Thursday, 17 January 2008

Barleycorn In The Dead Of Winter

My previous post was the last I was able to squeeze in before the few remaining, hectic days leading up to Christmas.
I knew my time would be more than occupied in preparing bedrooms, writing menus for the holiday period and buying sufficient food to fill the fridge and freezer.
To be fair, judging by the quantity, anyone could be forgiven for thinking we were expecting to feed the Five Thousand.
All the while we looked forward in anticipation to our family coming home to stay over the festive season.
Whenever our family are here at Barleycorn, my whole world revolves around them.

Occasionally, I am able to snatch a few moments during the day to reply to emails or comments from friends on my website.

More often than not, however, the days are spent in a frenzy of restless creativity.
Each meal is prepared with loving kindness, for the time we spend around the family table, sharing all the latest developments in each of our children’s lives, is more precious to me than words can say.
Our house is surrounded by the garden, which greets each member with a different view as we draw open the curtains from our own individual bedroom windows each morning.
The changing mood of the garden over the festive days was a wonder to behold.

Camera at the ready, we walked around the garden, marvelling at the feeling of seclusion it afforded when it was encompassed one day by freezing fog.
For several days, temperatures below zero created a Winter wonderland of frost crystals on the bare bones of the garden.
Sleepy silhouettes of trees whose branches had been dark brown the previous day, became stiff overnight, as if standing to attention, transformed to a pristine white.
Glaucous blue needles on the cedar glittered and shone, as if Jack Frost had scattered a dusting of icing sugar, with a wave of his magic wand.
Otherwise watery ponds turned to ice - below which one could make out the leaves of waterlilies frozen in time for the duration of the cold spell - across which, much to our amusement, the cats enjoyed a spot of skating.
From the frosted window panes of the barn hung frosted strands of silk, highlighting the intricacies and skills of amazing spiders’ webs.
Outside the patio windows the bird table groaned with nuts and seeds, sultanas and raisins, crusty breads and dried cat food, so beloved by our two broods of blackbirds.
On days when the temperature rose and became milder we awoke to a fine scattering of snow, making pretty Christmas card scenes around the garden.

Depending on how cold the temperature and how heavy the hoar frost, the colour of the sky across the field adjacent to the back garden changed from cerulean blue to one sporting a shade of violet tinged with a band of pink.
Though I was busy reclaiming my role as Head Chef for the holiday period, from my vantage point in the kitchen, I can look out of the back door across to the barn and across the garden to the frozen pond and the field beyond.
Each day, the changing moods of the garden here at Barleycorn never failed to lift my spirits and feed my soul, so much so, that my joy was complete, both from within and without my home.
Click on each photo to enlarge...and feel the chill!

Fancy a warm coat to keep out the winter chills? Click here


shirl said...

Hi again, Wildlife Gardener :-)

What beautiful scenes from your winter garden! It is a truely a magical place :-D

I too love to see the bare bones of the garden in winter. I see your part of Scotland has seen much more of winter's cloak than mine so far. :-D

Wishing you all the best for 2008 :-D

Marie said...

Beautiful winter photos!

Have a nice evening :)

Cheryl said...

Your winter pics are stunning,felt as if I was walking your garden with you. My grandfather came from Scotland and I have visited several times. The photographs bring the magic of this wonderful place to everyone. Made my morning. Thank you.

Anonymous said...
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Sheila said...

Nice to see you back WG..xx
The garden is magical, as always, and the frost makes it more so.
I should never get anything done with views like looks wonderful..

A wildlife gardener said...

A warm welcome to you, dear Shirl...and a Happy Gardening New Year to you too :)

We have had some great frosty days...ideal for keeping away those winter blues :)

Hello, Marie, so lovely to have you visit the garden too. Every good wish for 2008 :)

Thanks for your generous comments, Cheryl. A Scottish grandfather - we have more and more in common :)

Best wishes for 2008, dear Sheila :) Frosty days are always a breath of fresh air, aren't they? Thanks for your generous comments :)

Sally said...

Beautiful photos W.G. I'm so happy you had your family over the holidays. I did too! What fun!!

Chris said...

Stunning photos! Winter wonderland :-)

kate said...

I am so glad that you've returned to blogland. It was enjoyable to saunter along with you through Barleycorn. It looked very winter-like.

Happy New Year - I imagine you had a wonderful time with your family over the holiday season.

Libbys Blog said...

Thank you so much for sharing your winter garden with us.
I, like you enjoy, love, soak up every little minute the family are home with us, so find I spend alot less time on the computer. Lets be honestm who would surrounded by your nearest and dearest! I love my lot heaps!

Barbara said...

Wonderful pictures of a beautiful winter scenery in your garden. It is so nice to read again your post and to hear how you spent the last weeks. I'm glad you're fine!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Ah, you're back. Wonderful pics of that gorgeous winter wonderland at Barleycorn. I love frozen mist, it's one of the most beautiful things to behold. It looks like everything outside is covered in a fine layer of pearls and diamonds.

Britt-Arnhild said...

Your Christmas was very much the same as ours :-)

Your photos are magical.

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martin said...

Happy new year to you both. We wondered where you had gone. It looks wonderful there. Have a great weekend.

Miranda Bell said...

Love the photos - it could be Brittany! Looks like we had the same weather over the festive period... it's pretty mild here now and a great time to get plenty of pruning done before the spring... look forward to more developments over the coming months.. Miranda

Sandy said...

I kept checking but assumed you must be busy and the photos and commentary are well worth the wait. Loved the whole post. All the best to you.


A wildlife gardener said...

Happy New Year, Everyone! Happy gardening in 2008!

Good morning , dear Sally. I agree with you that Christmas would not be the same without our family around the festive table. thank you for visiting :)

A warm welcome to you, Chris. I'm glad you liked the photos. Thank you for the compliments :)

Hello, dear Kate. The festive season was frenetically busy but very enjoyable, thank you. We all enjoyed the 'magic' of the frosty scenes here at Barleycorn :)

Bless you, dear Libby, you hit the nail on the head. I agree that family (and friends) matter most in life, and when they visit, everything else takes a back seat for a while :)

I am well, thank you, dear Barbara. I did wonder if my blogging pals would bother to visit me since I had been neglecting them for the past month :)

We are having showers of heavy sleet as I type, dear Yolanda Elizabet, so I wish you a warm welcome, and thank you for your patience in waiting for a reply. I just seemed to be so busy cooking every day, but I enjoyed the atmosphere while the family were here. I'm glad you liked the photos
of the frozen mists :)

Nice to see you again, dear Britt-Arnhild. It seems we have a lot in common and enjoyed our family Christmas. Thank you for your kind words :)

It's so good to have your company, dear Martin. How's the lovely Wendy? I hopw this year brings you both everything you wish for yourselves, with good health and happy days too :)

Great to see you, Miranda. We will be in Brittany in September this year as our younger son is getting married to his Parisian fiancee then. We are very much looking forward to seeing Brittany, and hopefully, some of the gardens there too :)

Thank you for your patience, dear Sandy, and for the lovely compliments :)

Kylee said...

Oh what beautiful pictures of the hoarfrost! I love the spider web one the best, I think.

A wildlife gardener said...

Good morning to you, Kylee, from a wet and windswept Barleycorn. I much prefer the frosty days which show the intricate patterns of the clever spiders' webs :)

Naturegirl said...

Jack Frost had scattered a dusting of icing sugar for sure in your corner of the world! Stunning photos!
hugs NG

A wildlife gardener said...

Lovely to have your company, Nature Girl, on this morning of heavy sleet showers. I prefer Jack Frost, though regardless of sleet or frost or snow, the snowdrops are coming through :)

Ruth Welter said...

Ow, I love all the beautiful frosty photos...frost looks so pretty on the landscape and all the plants.

A wildlife gardener said...

Thanks, dear Ruth. I'm glad you liked the photos. Great to have your company :)

Bimbimbie said...

I love the enchanted wonderland the hoar frost created, just beautiful ... yes two coat and shoe weather*!*

A wildlife gardener said...

A warm welcome to you, Bimbimbie on this day of gales and rain. It makes a change from the heavy frosty days :)

Wanda said...

Well here I am. Thanks for the invitation...I will be back to visit you, and when you paint another lovely...let me know.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Wow, what a gorgeous landscape you have! And reading that you just happened to drive by when it's for sale--now their's some divine directive / opportunity. If you ever need more family, look me up, I'd love to visit and write for a while. Lovely site.

Piondröm said...

Nice photos!
In Sweden is it raining whith hard wind, not so nice.
Regards Ken

A wildlife gardener said...

Good morning, dear Wanda. Lovely to have your company on this wet and windswept day with gales up to 70 miles per hour! I hope to have another painting to show you soon :)

Thank you for introducing yourself, Benjamin Vogt, to our little corner of paradise. You are most welcome. 'Haste ye back', which, in Scots, means 'Come again soon' :)

A warm welcome to you too, Piondrom. It's lovely to meet you. I think we are sharing similar weather at the moment. We must be patient and look for signs of Spring :)

smilnsigh said...

Many happy days in '08, to you too!

I simply don't have the words to do justice to your photos. They capture the beauty of Winter, so wonderfully. I love them. What more can I say?


smilnsigh said...

Hi again. I belong to a Daily Photo Blog from around the world. Just now, I deviated from the usual norm of posting a photo from my city. And I posted this. I hope you don't mind.

But since your blog is on the World Wide Net, I doubt you would mind if some more people came by and enjoyed it.

I hope they do...


imac said...

WOW factor.
Mari-Nanci sent me over.

A wildlife gardener said...

A warm welocme on this blustery Sunday, dear smilnsigh, to our little corner of paradise.

Thank you for the lovely comments about the Winter photos of the garden.

I am so flattered that you thought my post worthy mention on your Daily Photo Blog. Your generosity overwhelms me. Thank you so much :)

Thank you for introducing yourself, Imac, through reading about my blog on Smilnsigh's Daily Photo Blog. What a compliment :)

Layanee said...

Gorgeous pictures...your comments on cooking for your family left me strangely hungry! Lucky them!

Linda Lunda said...

What beautiful scenes from your winter garden! I just love them!!
Thank you for your comments in my blogg.
I have tryed to right in English in my previuos blogging.

Cheryl said...

Thank you for the most beautiful words that you wrote about my granddaughter. Like you my children and grandchildren are everything to me. Darling Poppi stays regularly and all my time is given to her, my grandson is at school, he's 4, but in the holidays he will stay. I adore them both, and thank God for them everyday, I have been truly blessed. They love my garden and have such fun here. Poppi has an affinity with nature and dear Riley is a tree hugger. They are such fun.

Kari & Kijsa said...

Brrrrr! those photos are so beautiful, but we are a bit chilly now!!

kari & kijsa

mightymatt1313 said...

The frost pictures are beautiful, but I don't miss it. Being in Zone 8-9 we hardly need to worry about the frost, just hurricanes.

A wildlife gardener said...

Good afternoon, Everyone, and a warm welcome to you all.

Glad you liked the photos, Layanee. Reading about food always makes me hungry too :)

Your English is coming along nicely, Linda Lunda. Much better than my Swedish which is non-existent :)

I agree with you that children bring their own special magic, Cheryl :)

They are certainly photos of a freezing landscape, Kari & Kijsa, and give one the shivers :)

Thank you for introducing yourself, Mightymatt1313. Glad we get few hurricanes :)