It’s February, isn’t it?

Harvey, our Border Terriers, scampers through sunlit saplings on the croft.
The media may be proclaiming a Siberian freeze—or an Antarctic freeze for that matter—but I spent most of the day working outside, sans jacket and woolly hat because conditions were so mild and sunny.

In fact, it was was sufficiently warm for the soil to be worked as only the top inch or so was frozen. Birds were singing, the gorse was coming into bloom, the hawthorn and dogrose were budding, and the pigs were skipping about.

I did wonder if I had the month wrong. It is early February, isn’t it?
Delilah, one of our Berkshire sows, enjoys the warmer weather.
Delilah and our other Berkshire pigs were all very pleased with the mild weather, skipping, frolicking and digging with abandon.

It was almost unbelievably bright and sunny for a February day in north-eastern Scotland. Not only that, but there was no wind.
Harvey, our Border Terrier, sits besides a bonfire of leaves and branches.
I made a good start on clearing the winter’s detritus from the vegetable patch, then started dismantling our raised beds.

The Other Half has complained for years that they’re too wide for her at two metres so, with the ground workable, I decided to uproot the boards and start reducing them to 1.75 metres wide.

While I worked, Harvey kept an eye on the bonfire. Well, someone had to. It’s just a shame we can’t throw the electronic media on it as we could with actual newspapers.

13 Responses to “It’s February, isn’t it?”

  1. We find 1.3m is about right for everyone to be able to reach the middle from either side – although your arm length may be greater than ours!

    • Thanks. I don’t want to narrow the beds too much as too much space is lost to paths. But nor do I want them too wide.

      I don’t have a problem with 2m, I use long-handled hoes, my arms reach in nicely and I can always lay a scaffolding board across the sideboards if needed. But the OH finds 2m too much of a stretch so if I want to get more work out of her…

  2. No chance of working any ground here in SW France, down to -11c this morning, ground like iron. Water buckets for the birds and sheep had around 5″ and more in – took a lot of chipping to get it out. Going to get some more buckets and start switching them over in the morning so that the frozen ones can defrost indoors during the day.

    • It normally takes me until 10.30am or so to get the morning chores done in winter, thanks to digging snow, removing ice, making warm mash for the pigs and the like. This morning, I was done by 9am. I haven’t had a single day yet where the weather has slowed me down.

      We did have some cold air blow in this morning. At 5.20am, the thermometer read -3.1ºC (warm for an early February morning). The temperature fell to -6.8ºC by 7am and was still -6.3º at 9am. It’s sunny and there’s no wind, so it’s quite pleasant although a little odd compared with our normal winter days, much less the ones we had last winter and the one before that.

      We haven’t had a single night with the temperature below -10ºC and today’s the first where the temperature was below -5ºC at 9am. It’s all far too warm for my liking!

  3. That’s all upside down, then. How come the earth is crispy here and the moon is out in the middle of the day?

  4. Yesterday was sunny and wind-free, too, if a little colder at 1ºC during the day. Today is grey, windy and damp. We’ve had some sleet but the ground is too warm for snow cover—it’s just wet and slippery. So despite the BBC and the rest of the media still proclaiming ‘Britain braced for snow’ and ‘Siberian conditions’, it’s more a case of ‘no show’ in our neck of the woods. Ah well, I’ll light the fire, put the rugby on the TV and have a cuppa while enjoying the unseasonably mild conditions.

  5. Thanks so much for the link to dogrose. I think this may be the shrub my mother called “English Dogwood” back in the 50′s in the Southern US. It’s lovely!

  6. In hospital this morning. Feeding pigs last night, slid on ice, hit fence post, dislocated and fractured right wrist. Fairly severe injury. Using daft internet terminal so cannot log in, but it is me!

    • Just picked up the news of the fracture. Bugger! That won’t be easy (painful to start with) or quick if you plan to mend it well for future use. What a blow.

      I fractured my left wrist two years ago in similar circumstances – well, mine involved sheet-ice over compacted snow. I was lucky only to fracture the radius, however the head of the ulna took a huge pounding. As the radius snap, crackle, popped, the ulna was left to take the strain of ten stone landing from a goodly few inches off the ground. All the ligaments around the wrist sighed deeply, and then sprained themselves in an effort to hold it all together. In sympathy, the carpals jiggled ‘skinwards’ too. Also, the event delivered a decent shock to my system; for a few minutes I fought to remain conscious.

      So I know “I’ve fractured my wrist” is no fun, whatsoever. Just over two years later and I feel the ligaments have finally healed. Once the plaster was off, I was lucky to get a physio who insisted that to have a strong wrist again I had to do the exercises and keep at them because “it takes at least 18 months to properly heal and I can only support you for six weeks, thus you have to do the work if you want it as right as it can be”. So my wish is: don’t rush this, heal for the long term; once you are able, do the exercises as they say, and then keep doing them over time. (I guess you might have broken things before so will know about the importance of the remedial work; for me it was a first.)

      I hope you have neighbours who can stand in or help with the ‘croft’ chores that are really difficult to do with one’s arm in a sling. I took great care to protect my wounded limb but at the same time, very quickly became adept at using anything and everything – as levers, fulcrums, slings, sledges and slides – as support systems for the one hand that had all the work to do! Amazing what you can invent when necessity needs a mother. I am sure you’ll be even more inventive. And what are half-terms for but that the OH and boys should be fully occupied around the croft?

      Take care and heal well.

  7. Got the message via the grape vine Stoney; hope everything mends nicely and rapidly.
    Thanks OH.

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