Waking up from winter

This time of year I'm on the lookout for every tiny sign that Spring is on its way. One of the things I love about working outdoors is how much more in tune I've become with the seasons; I notice those precious few more minutes of light each day after the Equinox, the little green buds emerging on the willow and the fruit bushes, and the tiny crocus pushing their way through with a burst of purple and yellow, announcing their arrival in the noisiest way possible.

Of course, the animals spot these changes too, and the hens are going a bit mad trying to outdo each other with their nest building capabilities. As soon as I've convinced one that it's not a good idea to monopolise the nest box for her own needs, another has sneaked in, busy fluffing up, pulling out her belly feathers and shrieking at any would-be intruder.

Some are just playing, others are deadly serious, so I've been trying to weed out the fakers and collect fertile eggs for when the time comes. The rabbit hutch is cleaned out and ready, so we may have chicks for Easter this year.

The green roof (above is one of the sedum plants) seems to have survived being under snow for weeks at a time and being attacked by frost. It's holding a little more water than I would like, so I may have to add some more drainage, but overall I'm pretty pleased with how it's holding up to a High Spen winter.

I realised it's been a month since I last wrote, and I'm busy trying to think of what has happened in that time. We had the Potato Day, which went down well, although we're yet to break even on the outlay, but hopefully there are still people out there who need seed potatoes!

The Greenfingers Club are back again, and it's a lovely group of mainly younger gardeners this time, who have already tried their hands at making paper potters to sow tomatoes and peas in, planting shallots, and weeding. They seem to relish every task that's thrown at them, so let's hope their enthusiasm lasts.

Personally, I never bore of sowing seeds - it's by far my favourite gardening activity (although probably on a par with eating the resulting produce). It was good to be in the new shed with my hands in the compost this week, sowing tomato and chilli seeds with the sun streaming in, a Radio 4 play on the radio and the chickens popping in for the occasional visit. The perfect mindful meditative task, if ever there was one.
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