I have a number of friends across the world where I don’t have a physical address I can send a card. I therefore decided to create an e-card that I could send, and dug out a photo I had taken earlier in the year when there was snow on the ground. I chose this image for a number of reasons. Firstly its got snow on it, but also you can see that it is still snowing. While white Christmas’ in the UK are rare, snow and Christmas always go together on cards. The second reason I chose this photo is for the image of the footprints and the play that I can make on the more famous footprints in the sand message story that is told in churches. (I’ll let you look it up if you don’t know it). For me its a nice way of having the Christian message of Christmas on the e-card.
I had a bit of a clear out in the gardne, removing some dead plants and cutting back some of this year’s growth on plants that need it. It’s been so mild that my spring bulbs, mainly daffodils, are starting to come through already, three months early. In repect of the colour in the garden I don’t mind at all, but my concern is what might happen to the plants if there is a sudden cold snap like at the start of this year, it could cause real damage to the bulbs while they are active rather than dormant. There’s nothing I can do but just hope.
The weather is still quite mild but I decided that it was a good time to finally move all the less hardy plants from the patio and walls into the greenhouse before they do get caught by a cold stint. Also crammed into the greenhouse were the water plants from the water features that need to avoid being in frozen water. They will now stay here for a few months and I’ll top up the water every now and again, though at this time of year they don’t need much.
With the bad weather that the winter season brings I have more time inside and have completed my first big jigsaw of the season. Given this was a second hand one there was always the possible problem that it may not have all the pieces. The word complete on the box may provide some confidence but I have learnt from experience that could be an old reference and for those who have read earlier posts, I even know that the picture on the front of a second hand jigsaw might not mean anything. It was a relief that this had all the pieces and great satisfaction in being able to put the final piece into place and view the whole thing.
Today I got my phoneline back. I still have a landline, which I apprecaite that not everyone uses, as I get a good deal on calls to other landlines. However for the last few days it’s not been working. It had started crackling when we had some bad weather recently and proceeded to get worse as time went on. In the end it just stopped working properly. I could call the phone but upon answering it died straight away. I had a look outside and noticed that the cable protecting the line into the house had been knawed at, probably by some of the local urban foxes. They had managed to totally break through the outer casing leaving it exposed to the elements. Thankfully my phone provider repairs this sort of issue free of charge and the line is now crystal clear.
Apologies for the poor quality photo, I had to zoom in on my phone and didn’t have time to get the big camera our that would have provided a better zoom.
Having restocked some of the bird feeders I had guests more or less straight away with a couple of Thrushes stocking up from the fat balls and suet cake. The one of the fat ball is easier to spot, but there is also one hanging onto the right hand side of the suet cake feeder. It just blends into the background too easily, especially when zoomed in. I was reminded to make sure the feeders were stocked up well as it’s not good for the birds to exhert energy getting to the feeders and not having enough there to replenish and stock up for a while, so as a request, if you’re reading this and have bird feeders in the garden, please keep them stocked up for the sake of the birds this winter.
One of my jobs earlier in the year was to do a minor work on the patio doors to ensure that they shut propperly for the winter with all the locking points connecting to create a proper seal from the elements outside. With that successul the next thing I want to do is to replace what is called the slave lock on one of the doors. The original one had suffered as a result of the weather being able to sneak in. While it does still work, it’s very stiff to use, often needing a screwdriver to act as a lever to help raise the bolt. Therefore, so that I can freely open both patio doors I’ve purchased a replacement lock. A few measurements and a bit of internet searching and I had found what I needed. I won’t fit it to next year as there’s no need to now, but it will be nice not to wonder if I really want to have both doors open in what I hope will be another nice summer.
One of the few issues with riding in the Arizona heat twice a year is that it affects materials in a way that cooler climes won’t. I’m talking about some sticky stuff here. Glue. I know from books I’ve taken out there (yes I’m old fashioned when it comes to reading materials) that if I’m not careful the pages detached from the effect of the heat on the glue. The same happened on my last trip with the hat band on one of my riding hats with the glue failing. Re-gluing wasn’t really an option with this type of material, but I am fortunate that I have a mother who is truely gifted with a needle and thread. While this was a relatively small job it has none the less solved the problem permenantly.
A number of years ago I had a North Face Nuptse jacket that was the warmest jacket I had ever owned. It served me well for a good number of years before it wore out. So effective was it that it even kept me warm in a stationery car with the engine off for over 3 hours while I was stuck in snow and bad weather due to an accident further up the road that needed to be cleared. At no point with it on did I feel cold. Bored and needing the toilet yes, but cold, no. After the extreme cold earlier this year and the possible threat of a repeat, I decided it was time to reinvest.
(In line with current blogging practice, I should point out that I am not being paid or receiving goods in kind by North Face to mention their product or brand).
Clearly I had chosen to turn the heating on just at the right time as much to my surprise (and most people locally), in the morning I was greated by a light dusting of snow. Compared to early in the year this is just a dusting and it will be gone by the end of the day if not sooner. However this is a fairly significant snowfall as this is the first time in 30 years that I can remember snow falling this early in the year. Whether it’s a one off or a sign that the snowshovel will need to be on hand again this year I’m not sure, but in a year where the weather has had extremes, this is just another instance of the unusual year.