Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Signs of life.

Cornwall glistened this morning, the fields sparkling in the half sun, half shade early morning light. Just beautiful. I don't mind the cold when it is accompanied by such wonderful winter sun...what's to mind when you can at least wrap up and stay dry? It's the seemingly endless rain that drives me to despair, so for once Pipany is not grumbling as she dones her duffel and wellies to venture into the frozen garden on the usual duck/hen feeding mission.

Wonderful still-life all around had me returning to the warmth in search of the camera, the poor ducks barking loudly as breakfast didn't appear to be on my agenda. As I glanced toward them I realised their pond had frozen over yet again in the sub-zero temperatures. Yesterday it took less than an hour after breaking the ice for it to freeze solid once more. All my usual tricks with floating balls, etc had failed to work this time and they sat looking disgustedly at the thick layer on even the part which is four foot deep in water. Ah well, they'll have to make do with their drinking water to play with for the moment. We have actually never had the pond freeze like this before as we only get about one frost a year which causes few problems. Even Cornwall has felt the chill this time.

On round the garden searching for any signs of life. I love the fur coats on the buds of the magnollia stellata. It is covered this year and hopefully the snow white petals are curled tight enough inside to be protected from this cold snap.

Crocuses push through the hard ground reminding me that Spring is not so very far away and that there will soon be little stars of mauve and egg-yolk yellow shining over the bare earth.

The hen pen is for once not a squishy quagmire and I collect the perfect treasure nestled within the straw, one still warm in my hand. I think Isabella and I may bake a cake today using these - coffee and walnut appeals, but then so does lemon drizzle or indeed anything lemony.

The sunlight brightens momentarily and catches the verdant green moss sitting cosily on a log which Isabella and I share when watching the camp fire. The ridged surface of the wood twinkles as the sun lights its frosty covering and the whole appeals to the child in me who would have conjured little stories around such a scene. An ice rink for a beetle? A moss bed for a ladybird? Who knows, but always, always I would hunt out vignettes of hedgerows and gardens to create an imaginary world so much better in my head than the reality I actually had.

I find some daffodils pushing their sturdy shoots up, leaning forward as though desperate for the sun's rays and warmth. I look harder and find more, though yet again I haven't added to the number strewn around and I feel the familiar annoyance. Every year I mean to plant more bulbs, but time always runs away from me. Next year...

A final glance up at the rich branches of the fruiting cherry tree against the clear blue sky and then back into the warmth for a hot drink, thoughts of daffys and crocuses and Spring running round my head. I open the post and find a plant catalogue has arrived....perfect.

Happy Wednesday xx


  1. Every time I read your blog I weep with frustration that it isn't all over a magazine, you just convey your enjoyment of where you live so well. We too have had unusually icy weather - there were pockets of frost in the sand.

  2. More perfect pictures of your perfect life, sigh. totally agree with ChrisH! Although I always think that magnolia stellata look like bits of a camel!

  3. Oh gawd you two, it really isn't perfect, but I enjoy it for the most part and I hope that is what comes across. Wouldn't suit all though! x

  4. Pipany, reading about your Wednesday has gotten my Wednesday off to a grand start.

    Your spring will arrive well before ours. Right now, NYC is being treated to icy rain and very slick sidewalks. I am glad that today's schedule doesn't require me to venture outside yet!

    I do agree with Chris and Milla about wishing that others had the joy of seeing your pictures and reading your words.

  5. Is that what might be going on under the snow here? I'll believe it when I see it - but lovely to look at your photos, which show so much promise of the season to (I hope!) come.

  6. Oh, the poor ducks! I too am like you, I only remember that I want to plant bulbs once it's too late. Liked your words about the mini ice skating rink.

    Keep warm!
    Hen x

  7. I love, with your artist''s eye, the way you find what is nagical and beautiful where you live.

    I like the fur coats on the magnolia.

  8. what a lovely morning Pipany and your descriptions are just perfect... i wonder what cake you made?
    we are very chilly here but i kind of like it as it is a proper winter finally.
    lots of love to you x

  9. Another great post to read, Pipany. I know what you mean about 'like-minded', I enjoy being around people who look for the good things to see.

    P x

  10. I echo what Chris says! Your blogs are such works of art - the photographs so uplifting and everything you say is so positive so that even us old curmudgeons are tempted to smile! Have a happy day!

  11. Joyous! So may people are bemoaning this cold snap but I adore how you've celebrate it Pipany. Brilliant! I was outside early feeding the birds yesterday and the stillness was just perfect.

    And I'm another lacking in the bulb planting department. I did get some crocus, muscari and narcissi in but my two bags of tulips are still in the cupboard and I completely forgot one border. Nevermind - perfect excuse for a trip to the nursery for some pre-potted ones in a few weeks!

    Have a lovely week. Thanks for the get well wishes (on the mend now) and I admit a Saturday afternoon in bed with tea and biscuits wasn't all bad!
    P.s Sorry going on a bit today. My great husband has bagged us a free week's holiday to Lostwithiel later this year. There's not much about it, apart from the castle, in our Rough Guide but it sounds pleasant (antiques shops etc - thinking vintage treats?) Do you know it at all Pip?

  12. Hi Pip, Oh I'm loving this frosty weather with fabulouus sunshine and clear skies. Can be as cold as you like when it's like this! Glad you're enjoying it too. It's a novelty scraping ice off the car! Save me some cake please...!!
    Diana x

  13. It's rather the same here Pipany, most unusual, I'm sitting looking out over a white world.

  14. Gorgeous pictures, Pipany - you're so talented in so many ways. Yes, cold here too - all three lakes in the village are totally frozen over at the moment, although I have a feeling the thaw is about to begin, and grey skies are going to be back (well, here, at least). Lovely to see those signs of Spring, though - bring it on, say I.

  15. Didi your chickens have water? We've been looking after our neichbours animals for a week, with hubby out in his wellies before going to school stomping the ice up. Todayt was so cold he stomped and slipped frozen solid. Not even a 13st man could shift it. The rescue chickens are moulting and starting to look like happy chickens at last, the daffs are poking their heads up, I couldn't pull up any parsnips as they's frozen solid in the ground! And yet I love winter! Have a wonderful year ahead with love from Wales clairex

  16. Lovely ducks Pipany. And as aslway wonderful words and pictures. Thank you for sharing them.