Keeping warm week feels like it has been all about keeping warm. At this time of year the walks Little Owl and I take around the farm and the valley usually have an ulterior kindling-gathering purpose. In fact, to such an extent that when Little Owl was shown a picture of a branch by her Speech Therapist I wondered what she might reply. We rarely return without a few sticks in tow, which we break up by stamping on them with our boots against the front steps and bundling into the woodshed for later. I especially like it when we find dead branches that have got caught in trees, air-dried ready for us, by nature. Then we don’t have to worry about disturbing any creatures who have made the dead wood their home amongst the undergrowth either. Occasionally we’re a bit ambitious and have to leave a bundle mid-way home for Big Dreamer to come back and collect.

We also ran out of oil this week. We usually have a handy little meter that tells us when we’re running low but it’s broken. This meant that when the oil was delivered today the system needed bleeding as we’d run it dry. I’m proud to say that this very evening I learnt how to bleed an oil-powered boiler. “Just like a tractor,” said the Farm Manager, who was my teacher. I even picked the right allen key – oh yes!

In contrast to us I bet the creepy-crawlies who have moved into the new bug hotel Big Dreamer’s Dad made for Little Owl have been toasty in their new home. Isn’t it gorgeous?

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