Wednesday, 13 January 2010

13th January 2010

I'm sure that everyone's as fed up as I am with pictures of snow but at the moment that's all we have. It is four weeks to the day since we last saw anything green. Looking at the depth of snow, more particularly the depth of compacted snow, it looks like being another four weeks until we do. Then, of course, will come February's snow.
Our house is around here somewhere.......

All roads, but one, out of Weardale are currently closed - have been for many days now. The snowploughs and snowblowers have been getting stuck(!).
But, we love it really. Even though today we've had to chop more logs. We sank up to our adult waists on the way to the woodpile, before employing child labour to compact the 100 yard run through the willows to the house so that we could return with the newly cut and split logs. A bitter south easterly wind was blowing, but we were all very warm indeed, as Phil chainsawed and I split the logs and Gabriel and Isaac sledged for England! Or was it for pocket money?

With children at home, snow jobs and a frozen workshop I've had no time at all to do my own work. However, I have spent hours digging out sheep. Here's a snowhole I'm particularly proud of digging, just so that my wool providers could have somewhere to stand. Don't worry, I do take them in at night.

The poor wild animals are less fortunate. It's quite heartbreaking to find all the little frozen bodies littering the ground. It will be nice to see some grass again, to feel some sun on our faces and to have a new topic of conversation.

In the meantime we're alive and well, inconvenienced, but secretly enjoying the minor hardships and we're unspeakably grateful that we live in such a realtively benign part of the world as our hearts go out to the people of Haiti.


  1. We were just wondering how you were last night - the Head Chef speculating whether you had been reduced to eating the sheep yet. We were actually snowed in for a couple of days (I was snowed in for longer as I am such a scaredy-cat on icy roads), but due to my tendency to store food in anticipation of apocalyptic events there was no need to panic. I feel that our climate is benign compared to yours, but as the water pressure dropped to almost nothing and the lights flickered, I certainly pondered on the fragility of civilization and its dependence on all sorts of invisible infrastructures. I agree that our minor inconveniences are as nothing compared to the unimaginable tragedies that so many people in this world must endure.

    Pomona x

  2. That snow-hole is surely something of which to be proud. Not just practical, but having its own unique properties/ qualities as well. I whiffed almost the same fragrance as the one approaching Slack House earlier this week, from a clearing made for sheep at the bottom of the South Tyne Valley. I was intrigued by how warm it felt out of the wind, and how soft it was underfoot, considering that it was about 4 inches of compacted ice, but with a carpet made from the remnants of hay and droppings. Woodsmoke, fresh hay and sheep droppings - now who would have thought that to be such a wonderful and evocative perfume?