Wednesday, 27 February 2013


One day of sunshine (today) and one sees the world through totally different eyes.   Our farmhouse faces due South and has large windows, so if the sun is out, even in the depths of Winter, the whole house is suffused with light and soon warms up.

Sitting here at the computer in a shaft of bright Spring sunlight (alright, it is still Winter but only for three more weeks) I got to musing about people and where they live.

I began to wonder why people thousands of years ago, chose to settle in such cold, inhospitable places.   Once twenty eight years ago, I went to Almaty in Kazakhstan and we arrived there (in a party because it was still the Soviet Union in those days and you couldn't travel any other way) quite late at night.  The temperature was minus forty and a thick film of ice covered every surface.
At least in the Summer they got hot weather, because there were acres of apricot trees -and in Winter the population wrapped up well.

But really some people do live in the most in hospitable places.  Now they are indigenous to that area and have learned to adapt, but thousands of years ago they must have chosen to live there - and I wonder why they didn't just move on, following the sun.

I went to see friend, M, yesterday.   Her house also faces due South, so she will be revelling in sunlight today too.   And not only she, because her front garden is full of species crocus, all up and ready to burst into bloom when the sun arrives.   If I were to pop in this morning the garden would be a riot of purple I have no doubt.
People, like flowers, open up when the sun shines.

The fields are drying up nicely.   Yesterday the farmer was able to fill in the potholes in our muddy track down the pasture, so he will not need his wellies so much when feeding the sheep in future.

Any day now our hedge-cutter will arrive to trim our hedges - time is quickly running out for him as it is not only us that get chirpy when the sun comes out - the birds do too, in more ways than one!  


Grizz………… said...

I've also been thinking along similar lines this week—that is, how turns in weather influence our mood. It seems almost a cliché to say that a sunny day makes for a sunny outlook…yet it's nevertheless true. A couple of days ago we had bright sun in a cloudless sky. Temperatures were only in the upper 40s˚F, though the day felt warmer, almost balmy. A number of my yellow crocus bloomed—and my head filled with thoughts of spring. Then it turned gray, cold, with drizzle changing to sleet. Time to hunker by the fireside, focusing inward rather than out. Spring was less a heartfelt perspective than a logical expectation. And the difference was really more because of the light levels than temperature. As any gardner or countryman well knows, life responds to light.

The odd thing, personally speaking, is that I always work better at my writing on those dark, stormy days, regardless of whether it's a winter snow or sleet storm, or a mid-summer thunderstorm. Heavy-weather fronts energize me—maybe because I can concentrate better, though it seems more deeply responsive than that to me.

And perhaps therein lies a possible—or at least partial—answer to your speculation as to why some folks originally chose to settle in more northern climes. Maybe, like me, they enjoy winter, and instead of being put off by harsher weather, are even a bit energized. You see, for the life of me I can't imagine or understand why anyone would chose to live in the tropics where it's always hot and sunny. I expect that at least some of those first northcountry settlers had a similar dose of boreal blood in their veins.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I've often wondered - even these days - why people stay in such inhospitable climates - like Chicago - hot and sickeningly muggy in the summer - windy and many feet of snow in the winter - very similar to Wisconsin. We had enough of that and moved us and our kids away from there - we've been sort of gypsies all our lives - going where we want - moving on when we felt like a change. I know not everyone has that choice - or will make it - but I say, if the weather is miserable, move on - life is short - enjoy all you can.

Your sunshine and your friend's crocus sound great. One yard here in Bellingham has crocus growing all over it - hundreds of them, and we drive by every spring to enjoy the sight. Happy sunshine!

Dartford Warbler said...

Our house is a bit back-to-front, with the big windows to the back facing south and down across the garden. It does make a difference when you can sit in the warm and enjoy the sunshine pouring in. The sun has come out here as well, but this morning was grey and bitterly cold. What a difference a patch of blue sky makes!

Mary said...

We face south too so the sun floods the front porch all morning. The porch shields the dining room here where I sit and visit you making it bright and light, but not fading the furnishings, ha! ha!

Today is lovely after heavy, cold rain all of yesterday - daffodils and galanthus in bloom, grass thick and green - Spring is coming soon and we here in the southeast will be enjoying it as always. We've not had a bad Winter...................however it thundered a few nights ago and the old Farmer's Almanac says snow should arrive 10 days on.......fingers crossed it's wrong, but on the other hand a little dusting is always welcomed by the garden.

Hope your Spring days are on the way - sunny and dry.
Mary -

shadypinesqltr said...

Two days ago, the talk in our sleepy mid-Michigan village was of the 'sprouting" of sap buckets on all the local maple trees. If the sap is rising, can Spring be far behind? Today we woke to five inches of heavy, dense snow.

I will be moving this year and my new home must have large windows facing south. My current home faces north and the livingroom is often dark and unwelcoming. Thankfully, my sewing room windows face the pines to the south and walking in there on a sunny day is like giving yourself a giant hug.

Heather said...

I noticed that hedges round the lanes here have been trimmed but there is still a lot of water lying in some fields.
I am surprised that apricot trees can survive such low winter temperatures. The climate must be drier than ours. I am longing to take a cuppa out into the sunshine - not quite warm enough yet.

Gwil W said...

I suspected the ancient Celtic people here in Vienna migrated to higher ground in winter, if winter was like it is now in the Danube valley with only 30 hours of sunshine in the last 3 months. These people were very aware of the environment as opposed, for example, to the Romans who chased them away. But we don't know all that much because they lived in wooden houses which have now long disappeared. But I know from living in Wales that they moved with the seasons, by the estuaries for the arrival of the salmon, and other places for hunting deer and pigs.

Julie said...

A little bit of sunlight does make such a difference, I agree. I just want to sit in a patch of sunlight, like a cat. Spookily, I was on a tour in Almaty 28 years ago too - Foothills of the Himalayas I think it was called. And there was a farming couple from Yorkshire in the same group. You don't suppose.....

The Weaver of Grass said...

Julie - I can tell you exactly when I went - it was Christmas 1984 - but sadly I was not part of a farming couple in those days - my then husband and I were both retired teachers.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Grizz, JoAnn and Gwil all give us quite interesting views on why people went there and why they stayed - I must say that I had never thought of it like that - so thanks to them.
Thanks to everyone for calling.

Golden West said...

We face south, too - isn't it grand? With the sun lower in the winter, it floods into the living room. The first freesias are blooming along the walkway - a sure sign of spring!

Em Parkinson said...

Isn't it lovely not to have all the wellies caked in mud? I envy you the sun; we're still very grey down here. Enjoy it while it lasts! Our climate is pretty clement really when you consider where some people live. I think about it sometimes; about how nice it would be to be a bit warmer, but then when summer comes I complain about the heat!