Archive for Winter

Home made Christmas wreath

This year I made another Christmas wreath, from willow whips, holly and ivy growing in the woods.  It is a bit more shaped like a horse’s bridle than a round wreath, but that’s OK as it is authentic home made.  I added the bow, bauble and berries to give it a bit of colour.

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I last made one 2 years ago, here is my blog on how to make one.

https://lodgehousebandbsomerset.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/making-a-xmas-holly-wreath/

It’s a bit incongruous this year what with the scaffolding still up on the front of the house, but I thought we should try and bring the Christmas spirit in, in spite of the building works.

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Bees in the roof

The men have been working on redoing the whole roof, with new timbers and insulation (that we never had before) and relaying the tiles and slates.  However near one of the chimneys they discovered a number of bees, so Neil and Harry Pym ( the boss of the builders) donned bee suits and went up the ladders to investigate.  Neil removed tiles and found a fully formed bees nest with combs they had built themselves. They had been there some time as Neil could tell from the colour of the combs.  It would appear they had built the comb into an old chimney flue.

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He smoked the bees to pacify them and then gradually started removing the comb they had built and putting it into frames and into a hive.

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Of course there were lots of bees buzzing around all the time and Neil just hoped he had captured the queen and put her into a frame in the hive, so the other bees would follow. In spite of this neither Neil nor Harry got stung.

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He got a good view from on top of the roof.

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Neil took the frames and put them into a hive at the bottom of the garden, complete with their stores, so they have some food to keep them going, but he also put a feeder in with some sugar syrup solution as extra feed.  On a sunny day we have seen some bees coming and going so we are hoping that the hive will take and be strong to see through the winter.

In the meantime the men have now finished the roof.  It looks lovely and straight and secure.  Here they are putting in the roofing felt and insulation.

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Then finishing off the lead around the chimney.

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The roof looks really good now and is not only straight but probably good for the next 150 years!

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We should be warm and toasty with the new insulation and hopefully the bees are too in their new hive.  We shall have to watch them carefully to see they make it through into the Spring.

The B&B is still open at the moment, but will have to close temporarily in the New Year when the work to put a new supporting steel comes into my kitchen and causes lots of disruption.

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January walk up Staple Hill

Today the sun was shining and as most of the snow has cleared we took ourselves up to Staple Hill for our favourite walk.  It is about 900 feet high at Staple Hill and some of the snow was still lying in the hedgerows and on the paths.

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There was quite a chill in the air.  I think you call it bracing!!  As we rounded the corner we saw more lying snow.

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As we walked up the hill we saw that 2 trees had fallen right over the path, probably weighted down by the snow and then the winds we have had.

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One of the trees you could easily walk right under as I did.

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On the upper level the sun was peaking through the trees.

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Freshly invigorated after our walk, we made our way home via The Candlelight Inn in Bishopswood, where we stopped for a quick lunchtime bevy!!  And the best bit was that as we had the car we didn’t have to walk up the hill back home.

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At last a thaw

Today the sun is shining and the sky is blue instead of grey.  We can hear the gently drip, drip, drip as the snow is starting to thaw. There are long shadows across the land.

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In both directions………

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The snow is melting off the branches

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And the sky is bright blue

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Even more snow

Yesterday we had even more snow in Buckland St Mary, all afternoon and evening, until all the footprints were covered again and we just had a complete whiteout. And then more snow this morning.

This is the view out of the back door.

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and looking down the garden…

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The next photo is taken from the front door.  You can see from the snow on the table how much has fallen.

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Our lane outside our front garden is impassable, the snow is 8 to 10 inches thick.

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It’s very pretty to look at.  This is the view over the fields…

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Good job we have no B&B guests booked in the moment.  Firstly they wouldn’t be able to get to us and then would they find us?  Even our signed is partially covered up.

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Poor Tarquin the cat went out the front door this morning, and the snow was so deep it stuck in clumps to his underbelly and we had to go out and rescue him.  I don’t think he’ll be going out again in a hurry.

This is the view of the front of the house…

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We’ve not been out in the car since last Thursday and I think it will be a few days yet before we venture out again.  Good job we are well stocked up.

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More fun in the snow

After lunch today we went to clean the chickens out.  Even though the snow is still thick, it had to be done.  Because the chickens aren’t venturing too far into their run at the moment, they really don’t like treading on the snow, Neil managed to pick up Big Chook.  This was one of our chickens hatched from an egg last Summer which has grown into a hen one and half times bigger than all the other hens, hence its name.  We still don’t know if it is a hen or a cockerel, although it is not showing any signs of being a cock. It’s a beautiful bird.

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Tia followed us all the way down the back.  She is polydactyl, ie has extra toes, so she is also known as little big foot.  Of course she is ideally suited to walking on the snow as she has her own “snow shoes”.  I also call her my little snow tiger.

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As we walked towards the woods there were lots of animal footprints.  I think these are from a fox, although luckily he had stayed away from the chickens as they have an electric fence around their enclosure.

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This was the sight as we walked down into the woods, just beautiful….

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We noticed that a couple of trees had broken boughs where they had cracked under the weight of the snow.  Perhaps they were old trees anyway and not in a very healthy condition, but Neil will have to go in with his chainsaw when the snow has melted and cut them down.

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The sun was just shining weakly through the trees and the snow was just melting a little bit.  You can just see our well to the left of this picture.

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I really liked the look of these branches with snow on.

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Of Bees and hens and pheasants in the snow

None of the snow has cleared today.  It’s such a cold day, it’s just sitting where it fell.  Neil went down to clear the entrance to the beehive which was blocked with snow.  Not that the little bees want to come out and fly today, but they need air to circulate so they don’t suffocate.

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We’ve tried to entice the hens outside, but they don’t like putting their feet on the snow, so we cleared an area just outside the henhouse to encourage them out to scratch around and at least eat their food.  Big Chook was eating the snow.  Their water had frozen up so we put another smaller container of water nearer the hen house.  We still got 8 eggs today.  I thought they might go on strike in this bad weather, I’m surprised they are still laying.

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We have been feeding the birds, hanging up nuts and seeds. In particular we  want to ensure that the woodpeckers have sufficient suet and nuts to eat so that they won’t attack the beehive in search of honey and bees to eat.  This has happened to one of the beekeepers in the village last year.  The seeds disappear at the rate of knots, so we have also sprinkled some on the ground for the ground feeding birds like the blackbirds to peck at.  And then alongs comes Mr Pheasant thinking he will have a go at the seeds too.  He’s just like a big chicken scratching around on the ground, only he doesn’t mind his feet in the snow!!

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Our little monkey puzzle tree covered in snow looks like a mini snowman, very cute!!

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The woods look so beautiful with all the snow…..

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I particularly like this view of one of our gates in the snow.

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On the stables the snow has dripped, then frozen again, so there is quite an overhang.

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The forecasters say we are in for several days of this cold spell, so we may be snowed in for quite a while, but luckily we have plenty of supplies.

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