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Happy Christmas!

As I write the snow lies thick outside the kitchen so beautiful and yet treacherous.  The small birds cluster around the feeders topped with sunflower seeds whilst the blackbirds filter the last of the apple shreds in the orchard. It is so cold, or at least has been, with minus 16 on the solar panel the other night, that you can only marvel at their survival and keep topping the food. Two snipe flew from the pond as I took the dogs through the field, the first I have seen here.

Time spent sweeping snow before it is walked on is well worth while.....learnt the hard way last winter with many a slip and painful fall.  Good exercise too as we are in a valley and all paths go up hill the wood store which is depleting rapidly.

Last summer we had a skip of waste wood from the local yard destined for landfill, full of charred, nail ridden wood, brilliant for a wood burner, the resultant ash riddled through a blue plastic mushroom box to remove nails before dumping on the compost even some of the nails are reusable..........I may be getting a little too evangelical, but free (discounting chopping etc) heat.

I would like to thank all of you who have taken the trouble to comment on your successes with the boxing day chutney, my loyal customers who buy from me regularly and those who buy occasionally and hope you have a very happy and successful Christmas and New Year.

For those that tell me off/encourage me to get on with it I WILL get on with the book in the New Year.

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