KEEPING BUSY IN THE WINTER

There is only so much I can do on the allotment during the winter. The days are short, that stops me working quite early in the afternoon, even if the weather allows it.

The digging is done, even though I thought of the ‘no dig’ policy. I know a lot of gardeners swear by it but I just love digging; there is nothing more satisfactory than digging, seeing the ground clear of weeds and ready for another season.

Of course there is tidying to do, collecting long hazel sticks or bamboo poles for next year’s climbing beans, sorting out seeds, washing pots – but eventually all is done because I like to tidy up as I go along so I don’t have a mountain of pots to wash.

There are indoor activities that require clean hands and sitting down or being in the kitchen . One is making blankets. I love making something out of a few bits and pieces – my Grandma was a master in this area, I’m nothing compared with her.

My blankets are made from old wool, that’s why they are made of squares so the difference in shade doesn’t matter.

Here I made two, for a little boy and a little girl and I hope they’ll like to lie on them when they’re a bit bigger, in the spring perhaps.

My bread making is not just a winter occupation but a whole year job. I feel that the bought bread tastes too salty and if I make it myself I can control that. Also I get my flour from a mill – Shipton Mill does a mail order service; I have worked it out that 3 times per year is just right to order my flour.

January is usually the perfect time to make orange marmalade because the Seville oranges are available in the shops. No sooner said than done – 2 kilos of oranges, a few lemons, sugar and a lot of patience and there’s the result. It should last the whole year. I know I could use other oranges but the bitter Seville ones are ideal.

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