Happy New Year!

2017! Gosh, we made it... And though our numbers are depleted somewhat and some of us are anxious for the coming year, I think the first day of January should be one of hope, some contemplation too, and reflection. Turkey is off to such a terrible start I can't be jubilant in this post, but I am hopeful. I hope that things will get better, and I intend to remain hopeful, and I stand by what I wrote yesterday when I said I believe we all have some power in this world to make our corner a little brighter and kinder. 

Last year began with a very cold grey day and the first picture I took in 2016 looked as bleak as can be. By contrast it's a beautiful day here: cold, but not shockingly so, and very bright indeed. My first pictures of the year (below) are of the hens and for the first time in well over a year I managed to get a decent picture of Ruby!

Agnes
Florence
Ruby
Meg (centre), Agnes (left), and Ruby (right)
Florence (left) and Meg (right)
The first thing I'm really looking forward to for 2017 is the 6th January: there's been a Protection Zone Order in the UK because there was bird flu in Europe and the Middle East, so all poultry had to be kept separated from wild birds and also they must eat their food indoors. So I have let the hens on the patio once or twice but only when supervised (so wild birds didn't go near them and they didn't dig or pick things up off the ground: not much fun for them), and other than that they've been stuck in the aviary since 6th December and eating their food in the utility room. I know they've missed digging in the garden so it'll be a very happy day to let them roam about as normal.

Other than that, of course I'm looking forward to spring and being back in the garden. I gather snow and very cold temperatures are expected first, and there's been little snow this winter so far so I must admit it would be pleasant to have a few snow days, but yes, I am very much looking forward to getting back in the garden! All my bulbs are planted, and a few early irises and daffodils are beginning to come through (just tiny green tips in the soil right now). I'm so excited to see the them and the snowdrops! I planted some bluebells too, but it was my first attempt and I don't know if they'll like the soil. If not I'll try again later in the year in pots. I'm also very excited for night scented stock - I grew that for the first time last year and it's true what they say - it is the nicest scent in the world!

And, you won't believe this - after what I've written about snow just now, it is actually snowing now! It's very light and think it'll sharp turn to rain...

Book plans this year are as ever numerous, and I think I'm off to a good start: last night I read The First Part of Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlowe (I'm always by myself for New Year's Eve - my boyfriend being an entertainer is working and everyone else round here is asleep!) and this morning, as I was up early with the hens, I read the very short Utopia by Thomas More. Later today if there's time I plan on reading To Let by John Galsworthy, the final of the first Forsyte Saga trilogy. As for the rest of January - I'm particularly looking forward to reading The Heir of Redclyffe by Charlotte Mary Yonge and Émile Zola's first novel Claude's Confession. I would also really like to read Plato's Protagorus and Meno, and at least make a start on Aristotle's Politics as well as read, or again make a start on, a Russian novel for the Russian Literature Challenge. I'm thinking either Crime and Punishment or On the Eve by Turgenev. I shall see - I don't want to be too prescriptive with my reading this year. As of now though that's what's on my radar! Oh, and the Deal Me In Challenge: my first title (which I'll say a few words on later in the week) will be The Normal Dean of the Present Day by Anthony Trollope, that I would like to read today, and the eleventh instalment of The Pickwick Papers: chapters 30 - 32.

Apart from all the reading and gardening, my only other resolutions are to take more pictures and share them on here. I'm always fascinated by other people's gardens and I'd like to show mine: it's certainly not Sissinghurst and I'd be sharing them more out of interest in looking at the changes over the year and how things are progressing (the garden is still in its early stages - only a few years ago it was just a lawn). And aside from the garden, I'm also planning on a big spring clean with a little redecorating (but you don't need to see my attempts at painting so I'll refrain from pictures of that!).

So, there's nothing else to say but Happy New Year! May your new year be happy, healthy, safe, and full of excellent books :)

Comments

  1. Happy New Year! I'm glad the hens are doing well, even if they do have to be cooped up a little while longer. Have fun with that snow :)

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    1. Happy New Year! And yes, they're not bad, I feel wretched though when they stand in a little group and look down the garden. Can't wait for Friday! :)

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  2. I'd love to see your pictures. Lucky you to already be thinking about spring! The winter is just settling in here in New Hampshire.

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    1. I think, from what I've heard, our winter's going to kick in quite hard fairly soon. But it was so bright today! Spring seems close... I'm glad I got so many evergreens last summer so there's a bit of greenery now :) If it's settling in New Hampshire I dare say we'll be getting it in a week or so!

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  3. It's so lovely to hear about your hens and your garden! It pulls all the macroscopic mess into the detailed and wonderful microscopic, which really should be more important. Looking forward to seeing more photos. I'm attempting to create monthly posts, following your lead, so we'll see how that goes!

    Have a blessed and happy new year!

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    1. "macro--micro": a picturesque phrase to say the least! LIKE!

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    2. "macroscopic mess" is a delightful phrase, Cleo! :)

      Again, happy new year to you and I look forward to your monthly posts!

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  4. Happy New Year, o! Can't wait for your garden photos; I just love watching the first flowers of the year come up out of the cold ground.

    I also forward to your thoughts on The Heir of Redclyffe, which is definitely one I want to re-read. The first time, I didn't quite "get" it, but maybe I missed something.

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    1. I'm not sure what to expect from The Heir - I had a vague thought I knew roughly what it was about, but I read the back of it earlier and it doesn't sound like what I thought... Hmm... I want to start it this week so I'll sharp find out :)

      Happy New Year! :D

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  5. it's very nice to see pictures of the girls: they seem very alert and happy... 3" snow in western Oregon and very cold weather on the way... looking out the window at the large wet flakes painting the feathers of jays and wrens. Mrs. M has distributed seeds and suet liberally around our 19 acres; birds get hungry, too... i'm contemplating a walk; but maybe i should have another cup of hot chocolate first...

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    1. They are on the whole happy! Looking forward to letting them out. That said, and I'm afraid I've just remembered, one of our fences came down... Better get some net or something to block it for now...

      19 acres... you have 19 acres?! Oh wow! How lovely! :D

      I hope you enjoyed your hot chocolate :)

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    2. I didn't know that you are in Oregon, Mudpuddle. I'm probably 5 hours north of you and MH (Marian) I think is in between!

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    3. neighbors, almost within distance to borrow a cup of sugar!!!

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  6. Happy New Year! I'm all happy because it's grey and rainy today, and should be all week. Rain, woohoo! I'm another who is very interested in pictures of your garden (or anybody else's).

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    1. Well it's thick frost here! I've had enough of rain from December - we had quite a storm over Christmas! :)

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  7. Happy New Year! I'm also trying to start out the year by being hopeful and kind. It's so lovely to see pictures of your hens--the photos are so cheerful.

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you like them :) Happy New Year!

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  8. I always love photos of your birds. It is good to see them looking so well even if they are in quarantine for awhile. All the best and happy reading to you in 2017. We all seem to be excited about books new to us. Yes please re: more photos. I love personal photos of animals, gardens, little trips, bookshops everyone visits throughout the year.

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    1. Thank you :D All the best to you too :)

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  9. Happy New Year! :) I vowed, too, to remain hopeful.
    The pictures you took of the hens are really cute! And I do hope your garden will spring when it gets warmer, in a few months.

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    1. Thank you! Happy New Year to you, too :) So looking forward to spring now - so cold and damp today, it's very unpleasant being outside!

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  10. Thank you for the wonderful pictures of the delightfully named Hens. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your blog and your wonderful chronicles of your reading.

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    1. Thank you very much <3 That's very kind :)

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