Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2012


Seven swans a-swimming

Six deer a-laying

Five GO-OLD rings

Four cunning birds

Three duck’s legs

Two pheasant cocks

And a partridge-less wonky pear tree!

Swans on the fjord

All right, so I’m falling behind on the Twelve Days of Christmas, but I’ll catch up…

There are more – significantly more – than seven swans in the picture above. Roskilde Fjord with its shallow waters seems very popular with swans in late autumn / early winter; it seems like a gathering place for their migration South for the winter. Some swans do spend the winter in Denmark, whereas others fly South.

In “The Ugly Duckling” Hans Christian Andersen lets the swans fly South for the winter, though of course the Ugly Duckling in the fairy tale is left behind.

They were dazzling white, with long graceful necks. They were swans. They uttered a very strange cry as they unfurled their magnificent wings to fly from this cold land, away to warmer countries and to open waters. (…) It was not that he envied them, for how could he ever dare dream of wanting their marvellous beauty for himself? He would have been grateful if only the ducks would have tolerated him-the poor ugly creature.

Well, I know my other references to Hans Christian Andersen – our most famous Danish writer – have been to the darker, more depressing stories he wrote, but at least as far as The Ugly Duckling goes he’s actually showing an optimist streak:

He felt so very happy, but he wasn’t at all proud, for a good heart never grows proud. He thought about how he had been persecuted and scorned, and now he heard them all call him the most beautiful of all beautiful birds. The lilacs dipped their clusters into the stream before him, and the sun shone so warm and so heartening. He rustled his feathers and held his slender neck high, as he cried out with full heart: “I never dreamed there could be so much happiness, when I was the ugly duckling.”

You never know who you can be – or who you are going to be – and I guess this does for gardens as well. I think my lesson from this has to be that I need to open myself up to things that aren’t necessarily what I think of as “my thing”. I’ve already started – by accident – with the new bed in the lawn. I intended it to be a perennial bed, but then the only plants I had to put in it were roses and some soft-fruit bushes, so it is turning out to be more of a low shrubbery with some perennials dotted in-between. And a vacuum at the front where I will have to grow something from seed. Annuals, or maybe pretty vegetables.

It will be lovely, though absolutely not in the way I imagined when I started digging up the lawn for the bed. After all, as long as I grow something it will be lovely. I’ve got the seeds, I’ve got the bulbs; I just need to make something, any thing, happen and then I will be a success. And I do that every year, so I guess I am already a success. In other words, I rustle my feathers, hold my slender neck high and cry out with a full heart: “I am a gardener!”

Read Full Post »


Six deer a-laying

Five GO-OLD rings

Four cunning birds

Three duck’s legs

Two pheasant cocks

And a partridge-less wonky pear tree!

deer droppings

Well, I just posted about deer droppings recently, so I won’t write any more about that shit.

Of course, with a slight alteration it could have been “Six deer a-lying”, in which case I could have chosen a picture of the markings in the snow where the deer have spent the night and melted away the snow:

Deer Beds

I do love the deer, even though I’ve never exactly seen 6 in the garden at the same time. Three has been the most I’ve seen, and that tallies nicely with their sleeping spots. They’re such graceful animals, and I don’t mind loosing a rose bud or two to them every now and then. If only they’d stop walking through the peonies…

Read Full Post »


Five GO-OLD rings

Four cunning birds

Three duck’s legs

Two pheasant cocks

And a partridge-less wonky pear tree!

>Tools in our garden

Let’s face it; this is the line we all love to belch out, right?

And yes, of course it’s only one ring; I think it would look ridiculous with five wedding rings, really – or at best it would imply some sort of illegal polygamy practice.

It’s a simple band of white gold with the Flâneur Husband’s actual name engraved on the inside along with our wedding date – September 4th 2010 – and I only take it off when painting. Sometimes it gets a bit muddy, but hey; that washes off easily and for the dirtiest jobs I tend to wear gloves anyway.

(When we originally had the engraving done, the jeweller had mixed up the names so my name was in my ring and the Flâneur Husband’s was in his ring; I guess they aren’t used to same-sex wedding rings in that shop… However, they fixed it very quickly, so there was no harm done.)

Read Full Post »


Four cunning birds

Three duck’s legs

Two pheasant cocks

And a partridge-less wonky pear tree!

Robin / Erithacus rubecula

The tits have been great entertainment this winter so far, but I have to admit I have grown most fond of the solitary robin. It stops by several times a day, and it doesn’t seem to like the hanging balls so I make sure to leave one feed ball lying on the ground for him to peck at.

He’s so, well, rotund and cute, and he has a very different personality from the playful and somewhat silly tits; he hops around on the floor of the terrace and doesn’t seem to mind too much if I move around just on the other side of the windows – whereas the tits all fly away when I get up to fetch another cup of coffee…

 

Read Full Post »


Three duck’s legs

Two pheasant cocks

And a partridge-less wonky pear tree!

Confit of duck

Well, technically speaking I guess he didn’t. I’ve been the one to take a new shine to confit of duck this autumn, and I’ve made quite a few more than three legs, I’ll admit. But it is such a delicious dish; the duck boiled in fat until it is so tender that the meat literally falls apart when you stick your fork into it, and then roasted to a golden crispiness before serving. Classic French food in the best sense!

Read Full Post »


Two pheasant cocks

And a partridge-less wonky pear tree!

pheasant

Please note how there is only one pheasant cock in that picture. Again, skimping on the true love, Flâneur Husband? I mean, what’s another pheasant, really… Because yes, we only have one pheasant cock visiting our garden, and though he’s handsome, surely, and two of them might mean trouble, I think it would have been nice to then at least have a pheasant hen. But no, apparently there’s no room in the budget for more than this solitary fellow…

Read Full Post »


A partridge-less, wonky pear tree!

Wonky Pear TreeOur small pear tree has seen better days. Probably when it was a pip in a pear… The sturdy hazel rod struggles to keep it steady, as the tree seems to have very poor roots and would gladly rock 2 feet in either direction if it weren’t for the supporting rod.

Add to this that last year it yielded a total of two – TWO – pears, one of which fell to the ground before ripening and the other was eaten by birds… Also, not a partridge in sight!

And then add to that that the tree was actually in the garden when we bought it…

Is it just me, or is the Flâneur Husband being a bit cheap when it comes to partridges and pear trees?

Read Full Post »

Merry Christmas!


20121224-233603.jpg

Read Full Post »


Today it is six months – half a year – since my Dad died. It was a beautiful summer day, with the wild flowers in bloom and birds singing in the skies above.

Dad's Last Table

This picture was taken on his last evening. He had asked for a candle to be brought into the bedroom, and his younger brother and sister had stopped by earlier in the day with some flowers from their gardens and a final goodbye. There was sparkling wine, beers and a lovely mood, though saddened by the fact that we all knew the end was near. The end, or perhaps the release.

But as Suzanne Brøgger wrote:

The sorrow shall be written in water
The joy in stone

My Dad always loved fire. He loved lighting a good fire in the woodburner in the dining room on cold winter days and he loved lighting a good fire in the fire pit in the garden on warm summer evenings. He loved being the head of the family who ushered everybody into a darkened room while he light the candles on the Christmas tree and he loved filling trays with candle stubs for the 12th night.

So tonight, at the beginning of the longest night of the year, I celebrate the Winter Solstice and my Dad by sitting in a house illuminated only by candles and with a warm and comfy fire in the woodburner. And a small bonfire outside the windows.

Bonfire for Dad

So here’s to the Solstice and my Dad – and to remembering the joys we learnt from those who passed away. Like a bonfire in the middle of winter or a candle on a bedside table.

Read Full Post »


At 12:12 on 21/12/2012 the Winter Solstice will finally arrive. This means that today is the shortest day of the year, of course, and because the solstice happens just after noon the coming night will be the longest – by mere seconds. Tomorrow will be a longer day, and the night after tomorrow will be a shorter night.

Isn’t this WONDERFUL??? I know everybody talks about Christmas these days – myself included – but really the solstice beats Christmas…

Winter Solstice Sunrise

The picture above was taken at 9:15 as I was taking a walk through the forest and the sun was slowly making it’s way over the horizon. Technically speaking sunrise was at 8:41, but because of hills and trees I only saw it half an hour later.

The Solstice is of course the reason the Romans celebrated their Saturnalia – which came to define the time of Christmas, it seems, since nobody really knows when Jesus was born (let’s face it, Christian or not there is firm historical indications that a man called Jesus lived in what is now Israel in the years after 0AD; whether he was the Son of God or not is a matter I shall let others discuss) – and also the time for the Norse Yule celebrations.

So whether you are Christian or not, the holiday season is a celebration of the coming of light. For the ancient Norse it was the coming of the light of the Sun, for Christians it was the coming of the “Light of the World”. However, leaving all religion aside I think that as gardeners we should definitely celebrate the coming of the light of the Sun; just imagine, in a few months it will be time for winter aconites and snowdrops, then daffodils and tulips and before you know it we will all be saying to each other “well, maybe next year I will find time to do X, Y and Z…”

Tonight I shall be celebrating the Winter Solstice by stoking a warm fire, cuddle up with a nice book and lots of candles. Light and warmth to ward off the darkness and the cold – even if the coldest months are still to come. And then, when I grow tired, I will retreat to a warm bed, cuddle up under the duvet and blankets and do my best to sleep through the longest night and wake up to a new day that will be just a little longer than today.

Happy Solstice to all, and a Merry Christmas and a Bountiful New Year!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »