Several freezing days made clearing the last remaining fallen leaves hard work. Some were stuck together with the frost while others protected by hedging or evergreen shrubs were easy to rake up and lift. With the leaves cleared and the ground slowly warming up we continued turfing over the tree circles that we started working on a few weeks ago. Planning ahead the previous week, turf left over from renovation work on the flower garden lawn had been laid out flat to prevent yellowing.
While laying turf under one of the larger apple trees we were visited by a gang of half a dozen Long Tailed Tits, tiny ping pong sized balls of feather, their sharp whistles easily recognisable as they worked their way up the branches inspecting each crevice for hibernating insects or overwintering larvae. Within ten seconds they were off and into the shrub border, communicating noisily before heading off again into the high canopy of the copse.
Towards the end of the day when the sun had burnt off the frost in all but the shadiest of spots we drained the hosepipes, wound them onto their reels, and wheeled them into the empty greenhouse. A few tomatoes still remained, and plucking the reddest looking fruit from the vine, one bite instantly transported us back to the warmth of late summer.