The year dawns crimson, and on we go
January 3, 2011. Barely a frost and still bone dry, to the point that we are wishing for rain. The midday temperature continues to float between 10 and 15 degrees, and the only white to be seen is the flash of a chaffinch wing. These migrants outnumber the charms of goldfinches right now, while in the mountains yesterday, when we strolled to the ruins of a 2700-year-old Iberic village, our faces buzzing with the warmth, a red admiral butterfly emerged from the forest and settled in the sun on a bank. Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning: Yet crimson crests have come to naught. Mother's Garden New Year resolutions are to take more strolls (researching at the same time more routes across the sierras wherefore to guide holiday cottage guests who have packed their walking books) and to meditate. We are mindful how valuable meditation has proved in the past, and we need it now as the workload grows not eases. As I write, Maggie is resting after her operation this morning. A year ago she had a carpal tunnel operation on her right wrist. Today the consultant eased the pressure in her left wrist, hopefully ending sleepless nights of pins and needles and numbness. I am itching to press on with office work and to find more chefs who want bulk fresh olive oil, but it is a holiday in the UK today. So I'll pop the kettle on, take a mug to Maggie, walk the mutts and release the ponies to thunder back to their corral and buckets of feed. I may even spend a happy half hour with the saw clearing another pine from the wished-for oak wood, where already birdsong has returned.