The Christmas Chronicles Part VI – All is quiet on New Year’s Day

 

My timeline is full of people congratulating themselves for having taken down the Christmas decs and given the house a thorough clean ready for the new year. My day is less fraught with activity. The tree still graces a corner of the kitchen and the Christmas candles are throwing a rosy glow over proceedings. Today’s activity is firmly rooted in my plans for the coming season.

There was a year when I spend a few carefree hours turning the compost but as a nod to the damp weather, today’s activity is cerebral. A pile of seed catalogues are lined up on the dresser awaiting perusal – although my seed merchants of choice are online – Higgledy Garden and Real Seeds. I like their ethos and seed germination rates have been excellent over the last few seasons.  I’ve made a list (unusual) and among the abundance of cut flowers this year I am making room on the plot for some purple podded climbing beans, heritage lettuce and purple carrots. I’ve also plumped for field beans ‘Wizard’  rather than broad beans. Only two of the household are fans and these are hardy. A more organised woman would have sown them back in October but teaching is so often an all-consuming activity and so a few will be sown now and the rest later. I still have tulips to get in the ground, after all!!

If you want to make this year a better one than last then you’d do well to spend more of it in the garden. This is a good place to start with #five new year’s resolutions for gardeners. It’s American and written in 2012 but those of you who have followed this blog for a while or subscribed to Our Flower Patch will be familiar with the principles. I’m going to take my own advice because 2018 is already shaping up to be busy with the children being variously occupied with driving tests, university applications, GCSEs, county rugby and a production of Goodnight Mister Tom to direct, thirty years of marriage to celebrate and the usual frenzy of life at the chalkface.

And after the seed order is in I will continue with my pile of new books (reviews to follow) and a spot of baking.

Simple pleasures.

Taking stock and stocking up

 

I love that dead time between Christmas and New Year when nothing much is happening. I like to take stock before launching into the New Year. Not that I ever make resolutions. I don’t have the temperament.  But it’s good to look back on the highs and lows of the previous year and plan a bit for the next one. So what have we been doing on the plot before the apprentices get back to school?

  • browsing the seed catalogues and deciding what we’ll be growing this year
  • filling in our new diaries and toasting crumpets in front of the fire
  • booking our first proper holiday for a few years for the Summer…and finding someone to look after the chickens while we’re away. The South Downs are calling……
  • starting a new compost heap
  • collecting a load of logs, chopping and storing them and gathering kindling on our walks in the woods. One of the apprentices found this poem about which wood burns best so we thought we’d share it with you.

Logs to burn! Logs to burn!
Logs to save the coal a turn!
Here’s a word to make you wise
When you hear the woodsman’s cries.

Beech wood fires burn bright and clear,
Hornbeam blazes too’
If the logs are kept a year
To season through and through.

Oak logs will warm you well
If they are old and dry.
Larch logs of the pine smell
But the sparks will fly.

Pine is good and so is Yew
For warmth through winter days,
But poplar and the willow too
Take long to dry or blaze.

Birch logs will burn too fast,
Alder scarce at all,
Chestnut logs are good to last
If cut in the fall

Holly logs will burn like wax –
You should burn them green.
Elm logs like a smouldering flax,
No flames to be seen.

Pear logs and Apple logs
They will scent a room,
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smell like flowers in bloom.

But Ash logs all smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way
They’re worth their weight in Gold!

Have a very happy 2010. I’m off to bake cakes as our hens are laying prolifically and then to finish sketching out a plan for the plot this year.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑