How many of you tend to start typing the date with 19... I'm getting better at it and usually remember to start 2.. I think it's going to take me till '16 before I stop using '14.
Over here you can never be absolutely certain of the approaching weather, though the view to the South West is generally a bit of a clue, and I can see at least four miles in that direction. The reason for that thought is that the first signs of spring, often false prophets, have appeared, (winter can go on to the end of March, and I've skied on Scottish snow in early May). Harbingers like snowdrops, birdsong and shifting animal activity can't always be trusted. The last of those would be the cat, Erroll, starting to sleep in the conservatory as long as it is in direct sunlight. He likes to do what he does best, sleeping, while we do what we do best, to wit preparing cat food and lighting a fire for when it gets too cold in the conservatory. He has become much more sociable with the humans in his house since Maggie's passing, and often comes upstairs to see what I am doing instead of lighting the fire.
The temperature in the conservatory, or West wing, at the moment is 13° Centigrade. I think I'm supposed to call that Celcius, but at least I'm not stuck in Fahrenheit, mainly because I have trouble spelling it. I have quite enough trouble finding the °. Do you ever get the feeling that 'modern media' is driving illiteracy? Quite apart from Americanisationism ( they do like to add syllables ) like billion and 'nuculer', my pet hate is the mis-spelling and appalling grammar on facebook, but the answer there is quite simple, so sooner or later, I'll have to drop it.
Inevitably there will be a classic typo near this point, feel free to keep quiet about it.
In the mean-time Erroll has decided that it's getting a bit cool there, so he's come in to encourage me to light the fire. This involves yelling from the bottom of the stairs, though he'll usually come up to see what's keeping me. Here he is looking at the screen while the computer counts down 3 seconds. It is possible that he was telling me about the colour of the sun-set, but now he has remembered that it is warmer up here, and has settled until I have finished whatever I am doing. Currently he is purring like a small generator. Fortunately he is now on the other office chair, as he usually exercises his claw muscles if he purrs when on a knee. He has learned not to do that when on Fiona's knee, as she's a bit less tolerant, or more sensitive, when it comes to needle-work.
Looking for something to do I decided to take the tree stump out of the ground in front of the new garage. Everything gets recycled if possible so the stump goes into the stumpery and the surplus soil goes into the spare soil bay next to the compost heaps. I've taken the level down about a foot in places, so it should be easier to drive the current occupant out. Unfortunately, just as the sun comes out and the idea of a wee hurl in the Midge emerges, I realise there are a couple of hours digging and levelling before I can drive out.
I'll be needing to buy a gate for access soon, and since it'll usually be the tractor in there I might invest in a real farm gate. The current method is a wire fence that can be un-hooked, which is rather cumbersome.
Our nearest farmer has taken to decorating his gates with odd bits of metal like big spanners or cogs. I suppose that since they are welded in they also make them less attractive to thieves. Photos may follow if fortune smiles, but first I have to level the ground a bit, and a couple of slabs would be nice. Unfortunately 'the electric' have buried a cable right across the place where the gate would go. So I'll have to watch where I put the posts. Voles and mice keep leaping and scuttling around the area, and are obviously considering the garage as a hibernation zone, or possible Winter holiday accommodation.They'll quite often run over my wellies, which is too cute for me to put any counter-measures down. Inevitably the cats ignore the problem of nests in the Midge upholstery and nibbled wiring, and just stare at the song-birds.
Other harbingers of spring are the appearance of buds on the flowering currant, bullfinches eat all the other kinds of bud, but ignore that one.
Why does the wildlife dine exclusively on plants we like, and ignore weeds like Rose-bay willow-herb (fireweed) and flowering currant?
It will be a while before the plants that come into the house for the winter dare to venture out. There are a couple of bay-trees in the East wing that are quite happy for now, and a plethora (or hedge) of fuchsias in the west wing. None of them are house trained -sadly- and tend to drop leaves, flower-heads, and spiders everywhere. I don't need the leaf litter, but, on the positive side it encourages the spiders and we like a good population for when the eventual spring brings muck-spreading and flies. They work better than fly-paper and apart from the occasional one on the bedroom ceiling rarely cause us any concern. Very occasionally you might notice a movement on the floor that otherwise might be Delirium Tremens or a small earthquake, but it's usually a reassuringly large spider knocking into the furniture, the cat has learned to leave the larger ones alone.
One of my Midge Club friends has found out how to turn photos into water-colours, so I think I have worked out what to put on my next Newsletter / Christmas card. This one was on a previous, so I'll have to change that, but I rather like it as a style. Perhaps I should feature the tractor next time. Only one problem, the snow has melted and it would take too long to drive it up the hill to the snow-line because it is retreating faster than my tractor. So that idea will have to wait until I have learned some photo-shop skills, or it snows again.
Well, the ground is level enough now, though sadly the sun has set so the Midge can sit for a bit, hopefully without any rodent attention. The fence is re-assembled and as scruffy looking as before. That 'shed' will need a coat of paint and so will the garage door. I thought a suitable camouflage colour, probably a dark green, might help merge the shed in, but maybe a Mural for the garage. They do say that a painted pair of eyes cuts down casual burglary, I think a trench with spikes works better, although it can lead to legal problems, if any bodies are found.