Sunday, 6 April 2014

Getting outside again

Our garden hands

Cheerful Daffs
We've been very fortunate this winter - its been pretty mild but, being a sun loving out-doorsy type I still snuck off to Africa to work for a couple of months just to ensure I avoided any freak cold weather. Now I'm back home, the sun is shining and its time to get out into the wonderful world of Montmelard and take full advantage of this beautiful place. I began by also taking advantage of my Mum and one of my friend's mums -  keen to offer a helping hand they were decked out in gardening gear and sent off to clear weeds, prune fruit trees and point to places where bedding plants needed to go. 

Whilst I've done my own bit on the garden - cutting back wisteria, dead-heading daffodils, weeding the rose border, I also took time out to escape to the top of Mont St Cyr to search out the snow drops. It was the first time since living here that I missed the annual snow drop walk (too busy in the Congo) but I still managed to track a few of these favourite flowers down among the moss and boulders.

How quickly spring passes. Not 3 weeks after visiting the snow drops, the roses are in bud, the butterflies and bees are zooming round the courtyard and we've got red noses from sitting in the sun.

The bookings for holiday guests are pouring in and we're looking forward to putting faces to names and our courses are just about full. All very exciting. I hope the fruit and veg does well so we'll be able to offer the freshest of home grown produce. I know the rhubarb is already waiting to be picked and I'll enjoy a crumble later.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

New Year 2014

Daisy and Plum having a lovely time
One day you're happily blogging about harvest time, the next you find yourself in a new year with new plans and new adventures.

The last three months have whirled by - I've been off travelling to some pastures new (Nigeria, Venice) and some familiar (UAE). I've been catching up with some old friends (hello Susie, Wanda, Marina) and making some new ones, but one thing that has been reinforced is that there is no place like home (thank you Dorothy).

Eddie taking it easy
The Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite films and something I subject anyone here on Christmas day to watching (once they've sat through White Christmas, of course). So many words of wisdom that resonate with me - I rarely have to look any further than my own front yard to find everything I've been searching for.

My front yard is currently home to my chickens who constantly entertain as well as supply eggs; it is where friends arrive in cars and on foot bringing news, ideas and laughter; it offers views of the landscape I now call home dotted with friend's homes and well trodden pathways; provides a sheltered place to do my breathing exercises (this is the year of strengthened core and calm) and where Eddie cat rolls over for a tummy tickle at every opportunity.
Christmas baking

The courtyard will form the backdrop to colourful quilts in September and will see artists at their easels capturing the grey knotty wood of the barn door or lichen covered stones in October.

Strangers will step from their cars and take in the house and orchard for the first time, hopefully appreciating the pure air and stillness; roses planted last year will bloom and I shall smile to see their nodding heads in the border.

The Christmas lights will be taken from the front of the house tonight but solar twinkles will remain helping to maintain the magical nature of this place.
Happy New Year.

Snow man

Christmas cake - all gone now!