Sunday, 4 January 2015

A pale dawn, a new year.

Well we survived 2014 and all that it threw at us and here we stand at the dawn of 2015.  Today I am not going to look back or look forward.  Let us just be in today.

It is cold and crisp, the sun is shining.  Now, approaching noon, those fields which face the sun have been  washed green.  Those in shadow still hang on to the grey frost which silvered all the landscape as the sun came up this morning in a wash of pink and grey.



Ian is in bed with the worst flu I have seen in a long time.  I take him a sweet tea and another blanket and go outside to check on the hens.


There is ice on the pond and I break the ice on the hens' water drinkers.  The hens are congregating on the roof of one of the houses to catch the sun.


This is the point of the year when I feel the need to poke around, searching for signs of new growth.  Yes, the yew tree is full of birds.  Yes, the holly shines and the ivy flowers catch the sun.  Yes, the Christmas wreath on the door still looks like a celebration.


But it is new growth I want and I find some first in the side garden, the marbled leaves of Arum Italicum.


I love this.  I bought this plant as a tiny spear in a three inch pot from Great Dixter on a visit in 2009.  It seems astonishing that it is so long ago but that is what my blog tells me.  The RHS site tells me the plant can grow to as much as eighteen inches across.  Mine is about nine inches now but it may never attain its greatest stature on my soil and at my height.


The snowdrops are beginning to push up amongst the twigs and debris at the bottom of the dry stone walls.


This will be our tenth spring here, when it comes, and I know now that the first daffodils will appear in the sunniest spots in the field, under the big apple tree or by the wild cherry.  I go to look and sure enough there are the first snouts amongst the leaf litter at the foot of the cherry tree.


The flowers are breaking on the bare branches of the hamamelis mollis.  I go back inside to make Ian another cup of sweetened tea and to light the fire.  Spring will come.

57 comments:

  1. I've not spotted many signs of life here yet - I expect they'll come. Nothing on the Hamamellis sadly - those bright pots of colour on bare branches are so welcome.

    Today has been very frosty firstly with sun, then a chill, rather spooky mist came over. The fire is lit now and i shall join the dog in front of it shortly.

    Best wishes to you both - hope Ian feels better soon.

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    1. Happy New Year to you two too. It's funny how often we don't have mist when all around do. Must me one of the reasons they built the hillforts up here!

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  2. Always contrary, I love the winter gloom. Removes the dilemma about whether I should be indoors or out. Peaceful. But this is also a sicky household right now, recovering from a Christmas blighted by a nasty chest infection. First me, getting wonderfully looked after, then him - and us both struggling! Hope you are saved from that, Elizabeth.

    So we're sitting by the fire feeling a bit low, thinking of you and poorly Ian now, and wishing you a new year that brightens with every new day. Give him our love. Xxx

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    1. I am crossing my fingers that I escape! It looks so rough, and Ian is a toughie, that I think I would be on the floor for a fortnight. So far so good...
      Hope you are both on the mend. And yes, I too have a sneaking relief when winter comes and it all stops growing and I can stay inside without guilt.

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  3. Oh poor Ian, I do hope he feels better soon.
    On days like this it is very tempting to think of Spring. The snowdrops are opening here, although I haven't spotted any signs of daffodils yet. I know the worst of the winter weather is yet to come but thoughts of longer days and higher temperatures do keep me going.

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    1. February is the month I like least but even then I hang on to the sense that every day is just a little lighter. Having chickens helps a lot with this!

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  4. I must go and search for snowdrops tomorrow.
    Hope You don't go down with the bug
    Happy new year

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    1. Thanks for both new year and good health wishes! Not sure how we would manage if I went down too so keeping everything crossed that I escape.

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  5. I wish you and your family a happy, healthy new year! May your husband recover soon and may you not catch the nasty thing! I enjoyed following you as you discovered signs of life. It was inspiring. Thank you.

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    1. It is a lovely thing to do to find signs of spring right in the depths of winter. I always do it in the new year and I can usually find something!

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  6. Happy new year, Elizabeth! I hope Ian feels better soon. I love your wreath. It's so green in England - our woods are blanketed in fresh snow.

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    1. I love the idea of snow and love ours here for twenty four hours or so. After that the way it complicates life makes me happy to see it go. I suppose all the infrastructure and support systems where you are assume the coming of the winter snow and cope with it!

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  7. Isn't it amazing that when nature is supposed to be asleep, new growth is already popping. Here in the desert it just takes a bit of moisture and we have had a little bit of snow.

    I wish bulbs would do well here, but they are eaten by all the wildlife, and I miss the fragrance of the hamamelis. Weather is warming and I am starting to think "garden".

    I hope Ian recovers soon, stay well yourself.

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    1. I love the idea of the impact of moisture on your desert! How different our places are!

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  8. Another lovely blog. Thank you for posting. Hope Ian's feeling better soon

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  9. Hi Elizabeth, lovely pics and yes, the spring will come, but I think it will take some more time:-) Gute Besserung for Ian. I hope he will feeling better soon.

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    1. Thank you Inge. We usually get our coldest weather here in January and February so I know it is still to come but at least there are reminders that it won't last for ever!

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  10. Slightly south and west of you there are signs of things that haven't quite made up their mind that sprung into action over Christmas ~ as in a rose, a rambler rose, and a few other things desperately confused over the season ~~~
    Really enjoyed your images today, the landscapes look so peaceful, and I love the hamamelis ~ one of my favourites ~ I think your photograph is worthy of a frame, and certainly is inspirational for a piece of textile or other art work.
    Hope Ian feels better soon ~~~Deb {just south and west of you}

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    1. p.s. would you mind if I pinned the image of the hamamelis? I always ask, and completely understand if you say no.

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    2. Thank you for both your comments Deborah and of course I don't mind if you pin the hamamelis! I am flattered to be asked.

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  11. I'm hearing about so many in blogdom that have come down with the flu. Hope Ian gets well soon. It's good to see the hope of Spring in the midst of Winter!

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    1. There seem to be some nasty bugs around right now, as I suppose there are every winter. Hope this one is on its way very soon!

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  12. Hello Elizabeth. Oh how I've enjoyed the last few minutes here. I've missed visiting my favourite blogs so much and yours in particular is a sanctuary away from the clamour of Twitter, my inbox and all that goes on there. I swear my blood pressure has dropped several points since I've read your last few posts. Thankyou. So sorry to hear about Ian's 'flu and your Mum's falls. The sight of your bulbs peeping up has cheered me no end. I do hope 2015 holds good things in store. I have to admit that I'm thrilled at the thought of Spring approaching. Emma x

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    1. So nice to see you here emma! I always struggle with winter and long for spring so have become a bit expert at tracking down the signs.

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  13. Elizabeth, best wishes to you and Ian for a Happy 2015...and may this new year soon be flu free around your home.

    I so appreciated your pictures of what is going on in your garden. Seeing the photo that shows some fields brightly green in the sun, while other neighboring fields still chill in their frosty shadows really does give me a good appreciation of your beautiful part of Wales.

    I am really looking forward to many more visits to your site this year, and still yearning to actually find my way to north Wales.

    xo

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    1. You see seasons very clearly out here. I will show you when you come!

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  14. Hope Ian improves soon. Wonderful photos. Happy New Year to you both.

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    1. And to you Susan! Is it warm down there?

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  15. Best wishes, Elizabeth, for a good 2015, and I hope that the flu is by now in retreat (and that it hasn't spread any further). I love this time of year - or at least I do once things start to appear. I was encouraged to see such signs in your garden if not my own yet … and I just love the hens.

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    1. I'm surprised I have things showing when you do not! I always think your coastal position gives you a week or two on me. And best wishes for the coming year to you too. Hope to see you soon.

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  16. Best wishes to Ian and hope you avoid the dreaded lurgy.
    It seems unfair that you have so many signs of life and there are none in my garden on The Wirral. But I am glad for your sake that you have.
    I'm trying to persuade my wife that what we need this Spring is a holiday cottage in the Clwydian range! Who knows, perhaps I'll succeed and we'll get to meet.

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    1. So far I am still resisting the lurgi! It would be lovely to see you here. Do feel free to drop me an email and just come over for a look at the cottage if you would like to.

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  17. I'm beguiled by the idea of daffodil snouts !
    I do hope that your husband is over the worst by now and that you escape ... March is within sight .

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    1. I don't know why I always think of the first showing of daffodils as snouts but I do!

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  18. Best to Ian, no doubt he'll be well soon, as he has such a tender ministering angel bringing him tea sweetened with love.

    As for the garden, I rather panic when I see the daffodils peeking up this early. Here on Long Island, we sometimes get these winter warm spells that fool the flowers into trying to come up, and then February comes down like a ton of ice and foredoes them quite. I've never seen anything like your Arum Italicum - must look it up and see if it will grow here! So beautiful! And hardy!

    We have snowdrops here, too... but only a small patch of them that doesn't seem to spread out the way they do in England. Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and buy some bulbs this fall, and spread them myself! 8-)

    Best to you and yours in this new year, Elizabeth!

    P.S. Love the wee lights on your eaves in the header photo!

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    1. Now if you want to spread your snowdrops about I would suggest not buying bulbs but either splitting yours up into little clumps of seven or so just after they have flowered or buying them like that, as plants, in the green. Never had any success with bulbs myself!

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  19. What a lovely wintery view of your hills. I love the way there are signs of Spring everywhere once we get into January. Nice fat shoots and plump buds. The chickens have the right idea. Perhaps you should join them and try to grab a few rays of sun.
    A beautiful shot of your Hamamelis. What a joy it is.

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    1. I do love the hamamelis. Every year it looks so dull for most of the time and every year it redeems itself when it flowers and nothing else is.

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  20. Yes Spring will come but it's seeming like an awfully long wait. I must go and poke around a bit too. You have encouraged me. Your witch hazel must smell gorgeous. Do you bring it in? I'm so sorry you have had illness in the family. We have escaped so far. This is a relief. I am not a very patient nurse.

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    1. I do bring the witch hazel in sometimes although I haven't as yet this year. You have reminded me what a good idea that is!

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  21. We are far, far away yet from spring. Our dark winter has only just begun bringing with it frigid cold and soon enough, snow. Your hills are beautiful though and I have enjoyed seeing them.

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    1. I am really hoping we avoid the snow this year. It looks simply stunning but because we are driving a lot it does make life more difficult. When do you begin to see spring?

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  22. Spring will come - there are signs here too. I wish for you a year that fulfills the promise of that new growth. There will be joy and satisfaction and peace.

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    1. I wish the same for you Pondside. I think of you often and send my very best wishes to you and your family.

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  23. When we lived in Kentucky (home of the renowned Bluegrass) the winters were always miserably dark and grey. Late January and early February would always find me scrabbling in the snow behind an old stone garden bench, where the crocus always made their first appearance. As soon as I saw those little green grasslike spears, I knew everything would soon be all right. Coming from brutally cold Seoul, I have been shocked at how warm and springlike Bristol is! Walking along the harbour path yesterday, I saw what looked like cherry blossoms on several trees, and some sort of yellow daisylike plant as well! I don't know if this is normal or if there's been an odd warm spell, but I'm appreciating it either way. Here's hoping that 2015 will be a peaceful, happy, gentle year of small miracles and great joys for you. xx

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    1. It has been a fairly mild winter so far Caroline but even when it is hard I don't think it ever gets like Seoul! So glad to hear you are in Bristol. I do hope we can meet. A very warm welcome to the UK!

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  24. I like the pictures and the Christmas wreath is amazing! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you and welcome to the blog. Good to have you here.

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  25. Such a gentle start to the year in this post, however chilly. I do hope Ian recovers quickly. And may 2015 henceforth bring you only good things.

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    1. I think we look to 2015 with some apprehension but as pondside says, there will also be joy and satisfaction and good things. I hope your year is a good one.

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  26. Lovely, lovely, lovely! Thank you! Round my garden, I see the Viburnum bodnatense 'pink dawn' in full bloom, wafting fragrance everywhere. Ditto the Mahonia . . . .the hellebore buds are swelling. . . .still lots of room for a good few chills, some snow and ice, but it's so reassuring to be reminded of spring. . . .Happy New Year to you and yours.

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    1. And to you Frances. I look forward to reading your blog and seeing how the year unfolds for you as you make the big change!

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  27. Hello - my first visit after reading your comment over at my blog.
    Lovely photos, and plenty to look back over. I'm looking forward to a return trip to your Welsh hills!
    Sarah.

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    1. So glad you like it here. It is a very beautiful part of the world. And glad to have met you too.

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  28. Your vast view is one of the most charming I have seen... and the pic at the top of your page, I am assuming it is your home, so very lovely... and inviting.. you live in most satisfying surroundings. cheers to the new year.

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  29. Yes, that is our house. We do live it, though it can feel a bit far away!

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