Saturday, 31 December 2011

Strange Winter at Lilac Tree

Hello all,

Well, after the warnings of last year we all panic bought supplies, fitted snow chains and hunkered down for the worst winter on record.

What arrived in mid-December was, well, nothing.

The temperature is around 12 degrees at worst, a few blustery days, basically autumn.

So we thought the garden had got away with it but now we're all worried as the plants are more confused than we are.

As you can see, even the rose has started to bud...
A very confused Rose
Even the Lilac doesn't know what's happening...

Huh? Spring here already?
 The snap-dragons are still holding on strong as well.

Hold, hold, not until you see the white of the frost...

This poor willow thinks it's spring too...
So the garden is currently at risk.

I'm not playing this up, really.

If we get a frost now, most of the tree stock will suffer massive damage. The hardy roses will no doubt be ok and the willow will probably bounce back but there is a real risk of us losing our stock trees such as the apples and, dare I say it, the cherries. (the beautiful cherries! Noooooo!)

So there we are, after a wonderful christmas and a great run up to New Year, now we're all worried about the garden!

I suppose we've got to worry about something.

Could be worse, we could be commercial fruit farmers.

Happy New Year everybody,

All the team at Lilac Tree xxx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Dog powered home heating system...

Hello all!

As the dreaded Xmas looms, we are hunkering down for another hard winter at Lilac Tree.

The grass was crispy this morning and from this evening we'll be starting to leave the taps running at a slow dribble to stop the pipes freezing overnight.

The heaters are running at full pelt and I fear our carbon footprint is resembling more of a carbon snow-shoeprint.

Milly the dog is heating the house too, mostly using a mixture of carpet friction and warm methane. Still, it's nice of her to make an effort.

It was the wind, honest...

The decision to 'go plastic' with the farm's windows was definitely a good one as the main house is toasty all the time now. This, however, does make any trips outside all the more wintery.

The fig and the grape have finally given up and dropped their leaves and the ash trees are quickly following suit.

The new insulated flat roof seems to be working ok although the jury is out until it's piled with a couple of tons of snow like last year. Still, at least the threat of a collapsing glass roof has gone. I do miss the glass though, some of you who came to our wedding may remember it as the dance room. In winter though, our house became one room smaller and in the heat of summer the unrelenting sun was slowly cooking us and bleaching the books to boot.

My astronomy has been scuppered for the last couple of nights due to low, wintery cloud but we did manage to hunt down a compass at last so at least I can 'collimate' my telescope (letting it know where it is on the globe so that the auto-tracking function works). As a bonus, we can also, for the first time in 16 years, make the weathervane on the shed roof point in the right direction. (It turns out that we were about 100 degrees off!)

During the past week I have had amazing success hunting down Jupiter (not too tricky, it's the second brightest thing in the sky this time of year, next to the moon) and getting a lovely crisp image of not ony the planet itself but also her moons. So happy telescoping everyone and anyone who shares a similar interest (picked up from my geeky stargazing websites) I wish you clear skies!

By the by, Penny's book siging in Scarborough broke all previous records, as have all previous ones this time round. Fame and fortune await!

If there are any GoodReads members reading, I'd appreciate it if you could go on the site and hunt down the books and, y'know, like 'em and stuff.

Until next time dear readers,

The stargazing farm dwellers.