Monday 29 July 2013

New Labrador Puppies, Lightening Strike

Yesterday saw the arrival of 11 beautiful labrador puppies.
My lovely dog Hattie is now the proud mum of 7 black & 3 chocolate squirming, glossy-coated little creatures.
We were not expecting them until the middle of this coming week but Hattie had different ideas and so caught us rather on the hop but all is fine and they are lovely strong puppies who all seem to be of good size and thriving. Her last litter was only 8 puppies so 11 is going to be hard work for her but we will do what we can to supplement them and maybe our old lab Poppy will foster them as she has done in the past once they are a few days old. She has come into milk as usual which is a huge asset & helps ease the burden on Hattie.
As they will be registered with the Kennel Club I now have the unenviable task of coming up with 22 names to be submitted to the KC. Each puppy has to have the option of  two names of which the KC will choose one to register. I rather fancy going for roses as a theme this time, or maybe Welsh rivers & tributaries. One can have quite a lot of fun working out the 'posh' names for puppies & I do not go in for the ridiculous over-blown monicas that many dogs seem to have. After all these will be sensible working dogs on the whole I hope or just family pets.

After a night of rainstorms we had a early morning call of great resounding rumbling thunder-claps & vivid streaks of lightening at about 6.30 which succeeded in demolishing my broadband router. So, after an intensely frustrating day of phone conversations with sweet people in Calcutta who could do absolutely nothing about it, the Farmer (who is the least computer savvy person in the world!!) sorted it out by replacing the router with an old one that was hidden in a cupboard. It took us all day to work out that it was such a domestic problem not an internet one...still we've got the computer working again but no wireless which will frustrate Younger Son hugely.

The rain has been quite welcome as the gardens and the fields were in dire need of wetting and it has laid the dust on the yard. The growth spurt that will now take place will be considerable and great for the silage fields but not so great for me having to try to keep ahead of the weeds in the gardens. It is a losing battle but as we are hosting a Farm Walk next week for the Soil Association I do need to get the place looking tidy.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Royal Baby & Others

Alongside the national rejoicing at the birth of Baby Cambridge we have had a flurry of babies locally. Two sets of friends & neighbours have produced thier babies in the last fortnight and we have our second grandchild due at the end of August plus other friends & neighbours are expecting at various times during the autumn. Babies everywhere!
We had a visit from one of the babes last evening. Tiny week old Theodore called in with his delighted parents to be introduced to us. He was beautiful, of course but one does forget how very small new babies are.

The weather of course is a continual topic of conversation and the intense heat lately has been very trying for our expectant mum (& our pregnant labrador!) and for the babies that have already arrived. Todya it is cooler and overcast though we have not had the thunderstorms that hve occurred elsewhere.
The Sons went off early this morning to the Royal Welsh Show at Builth Wells and they are fortunate that it has cooled off rather as a day at the show in searing heat is not pleasant. Now that the madness of the hay & silage harvest has ended the boys have taken a day off to go & gloat over shiny new farm machinery and talk techy stuff with reps. ...I doubt they will see much else other than a visit to the cattle sheds & possibly the beer tent! No flower shows or craft exhibitions for them!

Sunday 21 July 2013

'It's Too Darn' Hot!'

After nearly three weeks of scorching hot weather I am very appreciative of my large cold stone house. I do not enjoy very hot weather and so have been able to retreat most gratefully into my cool north facing domain. From this oasis of cool & shadow I have been supplying mountains of sandwiches & the inevitable cake for the Farmer & Sons who have been slogging away in their air-conditioned tractors everyday since this fine weather started.
The work of silage-  & hay-making for neighbours and ourselves has completely dominated these past weeks. Many hundreds of bales , indeed possibly a couple of thousand by now, have been made and everyone is so happy that we are having a 'proper' summer when winter feed can be made at a more traditional pace than in the last few years. To be able to actually make hay over several days is something we haven't done for so long.

We are beginning to watch our water supply carefully. One of the streams that flows down the farm has almost stopped running. There is slight trickle barely visible except for a slight glint of light on the thin run of water over the stones and if rain does not come before too long we may have to start rationing water in the house. The cows have to take priority in such times. Each dairy cow needs 10 gallons of water a day to drink plus all the water required for washing the milking equipment, parlour & dairy.
About 25 years ago when the Sons were little, we had long dry summers and I had to take the boys to friend's houses for baths and other friends were kind enough to do my laundry for me as we just did not have enough water here on the farm. I hope it will not get as bad as that this year.

Despite the intense busy-ness we have been able to take a couple of trips to the coast in the cool of the evening and last weekend we had a family outing taking the canoe and a picnic to Cwmtydu once again.
I even ventured into the water for brief but exhilarating...and I never usually swim in the sea until September when the water has had a good long time to warm up. But this season seems to be making up for the lost summers of the past few years.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Summer at last!

Well, summer has arrived with a vengeance...although many things in the garden are very late the elderflowers are in their full creamy glory and in such a profusion. I must gather some for cordial and wine making in the next day or so.
I have been busy making jam over the last couple of weeks. I managed to get a large quantity of strawberries last week and made a a good batch of jam and yesterday it was the turn of apricots. I also bottled apricots, they are one of the best fruits for such a metheod of preservation.

With the arrival of the sunshine the Farmer & Sons are madly busy cutting , baling & wrapping silage all over the parish for their contracting customers.  It means many long hours sitting in tractor cabs and hoping there will be no break-downs.

Last evening we all took time to go to the beach for a picnic...the tractor driving had finished early for the day (for once) and so we had a family outing which does not happen very often. Our favourite beach is Cwmtydu, a very small beach within a tiny cove where we almost always see seals. There is often a large bull seal patrolling the waters keeping an eye on his beach.
 It is a fairly stony beach especially if the tide is in, but none the less a lovely place to spend an evening with small grand-daughter building sand-castles and eating gritty sandwiches.