Thursday, 11 April 2013

Please Send Warm Weather Soon, Thank You.

And Now We Have Rain.

It seems such a very long time ago,
That winter hit us with everything it could throw,
Yet, here I am, sitting just so,
Looking out the window and still seeing snow!

A very bad poem, indeed! But it's true. Now, to add to the mix, the rain has begun to fall. I doubt very much if it will be enough to wash away the acres of snow we still have around this area, but it's a start. Take a look at the photo - that's me standing next to one of the drifts that still blocks a local lane. Time to light the stove, I think, as I can see my breath in here again!

The prolonged cold spell hasn't done anyone any favours, that's for sure. The garden has barely been touched this year, other than some basic tidying and clipping the straggling brambles that nothing seems to stop from growing. There are buds on many of the trees and fruit bushes, so they must sense something better coming our way soon.

Indoors can be much colder than outdoors when the sun shines during winter here, so there have been quite a few extra miles of walking and cycling done, carrying with me my trusty basket and taking the opportunity to fill it with firewood. I'm mostly taking advantage of all the fallen sticks that have dried to tinder and become perfect for lighting the stove.

Alternative energy that's helping to reduce our overall carbon emissions! Dry firewood, hand collected, brought home by bike.

You don't need to walk or cycle very far to find an abundance of free fuel lying by the roadsides. Around this area, there's not even the need to venture into the forests or woodlands, as there's so much lying by the roadsides that can be salvaged. Most of these crushed, fallen branches are now so dry that they ignite instantly and are soon burning hot enough to boil the kettle within minutes - a warning, indeed, to landowners, farmers and gamekeepers of the dangers of wildfires spreading during moor burnings! We have collected quite a few bags filled with already charred gorse wood and this seems to burn with frightening ferocity!

Free heat is never something to be scoffed at, especially when we consider the cost of electricity, and is always welcome during the cold months here in Frugaldom. Some also say it's carbon neutral, so a bit of a benefit to be had in that department, too - no fossil fuels used in cars to collect or move these sticks, as we're walking and cycling nowadays. It also gives us far more opportunities to take the time to photogrph the wildlife that lives all around us.

Having to adapt to not having a car has been quite a smooth transition, I have to admit. It certainly
makes you think more about how far you are going and how heavy the load will be that needs carrying home. I have now switched to a wicker basket on the back of the bike for collecting sticks, as it's far easier to just lift that off and sit it by the stove.

In the greenhouse, which is unheated barring any sunshine, the wormery has been safely under cover and its occupants are thriving. Last week, while feeding the wrigglers, we spotted several babies wiggling about the place, so it may well be tme to start tapping off that lovely 'worm juice' soon and preparing the raised beds for this year's veg-growing. Just send us a little more sunshine and a lot less frost to arm the ground enough to sow something soon.

On the 'working from home' side of things, the new googly eyes have arrived to complete the next batch of McGonks and we have just published the first ebook of the year:

"What if the Famous had Allotments? A quirky guide to vegetable gardeners of fame and fantasy." It was written by 'Northsider Dave', whose blog you may already read. The new ebook should, hopefully, be available to download to your Kindle by this evening. I'll post the link here as soon as it becomes available.

Good luck with the new book, Dave! :)


  1. After brief glimpses of the sun the other day she seems to have gone away again now, it's amazing how much snow you still have left :-(

    I've not even starting to plant in my draughty old greenhouse yet, each night the temperature is dipping below freezing. We have our fingers crossed for warmer weather soon.

    We too are benefitting from lots of lovely dry kindling that has been plummeting down from the trees in our far paddock, slightly worrying when you are walking the dogs directly underneath them. I nip back every few days with the wheelbarrow and have a picking up session.

    Other news - we might, just might have found a fixy up all of our own, we are going for a pre-auction outside visit this Saturday to see if it's worth getting our solicitors involved ready, to be followed by another visit next weekend (when we will be able to get into it) if the outside of it looks okay this week.

    Our fingers (and everything else) are firmly crossed.

    Sue xx

    1. Sue, that sounds brilliant! I rellay hope things go well for you and the place is everthing you hope for - it may take twice as long and twice as much as we always imagine, but it's still fun! :)

  2. have you thought about looking at freecycle to see if anyone is giving a bike trailer away. there was one recently offered at my work. one of the other girls took it, she took the childs seat out and put in a ply wood bottom. She now uses it to go shopping. I thought that was really clever. I wish I had thought of that

    1. Hi Sol, nobody in my immediate area seems to be on Freecycle or Freegle and we're in a fairly rural area that's spread out over many miles, so few opportunities like that here - I do watch the updates, though. In saying that, I have been offered a bike trailer for £35, but that's almost the price of a load of logs, so I've not even considered it as an option. (Not yet, anyway.) :)

  3. They are called Burley here in the States, very light and fits on the back of the bike although I dont know if you could use it up hills loaded with shopping, maybe better to get the bus and a basket on wheels for a big shop.
    The Spring is a long time coming here in the mid-west - this is definitely climate change as it is tied to the warming poles and the jet -stream. Hope you get some decent weather up there soon.
    It is amazing to think of the things we could without if we tried !

  4. Thanks Susan, for helping with the editing and launch of my new E Book: 'What if the Famous had Allotments?' If any of you writers need help with editing or launching a book, get in touch with NYK Media! Thanks again Susan, Des (Foreword comment) and Harvey for the illustration (front cover).

  5. Glad you are keeping warm and in a carbon neutral way too -bonus! Manchester is begining to warm up a bit at last, though I have my fingers crossed. I am spending most of my time housebound due to Hubbys deteriorating health but I have my garden to keep me going and of course my crafts. I guess its similair to being in the middle of nowhere like you, I have to be very organised and stocked up. Took delivery of 4 apple tree's today, my last major investment in the garden and they are beautiful. Look forward to seeing the next batch of Mcgonks, doubt they will be on the shelf long as they are fab xx Ginny


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