The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space



Photo: Snow in December 2009

Photo: Snow in December 2009

We woke to snow. I knew immediately I saw the light streaming into my bedroom. Snow light has a vibrance and intensity that’s not even matched by the sunniest day. I carried Dr Quito down the stairs and paused at the little window so he could see the snow but elderly Min Pin eyesight is not very sharp and when I opened the back door he halted on the doorstep to survey the new white world.

The snow was so light and soft that even the tiniest twig supported two inches of snow flakes. I like the crunch and creak underfoot of freshly fallen snow. In fact I love looking at snow in the cottage garden – it makes everything look so pretty and defines the hedges which are the structure of the garden here.

When I reached the kitchen garden the fleece had blown off the giant cloches and the nets over the sprouts and sprouting broccoli were heavy with snow. But the chickens had to be released before anything could be done. Baby’s castle was hunched under a layer of thick snow flakes so I opened the door and threw in some wild bird seed. This is the first time that the Italian chickens had seen snow. Massimo pecked at it and savoured it – I reckon tasting in chickens is like us touching things.

Photo: Purple sprouting broccoli

Photo: Purple sprouting broccoli

After a quick foray back to the cottage to fetch my thermal gloves and hat, I tackled the kitchen garden. Thank goodness the nets are strong as the snow was heavy. I felt like a fisherman hauling in a great catch. A lot of the sprouting broccoli plants had come away from the anchoring bamboo sticks. I used raffia instead of string to tether them – raffia is fine short term but these need support for many months so I won’t make that mistake again. Luckily I found a ball of garden jute in the kitchen yesterday – I’ll retie the plants later today. I also found a bag of cloche pegs and these will be put to immediate use securing the fleece on the cloches.

Danny returns tonight to a frosted world – I don’t think that he’ll be sipping whisky on the swing seat beside the frozen pond.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joanna

    The great thing about the heating in the cottage is that it automatically goes on when the temperature falls below zero. So the cottage is very warm and snug. Pretty nippy outside though.

    Hello Toffeeapple

    It snowed a bit more in the night. I reckon it will be around for quite a while. Homebase was full of people buying snow shovels yesterday!

    Hi Dee

    Yes the snow is good although the side roads around here are pretty treacherous. Happy Christmas to you too and let’s hope that 2010 is a really great year.

    Hi Mary

    Do you get a lot of snow in France?

    Hi Paula

    Danny was stuck in the channel tunnel all night when Eurostar failed. He’ll be sipping a whisky when he gets up this evening though!

    Hi Chris

    I’m so sorry that you’ve had bad news on the health front. Thank you for leaving a comment.

    Hello Rebecca

    -6 – now that’s cold. In the winter I bring the water fountain into the kitchen which makes the whole process easier in the morning. But this afternoon I noticed that the water was freezing in the water fountain after just a few hours.

    Hi Kate

    Wow 10″ of snow that’s far more than us. I went to the village shop to buy some eggs and nearly slipped over between the shop and the car!

  2. kate (uk)

    Howling NE wind all night yesterday and snow- about 10″- today. OK for walking before anyone had gone out, but the roads rapidly became ice rinks and the pavements not much better as the snow had a slushy layer underneath that turned to ice as the day got colder. Gave up on my attempt to reach the post box as I had to cross a steeply sloping ice rink/road that had cars turning circles on it it was so slippy!Back home to make my christmas puddings instead.

  3. I am jealous of your lovely covering of snow. We only got a scattering today as it was really too cold. -6 this morning! My chickens were confused by the ice in their water bowl – I had to melt it with water from the kettle.

  4. I loved the mental imagery of your last comment. I have just received bad news regarding my health and that mental picture cheered me up no end.
    thank you
    I adore the magic of snow too.

  5. No, but he probably wouldn’t say no to sipping whiskey next to a warm fire, which sounds alright to me!

  6. Snowed in here in Brittany. Great fun

  7. Gosh, how lucky you are. What fun. Winter is finally here – for you at any rate. Here in the South West, beside the sea, we have sea but no snow, not the slightest puff ! Thank you for all your entertaining and informative blogs. I’m glad I discovered you. I wish you a very happy Christmas and a back-to-normal-vital healthy New Year.

  8. Toffeeapple

    Yes, it’s the same here. Looks very pretty but I hope it won’t stay too long.

  9. wow you have more snow than we do, we seem to have missed it so far although they are promising about three days of it but not sure how much, we’ll see. Stay warm! And take care!

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