February 2023 Sketchbook & Journal

Here’s my sketchbook pages and notes from the (thankfully) shortest month of the year.

I tend to think of February as a bit of a non-month, really.  A funny little insert month between proper winter and proper spring. But it is only actually two days shorter than other months, so I decided that I would try to give it my full attention.  And, after all, it does contain Pancake Day, and Pancake Day is the second best day of the year (after Boxing Day).

Alas, I found the first half of February to be not particularly deserving of my full attention.  Maybe, I thought, there’s a reason why absolutely nobody’s favourite month is February.  It was grey; we had a run of bugs (two-hourly conjunctivitis eye drops for Piglet and then Trix ruined me); the news (both local and international) seemed particularly grim; people we love were having a tough old time of it.  Work was a bit tumbleweedy for me, too, which was an extra anxiety.  But then half-term came along.  Ross was mostly off work, too, so we had a nice time bumbling about all together.  Spirits were restored and February improved dramatically.  Snowdrops abounded.  I dragged Piglet round the woodland to see them in their mass glory.  He complained for most of the walk until we were shin deep in nodding white heads and he declared there to be zillions and zillions of them and that they were SO LOVELY. We went to The Hirsel to see the snowdrops there and found emerging crocuses, too.  Noisy geese, enormous flapping swans.  Signs of spring.

Trix had a week of being furious about everything – being put down, being picked up, getting changed, everything.  Then she clicked back into her pleasant wee self but with a whole host of new skills.  She could clap, wave, pull-up, and was crawling so fast she got carpet burns on the tops of her feet.  She even had a few nights of sleeping reasonably well.  I felt so restored that I decided we should climb one of the Eildons (the smallest one, of course, no one wants to have to carry Piglet!). I forgot, though, that is is still February, and that February is grim to the core.  It was ludicrously windy. There were waves on the puddles.  And we even saw a caterpillar get blown over.  It was a proper hairy-oobit type caterpillar, crossing a path between the heather, and it kept getting blown onto its back.  Nothing, surely, is lower to the ground and less likely to get blown over than a caterpillar.  It was really windy.  Good, though.  Fresh.  Everyone slept well that night.

There’s loads of hellebores in the front garden (what’s so interesting down there, little flowers?  Why not look up?).  And one morning I watched a little stoat playing amongst them.  It darted back and forth from under our car for ages. Bulbs are pushing through everywhere, birds are active, rooks are nesting.  There’s plenty of good things about February.  It still isn’t my favourite month, though.  March tomorrow, let’s see what that brings.

Winter Aconite by Hannah Longmuir
stoat drawing by Hannah Longmuir
February duck pond sketches by Hannah Longmuir
February duck pond sketches by Hannah Longmuir
February sketchbook page by Hannah Longmuir

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