The Beast is Back

What a start to the season this is turning out to be. The week started with some lovely weather, blue skies and sunshine, but finished with the wind whistling over the frozen tundra of Wales as the ‘Beast from the East’ returned. Still, others to the east of us have it far worse so mustn’t grumble.

Sheep and Lambs

Start of the Week – New Mums with Happy Lambs in the sunshine

Sheep and Lambs in Snow

End of the Week – The Beast is Back and the lambs are sheltering with their mums from the blowing snow

I wasn’t feeling too well at the beginning of the week so not a lot got done. By Wednesday I felt a bit better so a bit of time up in the polytunnel. It was quite warm in there with the doors closed but it doesn’t take long to cool down when they’re open.

It doesn’t help when the cat decides to scratch at the door to be let in – cat scratches are not something you want with polythene. Let her in and close the door. 2 minutes later she demands to leave so let here out and close the door. Then she comes back with her friend and they both want in.. and out.. and in.

First Earlies in the Polytunnel

Anyway, the potatoes have finally been planted in there. Both first earlies, Homeguard in one bed and Arran Pilot in the other. I also planted out my chard, probably too many plants but that’s OK because the chickens love chard. With a little luck, fresh new potatoes in June.

I’d left my watering wand in the polytunnel when we had the last cold snap. I think water had frozen in it and cracked the plastic because when I connected the hose water came out of everywhere but where it should. That got some choice Anglo-Saxon comments.

Friday goes to pot

The plan for Friday was to get up to date with seed sowing in the potting shed. The weather was reasonable so I thought I’d get those broad beans out of the coldframe and finally into the ground. Ha! Famous last words.

I thought it felt a bit chilly and finally realised we had no heating. Much searching and turned up the boiler insurance and phoned them. They asked me to check we had gas. Of course we have gas, I thought, but I’ll double check to keep them happy. Oh dear – no gas. It’s got a radio thingy on it and is supposed to be automatically filled as needed but apparently there’s a shortage of LPG.

Between begging phone calls to Calor and keeping the woodburner going at full tilt, there wasn’t a great deal of free time. Since the forecast was for a cold weekend and I was nearly out of wood in the store I did spend a couple of hours converting old pallets into firewood. Free fuel is great but it’s a lot of work to process.

Saturday dawned cold but otherwise not too bad. Happily the big red and white Calor truck was backing up the lane and by half eight I was getting the boiler going again. I wonder how we survived without central heating years back. Getting dressed in bed before getting up in a morning, scraping the ice off the window to see out and finding the glass of water by the bed was frozen. Didn’t seem so bad at the time, I think I’ve gone soft!

Blue Sky

Just before the main snow struck it was a beautiful deep blue sky with fluffy white clouds scudding across

Both Val and Cara wanted leeks so I headed up to the last bed and pulled some. Just standing by the compost bins trimming them when we had the first snow shower. Not a lot of fun! Job done so I came back in and it stopped snowing, the black clouds passed by and the sun came out in a really lovely blue sky with fluffy clouds scudding across.

I thought I’d grab an hour out in the shed when it went dark again and the snow came back with a vengeance. So that plan went in the bin.

Siberian Sunday

Sunday was worse, like a day in the Siberian tundra with dry light snow blowing around. The chickens looked like they weren’t sure if they should just go back to bed and I must admit I share their feeling. Felt really sorry for the poor lambs out in the field but they seem happy enough sheltering under their mums with their woolly coats on and warm milk on tap.

It’s due to start warming up now although it’s still going to be a cold spring. The Spring equinox is nearly upon us so it will officially be Spring in 3 days. Hopefully I’ll catch up on my sowing plan and things will go a little more smoothly. Don’t bet on it.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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