It has been an odd few months, weather-wise, to say the least…  Unlike last year, we’ve had very few days of sunshine and opportunities to get out into the garden have been few and far between since the beginning of January.

January, unsurprisingly brought rain, lots of rain!  And when it wasn’t raining, it seemed to be overcast and blowing a gale… Not much chance to get work done in the garden, although we noticed that it seemed to be a good year for the catkins – there were spectacular displays of hazel bursting with them all over the countryside….

February brought us snow, quite a lot of snow for our region, where it’s often missed, so it was fun to go out for a walk for the photo opportunity, first, an impromptu walk on my own in the pristine covering, then the next day with Edward and Colin….

   

   

  

   

Once the snow had melted, I took advantage of any fair days we were given to grub out the remaining blackberry thicket on the bank leading up from the kitchen garden…

One day Edward burnt all the rubbish that I had made clearing out the bramble thicket…

and together we cleared out more brambles, scrub and ivy that was choking up the woodland area near the meadow.  I’ve been reluctant to do much in this area, wanting to leave it a bit wild for animals and birds but having cleared some of the rubbish, I can see that it’s made it so much lighter and airy, so more choice plants could grow here, while still offering some cover for the wildlife…..

   

I managed a day of weeding and some planting on the lower bank – this area is still under development as it became too hot in the summer to work it and plant it up….

   

And then the sub-zero temperatures of -4, -8 and -10 degrees set in for about a week!

I was lucky enough to catch one of our local farmers muck spreading in the field up the track and I asked if he would let us have some of his manure – no sooner asked and he had delivered three loads, over the fence and just where we needed it in the vegetable garden!!  Not bad for exchange of some of my plum jam 🙂

   

March so far has been wet and much of the lower-lying ground is water logged and many rivers and streams around and about are swollen or have burst their banks…  Thankfully, we are on high ground and I don’t think we shall ever be worried about flooding, but it has still been difficult to get out into the garden to finish off the jobs that I’ve started….

Feeling desperate that so little, much needed, work around the place was being done, we decided to give the kitchen a bit of a face-lift.  All the doors and drawer fronts have come off the units along with the plate rack that Edward made, which was dismantled to help make painting easier….

  

Everything has been painted a pale cream to match the furniture that was painted last year.  The back wall has been given a fresh coat of paint and the wood surround on the cowl over the cooker has been painted white.  We’ve changed the room around too, which, together with the lighter kitchen area, seems to make this 30 square meter room feel even bigger!

   

   

Edward made some good progress in the back kitchen too.  It’s always had an unfinished air about it – when we first moved in, we made it usable with new cupboards but the sink was buckled and propped on plastered brick pillars!

During our first year here, we bought a new stone sink from an English couple, which we thought would be ideal for the main kitchen.  Sadly it didn’t fit but it now looks great in the back kitchen and we also have a new under-sink cupboard and a worktop, which helps to finish it off.  There is still some work to be done in here and I plan to paint the cupboard doors in here too, but it already feels so much better 🙂

   

So, yesterday was the Spring Equinox and we woke to a beautiful sunny day.  The daffodils are in full bloom in the courtyard island bed and under the lime tree and it seems that we might just be coming out the other side of a miserable winter.  It’s still cold, minus 3 yesterday and zero today, but sunshine always lifts the spirits!

Footnote

Of course, while we have been frustrated at the lack of progress around the house and garden, we haven’t been idle.  Our new work in the estate agency business is still developing.  We have been busy doing mandates, following leads and ‘prospecting’ for new properties to add to our portfolio and this, inevitably takes time.  However, we have had some early success in that a house that was recently mandated and marketed on a Friday, had an offer accepted on the Monday!!  It’s good news and a great start to what is, undoubtedly, a tricky business to be in.  Hopefully the hard work we have put into it so far will pay off and we’ll find our little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! 😉 ♥