Monday, 27 December 2010

back to normal?

we are back to the usual irish winter weather - cold, but not frosty, windy and wet.... after sunset yesterday everything was still white - and this morning there were only bits and pieces left. which is great, because we can get back to normal again. or so we thought! not quite though: the cold water in the kitchen is back - but the frost crept through the pipes into our water pump, which cracked - so that we cannot pump water up to the tank, where it is needed:(( major repairs, hundreds of euro worth in damages - and we can't do it immediately, because the shop that sells pumps won't open again until mid january:(( we might be able to order the pump by mail order, but even so it will be at least 2 weeks before we're back to normal waterwise..... probably right at the time,when we get another frosty spell:(( the good thing is that the big tank is defrosted and I don't have to carry the water buckets all around the house. just two steps out the back will give me full buckets.
today we spent time with some cleaning up as well. the hungry birds are mostly gone - we're still feeding, but even though the seeds and nuts are still there - the birds seem to be keen to find their nourishment elsewhere. which is good, because they're not supposed to rely totally on our feeding! I miss the flurry of them in front of the window a bit - but I am aware that it isn't ideal for them as they don't like to be that close to each other! look at the mess they left behind:
it's mostly seed husks, but also spilled seeds and nuts... we brushed it to one side so that they can collect the edible seeds from the heap, but at least the area doesn't look like a warzone anymore:)))

I am not sure that most of our plants were that lucky. last year the camellias along the south wall of the house did well despite the frost. but this years' second cold spell was far colder - and to me this camellia doesn't look too happy right now! I hope it'll recover, but judging from the leaves it might have serious frost damage. the same for a lot of the garden plants, though the lower ones were covered in snow, which might have helped in sheltering them from the worst. another waiting game - we'll see in late spring which ones survived and how many are gone for good.... 

last night I also finished my advent KAL scarf, but I have to block it before I can show it - right now it's just a white scrunchy heap of stitches:)) I still have some yarn left from it, about 80 g of cashmere/silk, which I am doubling up and knitting into a simple small moebius neck warmer. I am barely withouth my other one these days - it's soft and warm, but not overly so in our relatively cold cottage. I also started a small embroidery project - a baby gift, which I have been looking forward to doing for some time now!


Delighted Hands said...

Glad you are easing up on the snow! I think the camellias will be fine-ours blackened in spots like that last year and slowly just perservered. They are hardy stock! Can't wait to see the lace blocked!

Eliane Zimmermann said...

we are also back to normal and we consider ourselves as extremely lucky that our pipe didn't burst. the kids learnt how expensive in terms of effort it is to flush the toilet: 200 mtrs to our stream to get a bucketful of water! i was also worried about the birds how they bully each other to get food. especially the black birds behave bad towards other creatures. viele gruesse aus west cork eliane

Woolly Bits said...

Cindy - I live in hope, because this one camellia esp. is covered in flower buds!
Eliane - we usually have only a bit of "pipe damage", they shift apart in hard frost and can be pushed together again and wrapped. but this time apparently the frost creeped into the water pump - and split it right open:(( the most annoying bit is that winter isn't over - it might come back again with a vengeance - and destroy any new gadgets we might have installed:(( I think we might have to rethink the whole water setup here... we're lucky with the toilet though - it's a compost loo without flush:)) and we didn't have to go to the well or stream - we had enough tanks around the house with water. frozen on top and around the sides, but easily scooped out, when hacked open:))
and yes, the blackbirds are vicious - but we had enough food out for everyone, so the other just had to be a bit patient until the bullies were finished...
"guten rutsch" nach west cork:))

Leigh said...

Wow, all that snow gone! Very unfortunate about your pump. I can't believe that shop is closed until mid-January! Considering your weather, they might be doing a booming business.

Your camellia looks like my meyer lemon tree did awhile back. I'm relieved it's recovered and I hope your camellia does too.

Nina said...

Your snowless countryside scenery is beautiful! I'm glad your weather is fading to normal. I sort of wish our normal was like yours but normal here is covered in snow until March or April. I can't even imagine water pipes on the outside. Our are all installed inside, under the house and next to none even come up against an outside wall! Even the well pipe comes in below frost grade in the basement. Perhaps some sort of pipe insulation would do the trick? Too bad about the pump repairs. That is frustrating! I hope it's repaired speedily, once they are finally open from holiday festivities! My fingers are crossed that the rest of the winter will be more normal!

Woolly Bits said...

Leigh, the irish have a funny habit - when public holidays fall on weekend days - they make up for that by just hanging them on:)) meaning: christmas on sat/sun = free mon/tuesday:)) and there are only two full working days (2.5 for some) - and than the same goes for new year's day and the following monday. I think that could be called maximizing your free time:)) that's why most surgeries, post, banks and some smaller shops are closed for so long! and I doubt that they sell that many pumps, because we are the only house far and wide using one - because we have to pump up the rainwater to raise tap pressure! that's not a problem if you're on a water scheme (but then you might not get any water, as there are severe restrictions right now....).
Nina - we haven't had those problems in germany, where I come from, but over here such frosty winters are rare, that's why everything is outside! we already have insulation around, but with minus 15 deg. C not even thick layers of sheep's wool help... I think if this turns out to be the norm in the future - we all have to do major renovations around our water systems! what would happen if the gulf stream really died - is anybody's guess:((