Melanie’s January Journal

Welcome to our first months news for 2024. I am starting this year with a new title theme for my Melanie’s monthly blog posts. This year the titles will be a multitude of musings and this month it is called “Melanie’s January Journal”.

We hope that you all had a lovely festive season and New Year. As always this month has flown by and Nicholas and myself are back to drawing and painting already. We have had some deadline artwork to create for birthday’s so have been beavering away in the studio. The weather hasn’t been all that great, but the snowdrops are juts peeping through so that gives us a sign that spring is on its way… albeit slowly, but it is.

We have just been through two storms and have had some snowy weather too. So I’ll be happy to see spring arrive. This was the sky yesterday morning when I went out for a little jog. Wasn’t it beautiful! No photoshopping, just straight from my phone.

Melanie's January Journal

We didn’t get a lot of snow, just a little scattering on the roads, but it was enough to keep us home for a few days. We live at the top of a hill out of the village so to get up and down the road can be a little treacherous. Water runs from the fields onto the road and makes it quite icy.

A number of people have skidded and spun, plus vehicles ending up in the ditches. Our local garage pulls quite a few cars out of the ditch with their tractor each winter. So we always play it safe and keep our car safe too. We did take a crispy, crunchy walk in it though and Lily enjoyed it!

Snowy days

Gardening in a Cold Spell

I have also taken the opportunity to have a tidy in the garden in the still, winter weather. We had some old fence panels that we had stored from when we replaced the fence, along with some old wood and pallets. So it felt good to have a clearing day in the garden with a bonfire. As you can see the fire went really well!

Bonfires in the garden

Melanie’s January Journal – Woodshed Tidying!

The storms has been quite harsh this year causing a lots of damage in peoples gardens and it damaged two temporary wood stores in our garden. We were storing lots of rounds of wood to be split in the spring. Without cover, they were all getting wet so something had to be done. So I consolidated two log sheds, emptying one and filling the middle bay completely.

Melanie's January Journal

While I was moving the logs from one shed to another I not only came across a sleeping queen wasp, but I also found this beautiful peacock butterfly. It was sleeping, hibernating all closed up, but as it was a lovely day it opened its wings right up for me to take photos. I carefully put it in the other shed so that it can go back to sleeping for the rest of the winter.

peacock butterfly

Storing the Large Rounds

So having an empty shed, enabled Nicholas and myself to bring up the large rounds from the garden. I wheelbarrowed them up and Nicholas stacked them in the shed for storing until he can split them in the spring. They can then go back outside in another temporary store and we can fill this one with wood to use next winter. Its a lot of work, but we have had quite a few old ash trees down in the last few years so there is a lot of swapping and changing going on in the garden. It’s hard work and takes a long time but it does keep us fit … and warm in the winter!

Logs in the woodshed

Here is the side of the shed, you can see how large the rounds are, they were quite heavy to not only lift into the wheelbarrow but also bring up the garden. In a few years when all of our own wood has been used, we will have to source ready seasoned logs. We have had them before and they bring them to the front of the cottage and we trundle them around to our back garden and stack them in these sheds. But that wont be for a few years yet.

Melanie's January Journal

Birthday Beach Visits and Storms

Here are a few photos from our day out to Pembrokeshire on my birthday. Having a winter birthday always comes with it’s share of wintery weather. This year was no exception and in actual fact there was a storm and it was very windy and rainy. We decided to pick up some lunch from our local supermarket and head down to the beach to eat them. Not on the beach I might add, in the car! We didn’t get much of a walk either side of lunch, but it was lovely to just sit back, relax and enjoy the views. Also enjoy watching people walking the beach in the rain with their dogs!

Melanie and Nicholas on Melanie's Birthday!

The views and colour of the sky was spectacular! In the photo below you can see the rain coming down in the distance, behind quite a bright sky. Somewhere up the coast it was brighter! The colours are just amazing. It was a lovely place to spend a couple of hours watching the different variations of weather come and go.

Wisemans Bridge in a storm

Lily our Tibetan Terrier enjoyed it. She doesn’t really like the rain, but she loves the beach and really does love walking here. We love it too, especially in the summer as there is an amazing cake shop right at the end of the walk. There is a pretty good hot chocolate place half way to the cake shop too!!

Tibetan Terrier Lily

We did manage to walk from the carpark which you can just about see on the left of the photo. So we did get a short walk. We will go back, cant wait for the spring to arrive when the cake and hot chocolate shop will be open once again!

Melanie's January Journal

Ells Kitchen

And finally… I won a competition! A newish food truck in our village asked on Facebook what customers would like to be added to their specials board. The winners ideas would be added to their board in the coming weeks. Plus they would get a free sample of their chosen dish. My idea was pancakes with blueberries and Maple syrup. I thought its the kind of thing you can have for breakfast, a sweet afternoon treat, or pretty much anytime.

They loved the idea and was so pleased to win! So myself, Nicholas, and our friends Harvey and Hannah all went to sample the pancakes. They also added raspberries and crème Fraiche! What we didn’t realise was that although I had thought mine would be free because I had won, the owners treated us all! Our samples were complimentary, but they did ask if they were able to take photos of us in front of the food truck with the pancakes. Of Course!! We are always up for photoshoots! The pancakes were absolutely delicious, we all loved them and we will definitely be back for more! And before you say it.. Lily didn’t get left out, the owners of Ells Kitchen gave her a huge biscuit bone!

Melanie’s January Journal

Well I hope you have enjoyed my Melanie’s January Journal. As mentioned in my Christmas blog post I’m going back to having a few blog posts per month, similar to pre covid times. Some business posts, some dedicated artwork posts and of course our personal monthly blog post. I hope that there will be something for everyone to read. Plus of course I always love to hear feedback. Let me know what you would like us to post here, we are always all ears! Stay tuned for more to come in February and wherever you are, enjoy yourselves and keep well!

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