"The Atholl Palace is one of my favourite places where each year we meet up with good friends and have fun. It's the perfect place to stay in a perfect setting with lovely people looking after us. What more could a person want?"
As we move in to February, the days are lengthening, the squirrels are squabbling in the trees and the mallards have paired up and are quietly feeding in the ponds. A whiff of spring must be in the air!
It has been a very different winter,so far, from what we experienced last year. Little or no snow has fallen and apart from a couple of spells of severe frost it has been pretty pleasant weather. A little early to say that winter is over but with the days getting longer we wouldn’t expect snow to lie too long if it comes. Outdoor work has involved tidying up after the latest “big blow” and that has added,again, to the firewood stock. With the purchase of Fisher’s Hotel we have also been involved in tidying up the garden there. Large beds of David Austin roses have been pruned and we look forward to seeing how these,potentially, lovely roses perform in the coming months. Yew is a very poisonous plant we thought. Farm animals like cows and horses normally die if they ingest even small quantities of yew but we have observed something odd at the Palace. Roe deer love yew. We transplanted a fairly large yew from another garden and found that the roe deer trimmed it ,almost to the point of killing it, within a few weeks of it arriving. Why they choose to do this and how they tolerate the poison I don’t know....but will try to find out.
The vegetable garden has been heavily dunged and is ready for digging whenever the soil warms a little. I love the work of preparing a vegetable plot for a new year. Feed it well with rotted dung and our own compost and great rewards are returned in the form of fresh,wholesome vegetables....nothing better. As I mentioned at the beginning of this diary,the squirrels have been very active over recent weeks. Mating urges,we assume, cause them to chase about in the canopy chattering away to each other, especially when a blink of sun warms the air a little. No greys have been seen so great success on that front. A little dipper has been working the ponds over recent weeks. This semi aquatic bird is a joy to watch as it scurries about on the surface of the water before diving down to collect insects.
Snowdrops and crocus are out. Daffodils are forcing themselves through the earth and moles are busy making mole hills in places that we don’t want mole hills. A whiff of spring must be in the air! Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
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