In November, we had a delivery of lovely seasoned firewood...
And for months, every evening has basically looked like this....
I have read some fabulous books (Paulo Cohelio's The Zahir, Lucinda Riley's The Girl On The Cliff being two of the best) and doing a bit of college work here and there (floristry), but mostly watching television, sleeping and generally hibernating. It has been bliss! I know most 'proper' gardeners have been flicking through seed catalogues and eagerly planning from their armchairs, but I find I need a total break where I can be a normal person for a few months, where my every waking moment doesn't involve doing mental gardening in my head and I don't have compost under my fingernails.
A high point of the winter was the lamb delivery. Our three lambs went off in November, and two weeks later, arrived ready for the freezer. It is really tasty meat and it is such a luxury to be able to get a roasting joint out almost every Sunday. Mmmm.
Another high point was the greenhouse surviving horrendous gale force winds, in the worst storm for years. This despite the fact we didn't cement the posts in like we should have done. Fingers crossed...
A low point was a fox attack. We lost our lovely drake one night, as the automatic door failed to work on the duck house - our fault for not checking it regularly enough. I heard a lot of quacking in the middle of the night and went to check what was going on - the fox scarpered but sadly had already bitten the drake, who died of shock. Needless to say we now check every night that they are tucked up in bed. We have been lucky that so far (touch wood!) this is the first fox problem we have had. The worry now is that he will be back for more, so we will have to be extra vigilent.
The only time I have ventured outside (other than to feed the animals) this winter has been to take the dog for walks in our local woods.
It's been months since I have touched the garden, which now looks like this:
The 'greenhouse of death' is a black, withered mess
The chooks have been moved out of their enclosure, which in the very heavy rain we have had recently, became a boggy mess.
Instead they have been free ranging in the veggie patch, stripping the rainbow chard down to nothing and the lower kale leaves - but I don't mind.
The pigpen is also a boggy mess on one side. The other side is better drained, and gets the sun, so they like to lie and catch whatever sunlight they can on bright days.
So it would all be a bit depressing - if it wasn't for the little hints that spring is on the way:
I can feel my sap starting to rise...