Winter Bloom

Smiling man loads sticks into a bright orange wood chipper, blue sky and white cloud above

29/1/22 Saturday

Sky: grey fleece on a white-gold sheep.

Sea: unpolished metal.

Workday: half a calming hour in the hydrotherapy pool flanked by less salubrious cleaning tasks. 

Drive home: hungry. Mr toasts us a hot cross bun each, is generous with the butter.

30/1/22 Sunday

Sky: mottle and marble, colours like old cutlery.

Sea: graphite, lightly sketched. Someone has spilled silver ink.
Workday: c
louds drift, leaving wide blue space; we drive, a Sunday lazy meander with windows open. 

Mr reports our new wood chipper’s debut as a success: it is orange, a very in-fashion bright orange. Stick by stick, the pile of cut hedge is getting chipped. The spring bulbs we planted are pushing up leaves, some are in bud, none open yet.

31/1/22 Monday

Day begins: coffee in bed, reading up on wildflower identification (new book).

Drive to work.

Cloudscape is mountainous. Sea a heavier graphite than yesterday; it leaks silver ink. 

At work, our care client is sick. Walk plans get scaled down to round the block and the supermarket.

1/2/22 Tuesday

Awake in the dark, dragging my work bags through the porch detritus, to the car, to cover a shift. I don't usually work Tuesdays, I'm being a hero.

When the sun is up I look out at the garden pots, there are spring leaves whipping in the wind, the marguerite daisy has popped into flower, and it’s time to make plans for the summer. My head is full of palm trees, fountains, clambering roses.

My porch, when I return, has the addition of four brace of pheasants strung on the coat hooks: a thank you for covering the shift today. Dog goes in and out all evening, unsure of what is different but knowing she approves. 

2/2/22 Wednesday

A bright day, breezy, good to open windows, to get the broom in motion, the washing machine whirring, the floors mopped. A good day to paint your hair purple, wrap it in a plastic bag (reusing, of course), hold it in place with a thick woolly hat and a 70s print scarf. Accessorised this with my painting smock, ready to learn how to prepare pheasants for food.

(Please note, no gruesome details follow, though I am not squeamish I have a care for those who are.)

On the whole, I don’t approve of wasteful shoots, or of the environmental manipulation behind them, but wasting meat is ridiculous, and these birds came from a few miles away, and they are gifts, and a learning curve. Outside is chilly so we set ourselves up in the kitchen, the gleaming clean kitchen.

The kitchen is swathed in feathers in spite of our care.

Dog wanders in and out, gets feathers on her. Mr stops to drink his tea: there’s a feather in his mug. Downy, beautiful red-brown, iridescent feathers.

Washed my hair. Purple and blue-green shimmery. 

3/2/22 Thursday

Compost bay day! Up early-ish, armed with spade and fork.

Currently running a three-bay system that requires this annual effort.

Bay 3 is cleared first, this is old household waste and grass cuttings all rotted down.

Contents of Bay 2, where, for the past year, household waste has been dumped by us and turned by worms into clumps of thick rich goo, is shovelled into the emptied Bay 3. The rotted grass cuttings and dung from Bay 1 gets plopped on top of this, till Bay 3 is refilled.

The bays are looking jaded, we will probably have to rebuild next year. They were built from pallet wood, so decay was inevitable, and while this system does work, there is always room to play and improve. 

Mr finishes cutting the long hedge. We are both tired and grubby, so we nap and scrub up ready for pre-grading at Bude- where our students are keen and loud, and we are proud of their efforts. 

On the way home Dog pooped in the back of the van. She has good and oops days, on and off, which I don’t always report on because the point is she can’t help it and we love her, not to moan about it. It was a dungy day anyway, might as well clean up a bit of poop. 

Treated ourselves to hot water this evening; ran a bath, dropped a blue bath bomb, swirled in cerulean heat, then opened a bottle of wine.

4/2/22 Friday

Overnight high winds and rain give way to powdery blue sky, white stacks of cloud. We have our usual morning coffee listening to the usual bird song. Pigeons sit in the tall pine, this seems to be their equivalent of coffee time. 

At the land we set up the chipper, get to work clearing the cut hedge tangles of hawthorn, sloe, and bramble. My gloves are not thorn proof, the concentration of not getting jabbed becomes a sort of trance. I dream of flowers, the thornless kind- and then we see it, in real life, down by the iron fence: Paddock Garden’s first daffodil. 


Busy, productive - and exciting.
Steve Cromwell said…
It's great that you can use these months to do such landscaping work, while it's still good and cool. And can I borrow that woodchipper someday? It definitely looks like a chipper machine, all bright and orange. Which would definitely help me to not forget where I left in the woods.

Hope the pheasant was good!
Lisa Southard said…
I've never been so enchanted to see a daffodil in my life!
Lisa Southard said…
It's always slower progress than you hope, but yes the weather is pleasantly cool. Of course you can borrow our chipper chipper, please feed it 4 stroke petrol and admire it loudly. Pheasant cookery was a success :-)

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