19 April 2013

Finally flowers

After weeks where I have quite literally been dreaming about spring flowers, the garden  has caught up, with a sudden flourishing of floriferousness.

And in the greenhouse, an uninvited strawberry plant has turned up and is joining in the general gaiety:

14 April 2013

Preparing for Spring, eating like Winter

Friday's ice storm didn't do too much damage here, although the trees were coated with a fairly thick layer of ice for several hours.

I'm wanting to transfer my tomato seedlings to the greenhouse, but the temperature isn't high enough yet. I did mobilise the children to start the process today. We liberated an old table and a cable spool from the big barn and carried/rolled them down to the greenhouse to act as potting tables. Then we spent twenty minutes or so laying out pots and filling them with potting mix. So the pots are now ready for the tomatoes, if the weather should ever decide to co-operate.

Our reward for all the hard work was a new dessert (on the premise that it's still cold enough to be eating hot puddings). It's based on a Bakewell tart, but without the pastry. So just a 'Bakewell', maybe.


150g/¾ cup sugar
150g/1½ cups ground almonds
4 eggs
75g/3oz butter
300g/10oz mixed summer fruit
60g/½ cup flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Melt the butter and mix it with the eggs, 100g/half a cup of the sugar and all of the ground almonds. Mix the summer fruits with the remaining sugar and put into the base of a glass dish. Pour the egg mixture over the top, then sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Bake for 40 minutes.

05 April 2013

Death and foxes

Some weeks, you just want to see the back of. This was definitely one of those weeks. On Saturday three of the hens were killed by a fox. A fourth died of her injuries on Sunday. On Wednesday the dog discovered something in the corner of the big barn and started barking furiously at it.

This was what he'd found:

Hardly recognisable as such, but another fox, this one badly affected by mange. The next day it, too, had died. Today I picked up its body on a shovel and took it into the woods.

I know death is a part of life and all that, but this week I feel as though I have been dealing with nothing but death.

A bit of light relief then, to discover that a new book from one of my favourite authors had come into the library. I collected it today:

I'm obviously not going to be allowed to forget this week's foxes as quickly as I'd hoped...

P.S. The book was very good. But really should have been called Death after Death, I think. And foxes did feature rather a lot. Representative sentence (p.141): "She hadn't expected to die like a fox frozen in its den."

02 April 2013

Phenological update

The dog and I were caught in a snow squall when we went for our early-morning walk today. The lake you can (sort of) see behind him in this photo is still frozen. That's the first time in the six years we've been here that it has still been frozen in April.

Last year my daffodils were in flower on March 20th. At the moment they look like this:

 I think it might be a new record in the opposite direction in 2013!