I have successfully coughed and sneezed my way through most of December and January. Fortunately I have not been particularly ill, just grumpy enough to make the Head Gardener’s life miserable. As a penance I have been trudging around the croft feeding the livestock, digging vegetables and emptying the kitchen compost bin, bundled up in enough layers so that I resembled either Captain Birdseye or peasant from a Bruegel winter landscape.
Our winter weather has been typically Hebridean, although the winds have been , in local parlance “blustery” i.e. not more than a severe gale, the rain has been more drookit than dreich. However, the snow was a surprise – sub-zero temperatures and a covering of the white stuff is unusual on the coast. Walking on a frozen beach with the frost particles glittering in the sun was magical. Sadly, it didn’t last long, as the snow showers turned to sleet and hail, and eventually rain.
Slowly the days are lengthening, and although the weather on St Bride’s Day and Candlemas predicted that the worse of the winter weather is over, I’m not convinced that Spring is hovering just over the horizon.
If Candlemas Day be dry and fair, Half the winter’s to come and mair. If Candlemas Day be wet and foul, Half o’ winter’s gane at Yule.
However, the first parcel of seeds for the new gardening year has just arrived, and the potatoes that were set of chit in the porch last week are showing signs of life. So I’m thinking about dusting off the propagator as it’s time to start showing the tomato and pepper seeds. I’m also working on the plan for the vegetable beds, polytunnel and greenhouse. As usual I have been extravagant and profligate with the seed purchases and it maybe a bit of a squeeze to get everything in. This is not just because I was tempted by some new and exotic varieties, but because we have decided to buy another freezer and I will have to grow sufficient to fill it! Although perhaps ordering both autumn and spring planting garlic varieties was a bit rash?
Always the unreliable optimistic, all I need is some sunshine.