…it snowed – and snowed and snowed. None of the children had ever seen snow falling so this was a real treat. It took me all of 5 minutes to tire of the novelty, as memories of the slipping and sliding and slushy mud came flooding back!

We’ve had a stifling hot month – I spent the whole time with my hair soaking and dripping face, impossible to do anything vaguely energetic until after 5 p.m. The ground got absolutely dried out, and now we can’t have the hose on untended at all, and only water by hand alternate days. I swear you imported those blasted little ants, I’ve never seen them before! There’s not a lot but enough.

Spring is under way, though rudely interrupted today by a howling gale with many showers of rain and lowering clouds. X says rain makes the ewes produce their lambs – but our last three are showing no signs at all and look as though they are going to give it a miss this year. But the egg yield seems to be going up again, just when I have been expecting the hens all to go broody. They have overheard my remarks about the deep freeze and be laying for their lives! – though a more prosaic suggestion is that the days are getting longer!

The hens are threatened

Officially the last day of winter here, and I must say it has been looking and feeling like it. Driving hard drizzle all the morning, and I lit the sitting room fire after breakfast and have been very glad to keep it going this afternoon while I have been writing letters.

There are some vague signs of spring, including cherry blossom in the orchard and plum very nearly ready to come out too, though it is wettish and a cold wind today. The grass is growing a little, but I have taken to giving the sheep a ration of nuts daily, as well as some of the hay I made last year, which they eat to a certain extent though a good deal just gets pulled out of my improvised hayrack and trodden about. Still quite a triumph that they eat it at all. It reduces the sheepnut expense a bit. Lambs are due any time after the 23rd. I haven’t managed to get anything into the veg garden yet.

6.30 p.m. and another day vanished away like morning frost in the sun.

Then to look out of the window, knowing it is cold enough to kill you if you stayed out for only a short while, but seeing those fantastic mountains.

We have had a good winter here. It was hard before Christmas; very very icy-snow-bitter-cold. We were working like maniacs to finish all building, insulating etc.

We had our first snow here last week. This place is so incredibly beautiful when it snows. I have a love of this land where we live that gets deeper all the time.

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