|Taken first thing this morning. It looks like I have a blue filter on this but actually it's unedited!|
It's a wet and misty start to February up here. It's warmer than it has been, yet yesterday I felt colder than I had for a while: it's all the damp, I think. I got rained on yesterday lunchtime and it wasn't until I actually went to bed that I warmed up! Never in my life was I so warm and cosy last night!
The first thing I want to say is that this post won't be about politics. Like no doubt a lot of you I'm exhausted by it and have had many late night discussions on the dark and depressing matters we face, and I've not the time right now to say anything productive. There is so much out there, so many articles and opinion pieces, that there is absolutely no need for me to say how horrible things are if I'm not going to be productive about it. I would think later in the month when I have time to write something carefully thought through I'll say something then, but for now this is more of a usual first day of the month personal post.
So then, January has been and gone. We had a little bit of snow but nothing too exciting, mainly it's been grey and wet. The poor chickens are still on lock-down: the Prevention Order has been extended to 28th February, and as the chickens have been going a little nutty (the older ones have been miserable, the younger ones have, and I kid you not, twice been seen throwing themselves against the side of the aviary) I've maintained feeding them indoors but I've been letting them have supervised garden trips a few times a day. It's not ideal by any stretch, the whole thing is getting pretty frustrating now, but it is what it is. They are enjoying a little walk in the garden and being able to act like chickens instead of being locked up on paving slabs. I can't wait for this to be over!
In garden news, things are starting to happen! Apologies for these blurry photos, but here are some shoots peaking through:
|Meg and a recently planted azalea.|
|Florence, a bare willow tree, and a dead-looking greenhouse.|
|Bare apple tree, spiraea, buddleia, and a plant (the green leafy one) I don't know the name of!|
(Agnes, when I took these photos, was laying an egg and Ruby was having her dust bath, hence no pictures of those two)
I also planted snowdrops, which don't seem to be showing up: I planted them rather late so really I'm expecting them next year, and also some bluebells (I'm not sure what they're doing either!).
I'm so looking forward to spring and summer, even more than I usually do this time of year! The picture of the apple tree: that part of the garden is lovely I think in the warmer months. It'll be nice to compare pictures.
And aside from gardening, I'm reading plenty. I started The Hobbit today for Brona's Lord of the Rings read-along, and I also have some Chekhov, Marlowe, and Jacobean revenge tragedies on the go (I won't read them all this month of course, I'm thinking one of each plus Love's Labour Lost by Shakespeare). This month I would love to finish Aristotle's Ethics, but so far I've not even finished Book I. It's partly avoidance: I am firmly planning to read it all in the coming weeks. I also hope to read The Cowards by Josef Škvorecký, In Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus, Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo, and The Eternal Husband by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. And speaking of Dostoyevsky, I had a disastrous time with The Brothers Karamazov: when I first read it I loved it, and so I thought this time around I'd try a different translation. I battled, procrastinated, and complained through Book I before I finally gave up and returned to my original translation, but alas the damage had been done: I hadn't kept up, was lost, and didn't want to read it any more. I've decided to leave it until November when Adam is holding his read-along and also abandon The Devils which I planned to read more out of a feeling of obligation to revisit. I'll leave that for a year or two. Finally, if there is time (which I doubt!) I'd love to at least start Felix Holt by George Eliot. That may be a March read, though.
So there's February planned! I'm most looking forward to seeing changes in the garden and planting some seeds - I'm so excited for sweet peas. Last year I planted white ones and a few pinks and purples, this year I'm simply going to see how many I can feasibly fit in the garden - I want thousands! I'm feeling rather sombre at present (hard to avoid in the current political climate) and I'm trying to stay positive, and spring, the very idea of spring, is exciting.
Ah, and one more February plan: I'm hoping I'll go to Barter Books in the next week or so. I'll be sure to let you know what I come up with there!