Sunday, 5 December 2010

A week of snow

We've had snow for over a week now. The wild birds are getting very hungry, so I've been leaving out food for them (and letting them help themselves to the food for our domestic birds too).

The snow is very beautiful, but the small roads are still quite icy .. and it feels very cold.

This picture is taken on the first snow day, as the sun started to shine through the trees.

Here it is on the same day, by the hen house.

Here's my aunts house. It's an old farmhouse and the insulation is poor, especially in the roof (which is hard to access from the inside), so the heat escapes very quickly and it can easily feel cold inside. To the other side of the picture, the kitchen extension gets VERY cold, especially as the windows are single glazed. I need my hat on before trying to start cooking!

I'm sure that if Ireland had a generally colder climate (like Germany or Sweden - they have GREAT houses) that the standard of insulation in houses would be much better, but because winters are fairly mild, we just seem to put up with the draughts and the cold.

I remember when growing up there was no central heating and in winter it could be cold getting in and out of bed etc. Even as a student I remember icicles on the inside of the windows. People were made of harder stuff in days gone by.

Of course building standards are improving, but people often miss out on insulation (better insulation means less fuel and heating costs). I keep reminding myself that soon we'll be in our own super insulated, warm and cosy home, where all the rooms are an even temperature .. and until then I'll put on extra layers when needed!

If I think we have it bad indoors, I feel for the birds outside!

Here's one of the friendly Robin's (they're all called Bob to me).

A bit of evergreen colour (Laurel?) with a smattering of snow looks very seasonal.

Here's one of the views from the top of the Drumlin.

Here's another.

The trees up top look great against the snow and the sky.

Here the ducks brave the weather.

They even go exploring (Bennie, our last chicken, takes a while longer to be convinced).

More snow falling.

I must admit that the cold and the increasing dark nights have led me to crave greenery, life and flowers. I'm not generally a fan of unseasonal produce, especially in plants, but I just had to have some colour, some growth, some bling ... so I succumbed to a bright and cheery chrysanthemum.

I've also still been sprouting seeds to eat (and putting them in the airing cupboard at night to keep them warm!), they make a welcome bit of freshness.

My need for greenery to look at has been so severe that I've taken a few microgreens and put them on my writing desk .. just so I can see something grow.

Ditto with some alfalfa sprouts.

I've never been one for putting seasonal decorations up early, I think that the pizazz would wear off too quickly, so I usually wait until winter solstice, but, this year I feel I understand the need for brightness and colour in a new way and I understand better how people want to brighten the place up earlier.

I am loving the open fire at night in the sitting room. It's makes the room very cosy (the room has a low celling and holds the heat well.) During 'snow' week, I've enjoyed spending time in the evening just playing tunes on the whistle and watching the flames dance. I imagine I'm not the first .. and I hope I'm not the last to enjoy such simple pleasures.

Sam has been joining in with the tunes when he can (he's had an ear infection and is only just able to play again) and it's a relief to see him starting to feel a bit better .. and to have him playing music again.

I don't know how long the snow will last, but I know we'll have enough tunes to see us through.

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