Sunday, 1 January 2012

And then it was 2012

So the start of a new year and a chance to reflect on the year that was and the year ahead and a definite sign of old age when you think "that was a really fast year!".

It may be the middle of winter however our special early flowering daff's never fail
After such a severe winter in 2010/11, so far we have hardly had a frost never mind the snow and freezing temperatures of last year. The mild weather has had some odd consequences with daffodils already in flower, hawthorn in early blossom and new leaves already showing. Tender plants from last summer are still growing (cannas, gingers and echiums all doing well) though I guess at some stage that we should get ready for some chill conditions.

Nigella and Ruby both managed to complete their moults though both of them looked truly dreadful for a while however both are looking lovely at the moment, shame then that egg production has dried up again. Harriet managed to finish her broodiness AND started laying again. All doing great then Tallulah decided it was her turn to go broody and as we know from experience, Harriet is never one to pass up the opportunity of sitting next to somebody in a nest box. So both silkies then decided to take up nest box residence! Serious broodiness was not on Harriet's mind however she stopped eggs and even though she only sat intermittently she then had another huge moult, white feathers all over the garden (looked as if a pillow had been murdered!).

"middle of winter, of course I'm going to moult" - as told by Ms Harriet

Talking of murder, and excuse repeating myself if I already have mention this but even in London we are not free from marauding herons. So a trip down the garden to let the chickens out one morning I noted that there were no goldfish to greet me when I walked past the pond. Okay the fish hardly leapt out of the water to shout hello but on seeing somebody walk past they generally swam up on the chance of food. This I fear could have been their demise as instead of hiding at the bottom of the pond on the arrival of the heron the poor goldfish actually swam to him for a cheeky fish pellet or two. Tragedy really as we lost 9 of our fish including the lovely Mr Swishy who was here when we moved in some 8 years ago. We now have a leaking pond so the liner needs replacing (thanks heron), and five very scared fish who live in the very bottom of the pond and we never get to see them!

Still, although I fear some form of winter will still materialise, the longest night has now passed and although we are slow to pick up on it Mother Nature is always a gear up on us so hopefully at least three chickens laying within the next few weeks. Already mistle thrushes are singing out and pairing up and the more correctly seasonal bulbs are pushing up through the winter earth ready to give us a wonderful show of flowers later this month and into the early spring.

I am not one to make resolutions however last year I vowed to not buy ANY bloody food magazines. Yes I love cooking but I also have a huge amount of cook books and in truth if I have ever cooked more than 10 recipes from any individual book than I think that it would be a wonder. Plus there is a huge resource on the internet anyway so I did it. One year, no food magazines purchased - same that I spent the same money on buying gardening and French living magazines instead. Well at least the thought was there. 2012 and my resolution is to get back into the allotment. Not for any reason other than time and circumstance has that poor plot been neglected in the past couple of years really though it has produced far more than we should have got. Needless to say I hope to have some good updates this year.

As you can see I think that we might have a lot of work on at the allotment.
Personally it has been a somewhat full on year and not all for the positive as the saying goes "such is life". 2012 is going to be great so may I take this opportunity to wish you all a most prosperous, happy and successful year.

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