Wild, wild winds and torrential rain

Good luck pack

Good luck pack

So here we all are, venturing bravely into a brand new year, all with our own individual hopes and dreams…..here’s hoping they all come true! Each New Year’s Eve I put together a little good luck pack which I wrap in silver paper. All the items in it are associated with good luck, good health and prosperity. I then clean and polish the house and prepare a variety of food, as I like to start the New Year as I mean to go on. Then it’s always Hubs who lets the New Year in and immediately opens the good luck pack, inviting positive energy into our home. I don’t tend to make New Year resolutions, instead I just like to make a few plans and move in their direction. Do any of you have such traditions?


Now that all the decorations are down the house is clean and tidy once again. The odd bit of Christmas cake and sweets still linger but now it’s just the warmth and cosyness of shimmering scented candles which I light as soon as the light fades, then I curl up with a good book….y’see, there are a few advantages to winter.

DSCF9703And now I am another year older. My birthday is on the 2nd of January which is a really dismal date to have a birthday on. By this time, everyone, including me has had enough of celebrating, so I pity my poor family and friends who once again have to dig deep and try to make an effort to be jolly for my birthday. So a wonderful evening out was enjoyed and even more plants are making their way to my garden….some exotic stunners…but more about them another time

Btw….see that mistletoe behind me on the wall, well I only bought it for the berries on it which I have now embedded in my old apple tree, wouldn’t it be lovely if they established and this time next year I have my own mistletoe???


Despite having torrential rain and horrendous winds, the winter to date has been really mild considering. Despite this, Herbie began to lose weight while hibernating in the greenhouse. When his weight dropped to 620 grams I decided to bring him in, so he’s been indoors for a few weeks. Once in the warmth of the house, Herbie instantly came out of hibernation and stuffed himself silly and he now weighs 840 grams so I think I shall put him back out tomorrow.


 My garlic and beans are growing well in the veggie patch along with the onions and spinach….


Unlike my newly planted lavender hedge which the dogs have beaten down to within an inch of it’s life….still I have all the broken bits in the greenhouse where hopefully they will grow into new plants.

DSCF9704Talking of the greenhouse, I still actually have chilies growing in there….how amazing is that? And everywhere I look in the garden I see signs of new life. Bulbs are beginning to pop up and buds are already forming on many plants, and seedlings of poached egg plant and honesty seem to be everywhere. And the anemone leaves are now out!!!

DSCF9692While on the subject of seedlings…..the other day I noticed this little shoot growing in one of my pots. I gently pulled it out and discovered to my amazement that it’s a peanut….fancy that! And growing in winter too. So I potted it up and it’s now in the greenhouse. I really hope it keeps growing. I know the culprit, it’s a red squirrel which I am pleased to hear are making a comeback after being decimated by the poxy virus.


So many fantastic Christmas presents…I can’t wait for spring!



I’ve had a ball planting all my Christmas plants….

And finally….. I’ve heard of two people who died very young recently, not people well known to me but very, very sad for the families. This has served as a reminder for me to live in, and enjoy the present, for that’s what it is….a gift. So if I was to make a New Year’s resolution it would be to appreciate what I have and all the beauty in this world that comes free of charge.

Oh yes…..and maybe I should resolve to grow a cactus…..I’ve never managed it to date!

  46 comments for “Wild, wild winds and torrential rain

  1. January 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Belated happy birthday! (Our son’s birthday is on the same date and we celebrated it with him on New Year’s Day). ‘First footing’ i.e. bringing in a piece of coal and bread after celebrating out on New Year’s Eve was always a tradition, but we forgot to do it this year although we were out and about at our daughter’s home that evening! Glad to hear all is well in your house, including Herbie putting on weight. Enjoy growing your exotic plants!

  2. Snow Bird
    January 8, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Ahha! First footing eh? That’s new to me….lovely it has a name. My mother always did it and I’ve kind of added ingredients over the years.
    Awwhh….your poor son, I bet he’s not keen on the date either. Thanks for the birthday wishes.xxx

  3. January 8, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Happy belated birthday!
    Crikey, have you got all those plants in the ground already? Our garden is a swamp. I think if I put anything into it now they would drown.
    I don’t do resolutions either really, because I’ve never managed to keep them. But the New Year does always feel like a fresh start and for a few weeks at least I am much more productive!

    • Snow Bird
      January 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks Jessica. So far we haven’t been flooded and the gardens are draining quite well, I think the new turf is helping soak up water in the back. I’m hoping the bad weather doesn’t materialise as so many plants are bursting itno life.xxx

  4. Glo
    January 9, 2014 at 3:19 am

    How lovely to see your smiling face:) You don’t look like Hedghog Lady at all! Belated happy birthday wishes ~ how exciting to celebrate and share a birthday with the New Year ~ It sounds like you have started it off well, and despite the horrendous weather, your plants are looking very promising. Glad to hear you imbued Hedgie with some inside comforts and he is now fortified to go back outside. Wishing you all a wonderful year, and here’s to Spring!

    • Snow Bird
      January 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      Awwhh, thanks Glo! Lol….not a piece of straw in sight and all scrubbed up for my birthday! Our weather has taken a cold, even wetter turn today so I think I’ll keep the little hog in until it warms a little.xxx

  5. January 9, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Happy Birthday! Good to see Herbie doing so well. It has been fairly mild so far this year hasn’t it, I’m not surprised to see your greenhouse teeming with life already.

    • Snow Bird
      January 9, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks Jenny. My greenhouse is completely full of cuttings and even a few marigold seeds have self sown themselves. The weather has been mild but the threat of late snow is always a worry for the plants.xxx

  6. Jo
    January 9, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Happy belated birthday. I’ve always hated the date that my birthday falls on, 3rd of September (the day war broke out I was always reminded by my grandpa). When I was young, it was around the date that I went back to school after the summer holiday and when I had kids of my own, it was around the time that they went back to school. A bit depressing really. Glad to hear that Herbie has picked up since you’ve brought him inside. He obviously hasn’t been doing what he ought to be doing in your greenhouse and keeping the slugs at bay. It’s nice to see the plants springing back to life again, though they’ll probably wish they’d held back a bit if we get some snow. It’s been so mild this winter so far in our neck of the woods, I’m sure some bad weather must be just around the corner.

    • Snow Bird
      January 9, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks Jo….yes I can see why you’re not impressed with your birthday either. Lol…you would think Herbie could have tried feasting on the slugs….they are breeding in there at the moment.
      Yes, it’s a worry re the plant growth isn’t it as snow could come at any time over the next few months. It’s really cold here today and the heavy rain has turned to sleet.xxx

  7. January 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

    It is Martyn’s birthday in January too so I know what you mean. I’ve not heard of the new Year pack before is that a local traditions or just your tradition?

    We have been spared the worst of the storms fortunately.

    • Snow Bird
      January 9, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Oh poor Martyn! He has my sympathy.
      My mother always brought coal and money into the house each New Year, I think it was her Irish/Scottish upbringing, and I’ve carried it on adding things as I go.
      Glad to hear the storms have missed you.xxx

  8. January 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    A happy, if somewhat belated, birthday!
    A most enjoyable post to start the year off, with lots going on as always and to look forward to.
    I don’t really celebrate the New Year or make any resolutions except to try and do better than last year, especially on the plot. xx

    • Snow Bird
      January 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks Flighty. Yes, I always plan on improving the gardens each year…..I’m toying with the idea of carving something on the tree stump in the back….xxx

  9. January 9, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Blessings on your new year; what a lovely way to welcome it in, Dina! We include black-eyed peas in our first meal, as they traditionally are a food that bring good luck to the new year…I don’t do resolutions, but choose a word to guide my path for each new year. Last year it was “listening;” and the year before that, “breath.” This year, “mystery” is my companion.

    Your greenery looks so lovely and inspiring; all is white and quite chilly, still, This morning, we woke to -15 F, warmer than earlier this week, but not quite the rainy days coming this weekend…drama, drama.

    I love the time after Christmas, although taking down all the ornaments initially makes me sad. Once it’s done, I love the simple, clean austerity, and also light a lot of candles and settle in…what a gift for the spirit.

    You look gorgeous and youthful: whatever you’re doing, keep it up, my friend! Birthday blessings on your new year: Happy surprises, merry adventures, and gentle peace!

    • Snow Bird
      January 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      Black-eyed peas you say???? They will be on the table next year for sure! Oh WOW…what a wonderful unusual thing to do, choosing a word, I LOVE that and now have to choose a word myself…..mmmmmm….I must say, Mystery appeals to me too….or maybe Magic, Yes….Magic it is!!! Thanks for that.
      Oh my, you have a right to be dramatic with all that snow…brrrr….
      It is lovely to have everywhere dusted and clear….and I just love candles. I often find myself glancing up and gazing at them for ages.
      Lol….love the youthful gorgeous comment…..obviously don’t have your specs on!!!! Looking youthful and gorgeous yourself actually, love your new avatar!
      Thanks Kitty, wishing you and yours a wonderful year too…with lots of mystery….xxx

  10. Valkrye
    January 9, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Hello and many wishes for a healthy and happy new year to you and yours. Have not commented for awhile due to the Christmas hustle and bustle but have been reading your posts of course . Really like your New Year ritual ~ a great way to make tangible your hopes and intents . A very Happy Birthday to you to0, albeit belated . I also have a birthday which comes in the thick of Christmas gift buying and celebrations , Dec the 19th so know what having a birthday so close to holidays is like. Looking at the photo of you with your daughter, I must say, I know where your lovely daughter gets her looks! Thanks for the cheerful post full of all-sorts. Nice to read on such a gloomy day here.

    • Snow Bird
      January 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Hi, lovely to hear from you and to know that you are reading my posts. Thanks for that. Oh you poor thing, I actually think your birthday is worse than mine….as you say it’s all go around that time and really stressful! Maybe we should both select a second date and celebrate our birthdays in summer!
      Lol……love your comment re daughter’s looks, she is a pretty little thing. Thanks so much Val.xxx

  11. January 9, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Happy birthday! Maybe y ou should give those peanuts a real try. Fresh boiled peanuts are delicious!

    • Snow Bird
      January 11, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks Jason. I’d love to actually grow peanuts, I found a couple more nuts so I’ve planted them up too. xxx

  12. January 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    As always a wonderfully uplifting post. Like you, I always try to begin the new year as I wish it to continue.
    This means organising paper work, cleaning the flat and getting all my art organised. I love your traditions….I don’t have anything like that.
    I totally agree that appreciating each and every day to the full, is key. Actually living every day as if it were our last….

    Oh your garden is going to look beautiful, and once again we have something else in common, as I am also a January baby.:)

    Happy belated birthday Dina and a wonderful year ahead.xxxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 11, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Ahha! Another winter babe! Well of course!
      Yes, maybe we should all live each day as though it were our last, I’m sure we all all appreciate nature so much more then.
      I can’t wait for spring, I’ve planted hundreds of bulbs, so many in fact I can’t even remember where they all are so lots of wonderful treats for me. Thanks Janet, and a happy birthday to you too.xxx

  13. gardengirl
    January 9, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    You always sound so busy, lovely photos.

    So glad to hear that you have red squirrels in your area, how exciting.

    • Snow Bird
      January 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks Steph. When we moved into this house twenty odd years ago, the gardens teemed with red squirrels, then sadly they all disappeared probably as a result of the virus. Now suddenly we have a few back again….I do hope they breed, I have missed them.xxx

  14. January 9, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    You are a busy bee. I agree winter has been unusual, being devastating for some.

    Belated birthday wishes. You must have been, either the youngest or one of the oldest in your class at school..

    Are rhere any plants that are doggy proof?

    • Snow Bird
      October 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Thanks Menhir……I think I was one of the oldest in school. Struth….No plants are doggie proof!xxx

  15. January 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Lovely lively positive post – lots of hugs and the very best of good wishes for the new year xxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Thanks Gilly….best wishes and hugs to you too.xxx

  16. January 9, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    A wonderful post for the New Year. A belated Happy Birthday! What a lovely photo of you and daughter. I love your New Year traditions. My family used to open the back door to let the old year out and then a dark haired man would bring in the coal – but we don’t do any of this anymore. I’m really thinking we must revive these traditions. I love the idea of it going down the generations.
    You have Red Squirrels!! How wonderful. I am very envious!
    I really hope your Mistletoe takes. When I put a berry into an apple tree it did take about three years to show – but I don’t suppose it’s an exact science!

    • Snow Bird
      January 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      Oh….I’ve never heard of opening the back door to let the old year out….I may adopt that. Yes, my mum always went with a dark haired man too, shame I don’t have one….lol…
      We had red squirrels twenty years ago when we first moved in but they all disappeared as a result of the virus so it’s wonderful to actually have them back again, I’m hoping they breed.
      I heard mistletoe can actually take up to three years to produce berries….I shall keep my fingers crossed. Thansk Wendy.xxx

  17. January 10, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Happy Birthday! My son is a January baby, too. 🙂 Smart little hog to slim down for a bit so he could go back in to fatten up. You have totally different winter weather than I do. My garden is a dormant brown blob. How exciting to plant and garden in January. Have you thought about putting a little fence around the lavender to keep the dogs out? Perhaps that would be a good spot for the cactus!

    • Snow Bird
      January 11, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Herbie is a clever little guy for sure! He seems to be getting fatter each day.
      Our weather is just weird these last few years…..anything seems to go! Each year seems even more unpredictable. Oh what a FANTASTIC idea re the fence….now WHY didn’t I think of that. I shall sort something immediately. Hahahaha….yes it would be a good spot for a cactus, a few stings would keep the dogs off it! Thanks Casa.xxx

  18. January 10, 2014 at 6:21 am

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! Very sneaky of you to have one so close to the holidays. Hope this is a year full of interesting and good adventures for you. I like your focus on the time at hand, given the shortened lives you’d heard about.

    Speaking of which, I see you’ve wasted no time planting your Christmas hoard. Well done, you. So often, I procrastinate planting things out to the point of no return 🙁 Sorry to hear about your trampled lavender hedge — I know you’ll manage to salvage it somehow.

    You’ve got me curious about what goes into your good luck pack. I see a coin and a clove of garlic.

    So much green growing again! I love seeing those persistent sprouts emerging, winds or no wind.

    • Snow Bird
      January 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Lol….thanks Anne. Usually I’d never plant in winter but it really is very mild so I thought I may as well get them all going. Casa suggested a fence for the lavender, I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me, but I’ve now bought one which I shall sort tomorrow….hopefully that will do the trick!!!

      The items in the pack….coal-warmth throughout the year, coin-money, tangerine peel-harvest/productivity, candle-light….red candle…light and healing/positivity/success/good fortune, garlic-protects againt evil/misfortune, salt-protects/cleans environment of all negativity/staleness, silver paper-strength/protective. Paper and items come to 7, a lucky number.

      It is lovely to see a little green emerging….I hope we don’t get late snowfall. xxx

      • January 11, 2014 at 10:14 pm

        Fencing! Good thinking, Casa. Maybe it will be enough to deter the canines. What a lovely sight that’ll be when the lavender grow and flourish.

        • Snow Bird
          January 13, 2014 at 7:12 pm

          I now actually have high hopes for it, the dogs have smashed it up quite badly but now the fence is in place they are leaping it beautifully! Here’s to hoards of purple in the summer!!!xxx

  19. January 10, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Happy new year and happy birthday – somewhat late I admit. Lovely to see all that new life in the garden. I’m afraid you are just going to have to get rid of the dogs if your garden plantings are to survive (only joking).

    • Snow Bird
      January 11, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Thanks Elaine….hopefully we won’t have another delayed spring….I don’t think I could stand that again! Casa suggested a fence for the lavender so a fence it will be. Can’t believe I didn’t think of that!!!xxx

  20. January 10, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Ahhh Dina, your garden looks great… yeeesss, can’t wait for spring to see them all…
    take care and all best good health during the whole year!
    <3 Claudine

  21. Snow Bird
    January 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks Claudine….oh yes! Roll on spring!!!xxx

  22. January 12, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    First footing is the name of the coal at new year tradition. I usually do it because I am one of the few on my street with an open fire, so I have the coal to do it with.
    I don’t know what made me do it, but this year I threw open my window and called out to my neighbour that if he wanted to ‘borrow’ a piece of my coal, his family could do the tradition for some good luck. He hadn’t heard of it, but took the coal. I was sure he thought i was barmy.

    I hadn’t seen his wife for some time, so popped round to see them the other day. Imagine my shock when she told me she had been diagnosed with cancer before christmas and had been rushed in for an urgent operation. She told me that they did the ‘first footing’ at new year as I had explained, because they were desperate for some luck. Strange how I felt the urge to wish them luck with the coal isn’t it ? I have lived next door to them for many years but never offered them a piece of coal before.

    I also took a piece of coal with me to a new year party, where the american family at the party were interested to hear about the tradition. However, I forgot to take a piece of coal over my own front door threshold ! Doh ! Well I feel lucky enough already, so maybe I won’t need it.

    GOrgeous animal pics as ever. LIttle Herbie is coming along so well. ANd those mischievious dogs – well what can I say ?

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY !!! I am also a January baby and as you say, I think that people are all celebrated out during the first month after christmas.

    I so agree with you about enjoying life to the full while you can. We never know what is around the corner, so best to get out there and enjoy everything that we can. For people who are not as mobile as they once were, this includes enjoying the little things in life too.

    p.s. I have a resident squirrel who has hidden lots of nuts and seeds in my lawn. It’s nice to see him but a bit annoying that the lawn is being slowly dug up. Oh well. That’s nature for you.

    • Snow Bird
      January 13, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Goodness….what a strange story about your neighbours Kegs….most odd, but seems to me that good luck was needed and hopefully they’ll get it! I’ve never heard of first footing before, but when you think about it, it is the first foot across the door isn’t it. As you forgot your coal, I’ll send heaps of good luck to you! Yes!!!!
      Lol….naughty squirrel….but hey…you may get peanuts too!!!
      Yes, it’s so easy to lose focus on the present and think to far ahead, and there is ALWAYS something to enjoy each day even if it’s just a good meal or a book and music. We do have to make the most of the moment.
      Happy birthday to you too Kegs…..and all the best for the New Year, I hope it’s a wonderful one!xxx

  23. January 13, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I love that the spell is already bringing all kinds of positivity! And who’s that model stood next to you in the picture… lol! xxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 13, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Ah yes….good luck is already flooding through the door! And will all year I think!
      Lol….the model is SO gorgeous isn’t she!!! xxx

  24. January 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Belated Happy Birthday wishes! You be catching up with me for a bit I think….

    Fancy you cleaning and polishing the house for New Year – how lovely – that is a good and most auspicious time to do it….

    What is the orange squidgy bit in the good luck pack? I absolutely cannot guess! looks like a bit of orange or mandarin??

    I don’t have any ceremonies like that… I have heard of thing of somebody coming to your door and giving you coal though….

    I didn’t do New Year well this time around and was working … never mind….another time!

    Belated Happy New Year wishes…. and lovely pic of you and Daughter!xxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 19, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks Arose, the squidgy thing is a bit of tangerine! maybe next year you sould have a little ritual, I like it as it helps me focus on what I want from the year and makes me think about which direction I’m moving in.xxx

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