Slow painting

Saturday 27 November 2010

First snowfall 2010

Normally we don't expect snow until after Christmas, but this is apparently Britain's earliest snowfall for 17 years. Blizzards to the north and south of us, but Edinburgh has had a genteel dusting of snow overnight.

This is my for-the-record photo, taken this morning, of the new fence going up in our back garden. It's now finished, but it was too cold for the landscaper to build a section of brick wall - the cement wouldn't harden - so that is left over for warmer days.

I have no scenic shots of Edinburgh to show you. I WAS in town today, taken on a Christmas shopping expedition by my daughter. The castle looked beautiful in the snow, but we were too busy trying to keep our feet on the slippy, icy, untreated pavements to take photos. I imagine we'll be getting less clearing and sanding of pavements from now on as the funding cuts bite.

So all I can offer is this shot of a bus shelter roof and sign, taken from the top deck of the number 11 bus. The snow plastered on the sign shows that the snow came from the east, always our coldest quarter. The huddle of sheds beyond is the back of the Christmas market, which I can reassure you does look more attractive from the front. Beyond that, against the sky, is the outline of the castle.

My mind is less on snow just now tho than what climbers I'm going to train against my new fence. All suggestions for a small garden welcome.

See more of the white stuff at the 2010 First Snowfall Project.

Sunday 21 November 2010

French fungal delights

Mushrooms in profusion yesterday at a Saturday morning street market in Lyon, France. I was there for a conference, and just had a short time to walk through the market. I wish now I'd taken more photos, as the local produce was heaped up in profusion. But my colleague and I were pretending that we were residents, out shopping for ingredients for the gourmet meal we were going to cook later. Snapping away with the camera would have ruined our disguise.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day November

A little patch of colour at the allotment site, amid the prevailing dun colours of bare earth and fallen leaves. A strip of woodland borders the road in to the site. The trees are mature ash, sycamore and chestnut for the most part, with a light under-canopy where volunteers maintain little patches of flowers. The rest is left as natural habitat, complete with decaying logs and nettles and all that good stuff. Rather a blurry shot - if I can remember as far back as Sunday, after a hectic start to the week, it was breezy.

By contrast, all I could muster from my own garden yesterday morning was this stalwart fuchsia, which has now decided to bloom after sulking all summer. Normally I bring out my big camera to photograph flowers, but this shot was snatched in the brief moment I had before leaving the house for work. Rubbish exposure - I was in a tearing hurry! Since it's dark by the time I return home it was the best I could do. Note the frosty edging to the leaves.

More blooms are at Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Essence of November

Since childhood this illustration has been the essence of November for me. It's the weather we woke up to this morning, and it's this dark, dripping chill of November days that would prevent me ever emigrating to year-round sunshine.

Charles Tunnicliffe's illustrations for the Ladybird series 'What to Look For' (in Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer) are a double delight for me today. They're a link with the turning seasons, from which I feel cut off in the city. They also show British farming as I remember it as a child - open tractors with metal seats, potatoes picked by hand, stooks of oats and barley dotting the fields rather than huge circular bales encased in black polythene.

(illustration copyright Ladybird Books. I requested permission from Ladybird to reproduce the illustration but haven't had a reply.)

Getting the garlic in

I surprised myself by planting garlic within a week of its arrival from The Really Garlicky Company. Normally it lies around in the garage for a few weeks and begins to sprout. The individual cloves were plump, only four to a bulb. We'll see how they do in our soil. On the day I planted them, the soil was pretty heavy. The planting instructions did say that if you had heavy soil you should plant them in a ridge, but I was out of time for ridge construction, so just pushed them straight in.

Next on the agenda is digging in the green manure.

By this time the leaves from the ash tree nearby will all have fallen, and a good number of them will be on the green manure. Perhaps we'll end up with a leaf mould/phacelia cross.

It's raining again today, making this afternoon's planned digging session unlikely. But I think I'll go along with the household green waste, if only for the pleasure of a walk in the chill rain and fallen leaves.

Saturday 6 November 2010

12 photos - October and November 2010

October's photo got lost in the general pace of life. The things I notice looking at it now are the lush, bright green grass, and the hazy blue of the phacelia between the blackcurrent bushes and the raspberries.

By last weekend, in the shot below, all growth is shrinking back. The phacelia has been cut back again, this time with a hand-held sickle. The raspberry canes have been thinned out to 7 canes per plant. Not much sign of growth in the broccoli and kale within the brassica cage. I planted them far too late, so all I'm hoping for is that they make it through the winter and then put on a spurt in the spring.

The one thing that doesn't seem to be shrinking is the central path. These 12 photos will be our best motivator for tackling it. Unlikely to be this weekend, tho. Another golden morning has turned into a wet afternoon. From the living room window I can see the white trunk and yellow leaves of a birch tree glowing against the dark sky. We have the lights on at 3.30, and I'm blissfully happy with one eye on Australia beating Wales at rugby, which my husband and son are watching, the latter home from university for the weekend. The path will wait.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Golden day

Sunday made up for being the day that British Summer Time ended by putting on a glorious, golden afternoon. It was hard to tear ourselves away from the plot, but we had to get home to work in the garden - a big pruning exercise of the 'Albertine' rambling rose. By the time my husband was cutting up the last stems to fit them into the recycling bin it was dark. How quickly the golden light faded.