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Saturday, 16 February 2013

At last some sunshine

We have been busy over the last ten days or so whenever there has been a dry spell between showers. I could make this the shortest blog post ever by saying we have cleared the stream of all the brambles and dead vegetation clogging it up, and are currently ploughing our way through the apple and pear tree pruning in the orchard. But that's no fun if I don't have new photos to share, though if you want to see pics of my OH up a ladder, or what the stream looks like choked up with brambles, you'll have to look at last year's posts!

In the garden the hellebores are all flowering now and with milder weather, even a fair bit of sun lately, we look set to have daffodils flowering before the end of the month, which is rather early. It's making me a bit worried as I feel very behind with garden jobs and want to get clearing up all the beds and borders so that I can actually see all those bulbs properly!

Mirabelle plum blossom, possibly the earliest
it has flowered

Oriental Hellebore covered in dew, and a little aphid

The same Hellebore, looking a different colour as taken with
a different camera. Much work to be done here tidying up!

Daffodils getting ready to burst open

The biggest excitement round here in this sleepy hamlet is the start of our newest neighbour's renovation job! She bought this place over a year ago. We always thought the two buildings were just a couple of barns but in fact at least one is (was!) a proper house. I can see this view from my upstairs bathroom window and that's where I took these photos from, through the glass. The first was from about 2 weeks ago and since then the spoil heaps of soil and rocks have grown enormously. The builders have dug down over 2 foot of floor, probably to give them more ceiling space. We did go round and have a nosy but there's not a lot to look at just yet.

The house on the right is already renovated and belongs to a different family.

Two weeks later and the new window opening is finished and the soil piles keep on growing!
This view is over our orchard (the greener grass), with our stream in between that
and the neighbour.

The stream. Glad to say my wellies are still waterproof
as I have spent quite a few hours standing in it!

I've noticed all sorts of vegetation coming to life, from edible leaves such as sorrel to the poisonous but attractive woodland plant, Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum), below. According to Wikipedia the root of this plant was once used for culinary purposes but has to be prepared just so, otherwise it is highly toxic. I'll be giving this one a miss!

Arum maculatum

The Walnut trees have a yellow look about them from all the interesting lichen
covering the trunk and branches

Finished! I did wonder what the pink thing was hanging out of my pocket,
only to realise I had stuffed my mucky duck cleaning out Marigolds (rubber gloves)
in my pockets for some reason.

A Robin kept us company

There have been some lovely sunny mornings just recently. Song thrushes and dunnocks have started singing and misty views like this across the fields at the bottom of the property, and dew shining on the grass in the sunlight, just lift the spirits after all the rain that we have had.

View from the bottom end of our property - the line of dead bracken in the foreground
is beside the stream running into our lake

We had our first feast of
Purple Sprouting Broccoli and it was delicious!

Another sign of spring is the start of the egg mountain all over again. Both of my ducks are laying again after a really long break. Doris the Saxony went off lay back in June, useless bird! But dear old Freckles, the only remaining of our original four white ducks, and whose egg laying petered out last spring, somehow managed to produce these two tiny little eggs! I know they'll only have a bit of white inside and no yolk, but it was so sweet to find these tiny eggs which only weigh about 21 grams. Thankfully I am able to sell eggs to a neighbour so the birds can start to earn their keep again.

Hooray - eggs!

I have taken tons of photos the last couple of mornings as the sun was shining. I can't post them all here but if you are on Facebook then I do share extra photos there - just click on the Chateau Moorhen FB link at the top right.


  1. Not sure how I got here ( bloghopping again!) but Ive enjoyed reading. Your header photo is lovely! My own hens came back into lay this week, its a lovely sign oF spring returning, isnt it?

    Leanne x

    1. Hi Leanne - thanks very much for visiting! Glad you enjoyed reading it. I love little signs of spring even if harsh weather comes back, which it is probably bound do at some point. At least we will have eggs though :-)

  2. Lovely eggs of all sizes !
    I do like the photo of your house in the surrounding and the wild plants.
    You don't miss water....

    1. Thanks Cergie! So nice to have eggs again and see all the wild plants growing again. I don't miss the rain... however I like playing in water! :-)