmth. Yet, while I long for longer, lighter and brighter, warmer days ahead, I dread the very thought of the scorching heat of Summer, and part of me clings madly to the cold days of now. I wish we had snow. Snow would make Winter perfect. We seldom have snow here in the west. I am reading all your lovely journals sharing your snow adventures and photographs, while I sit here with temperatures outside my window at a balmy 36F average! I know many of you have had more than enough snow, with blizzards and thundersnow, and more, but I long for snow, my heart yearns for snow, but not a flake has fallen from the sky. Instead, we have had sleesh ~ this is my new word for that horrible wet not~quite~hail and not~quite~sleet stuff that falls and leaves the ground a sloshy sloppy slippy mess. We have had wind, seventy mile an hour winds, and it brought down my television aerial! Thankfully, that was all and no damage was done, and it is fixed again.
Thinking ahead to those lighter and brighter days, Spring Cleaning continues in the cottage albeit slowly! I find it just a tad too chilly to go and dig the claggy wet soil in the garden at the moment so I am making the most of days spent inside before the garden really starts to call, to clear the cupboards and drawers of things no longer needed. Many bags have gone to the thrift store, mostly to the Red Cross as they collect everything in one go from the cottage saving me a lot of trips.
The wicked winds have mostly dropped and the skies, by day, are mostly clear and blue with promises of Spring around the corner. We did wake up to a light frost the other morning, so I was able to nip out and take a few quick photographs ~~~
This tiny leaf was about the size of a 10p piece, maybe just a little smaller ~~~ so pretty with it's crystal edging of ice ~~~
This is a frost covered mullein plant ~~~ the fuzzy wuzzy hairy leaves look so different now ~~~
I love the light dusting on this leaf, it looks like a delicate mosaic ~~~
Even the lid of the compost bin took on some extra dimension! ~~~
I love walking out in the countryside, especially at this time of year when the leaves are gone and all we see are the skeletal structures of the trees in winter ~~~ here are a couple of my favourites ~~~
The trunk of this one is covered with ivy! ~~~
Moss covered stones bring colour and scatter the ivy covered floor ~~~
I love the different textures when you look closely at the fuzzy moss and the shiny smooth penny wort leaves ~~~
The first early snowdrops of winter ~~~
Clear, cloudless days give way to clear, cloudless twilight evenings and stars twinkle brightly in the darkening blue sky ~~~ this is Venus in the south western evening sky, the brightest star at the moment ~~~
I had to put down lots of string, tied across the frames to keep marauding cats and pigeons away! ~~~
I also planted garlic, and it is such a thrill to see the first sight of buds pushing their flavoursome shoots through the soil ~~~
They have even kept growing in the cold ~~~
February has seen me starting to eat more responsibly and sensibly than I have done in recent years. I do not diet. Diet is what we eat, not something we do. Here is a typical evening plate of delicious food ~ oven roasted parsnips, carrots, butternut squash, and onions with some spicy baked tofu cubes served on a bed of blanched kale. Kale is one of my most favourite vegetables. I am a vegetarian, but a recent health scare made me take a long look at what I eat and how I cook and prepare my food, so I have made some radical changes. The hardest part was getting through Christmas and January with all the Christmas gifts of chocolate and left overs to deal with! I have slowly introduced some changes, but this last week has seen me embrace the transition completely. I have taken on a 'one meal at a time' approach which works for me. I am really enjoying my food. I have already lost a few pounds and I have a lot more energy, which is a bonus as I find February is the month I seem to have the least energy of all the year.
Until next time, when I shall have more photographs of the progress of the onions and garlic, and hopefully be able to outline some of my plans for 2015, remember that ~~~
~~~A Gardener's Work is Never Done~~~