Wednesday 28 May 2014

Silage Time, Roadmenders, Goslings & Geese, Random South Korean Visitor

The hedgerows and gardens are looking just wonderful at present.Walking throught the fields the hedges are full of flowers, lovely Queen Ann's Lace, vibrant Red Campion and gleaming varnished buttercups and of course the Granny's Bonnets. This abundance of low growing flowers is crowned with magnificent tresses of the laburnum trees which are in full glory along with the lovely white blossom of the may trees.
These fields were thick with high waving seas of grass until last evening when the Farmer and Sons set forth with tractors and mowing machine to cut the grass for the first crop of silage. And a superb crop it is too. Elder Son made the decision to spread a lot of slurry during the winter & it has certainly paid off...we have one of our best crops for many years and it is all done organically without any input of artificial fertilisers, just muck & slurry from our cows.
Today the grass is being turned or tedded, and will be brought in before the weather breaks tomorrow. Elder Son reckons we have until midnight before the rain starts. So it is going to be a long day and very late night for the tractor drivers. With the fields spread with swathes of cut grass the local red kites & buzzards are busy wheeling in the skies overhead searching for carrion, the sad victims of high speed mowers.

This morning I went out to do some much needed shopping accompanied by Small Grand-daughter. We got to the end of our drive to find council workmen resurfacing the stretch of public road that joins us to the outside world. They have been at it for two days now and my goodness but they do work exceeding slow and with very frequent tea-breaks. Everyone who has come up to the farm in the last two days has said they passed the roadmen sitting in their vans no matter what time of day it is. The road is being patched and we hope it will be completely resurfaced

I took Small-Grand-daughter to visit some friends who had a new baby 10 days ago. She was not very impressed by the dear little baby but was enchanted by a troupe of fluffy goslings that had hatched this week. Gosling are lovely but they do grow into geese which are not my most favourite creatures. We had geese many years ago and my view of them was tainted by the gander, known as Hissing Sid who was very protective of his two sweet and mild wives. So much so that I had to make major detours around the back of building to avoid him or else go out armed with a broom with which to make him think I was fiercer than he was. It was quite relief when Charley Fox took him off one day when we were out. Sadly the fox also got his wives some time later.
On the subject of geese some wild Canada geese hatched a brood of goslings on one of our ponds & it appears that this year they have managed to rear them without the depredations of the local corvids who have a taste for little fluffy things.

As a fine example of never knowing who will turn up here next, I have just had conversation with a boy from South Korea(!) who appeared at the back door asking directions to a neighbouring farm where he has been staying for the last month. He had got of the bus in our nearest village and walked down our lane knowing that there was a route through the farm to his hosts farm but did not actually know the way. I was of course able to direct him and then had a interesting conversation about his travels. He says Britain is much more beautiful than South Korea, but I have no way of verifying that. He found it very odd that I do not have a mobile phone. I asked him how he funded his travels which involve staying on farm and working for his bed & board and he told me he had sold his car. He had arranged his places to stay through an organisation called Helpx ( places travellers willing to work on organic farms and smallholdings, similar to Wwoofing.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Lovely Maytime Gardens, New Silage Pit, International Holiday-makers

May is just glorious especially as this week has seen an inprovemnet in the weather. The gardens are looking wonderful with the rhododenrons & azaleas bursting into the most amazing colours all clashing with each other with exuberant vibrancy.
Last evening I went round some gardens in the loacality that are open to the public, Norwood Gardens at Llanllwni, on the way to Lampeter . Norwood is series of 'garden rooms' with sculptures and interesting plantings creating a marvellous tapestry of colour & interest. There is also a good tearoom!

The menfolk here on the farm have been very busy laying concrete for a new silage pit. This is an area about the size of half a tennis court, which is lot of concrete. The ready-mix lorries have been turning up and depositing their loads for the Farmer & Sons to spread and level. Fortunately they have borrowed a marvellous motorised tamping machine which makes the job much easier thought it still very heavy hot work. However, the new pit is much needed and will be well worth the effort involved.

This month sees the start of very busy season for the holiday cottage. The bookings are looking good and we are having an interesting international mix of visitors again this year. Next week I have a couple from Canada coming for 2 nights & then during the summer we expect guests from Holland & France. We have already had a family from Saudi Arabia which was very interesting. They were keen for their children to see 'rivers, mountains & lakes' and had been recommended to come to Wales which provded a huge success and they saw plenty of 'landscape' to satisfy their curiosity.

Sunday 4 May 2014

Yorkshire Dales Holiday, Bowes Museum, Silver Swan,

After almost a month since my last posting I felt it was time to bring things up to date.
I now write this using a laptop which is vast improvemnt on my old very slow pc however I am still learning my way with it & it seems it does not like to download photos onto this blog...I shall have to S.O.S my computer friend to sort me out, yet again.

The Farmer & I have had a much needed holiday this last week. After enduring heavy colds,various challenging situations on the farm and a long wet winter we made the decision to take off to somewhere with no internet, no phone and nothing to do but read, sleep & gaze at a different landscape. So we found ourselves a tiny cottage in Cumbria & near the Yorkshire Dales and it was heavenly. Having not had a break for about 2 years it was much needed and greatly appreciated (
The Yorkshire Dales were just wonderful and we were near enough the Lake District to venture into that land of hearty hikers in brightly coloured waterproofs all wielding their pairs of walking sticks as they tramp. Oddly we didn't see many of them actually walking in the hills, but they certainly populate the little towns & villages. Also hundreds of cyclists with their lycra-clad bodies sweeping gracefully around the bends in the roads, to say nothing of swarms of motorcyclists buzzing past past us on lonely mountain roads like angry bees.

We took time to visit the Bowes Museum( Barnard Castle which was marvellous. A huge collection of paintings and porcelain & costume on display in vast Victorian palace which was purpose built to house the collection of John Bowes & his wife that they built up over a period of only 15 years. It is extraordinary & full of the most beautiful objects including the fabulous Silver Swan, an automaton dating from the mid-18th century. Once a day at 2 o'clock this glorious creature is set in motion for the 34 seconds that it takes for the swan to turn its head over its back and then turn round again to lower its bill into what appears to be rippling water and catch a small golden fish. It is stunningly beautiful.

We are now home again and back in the swing of our usual busy-ness. The silage season will be upon us before we can turn round & the holiday cottage is pretty well full from now on for the summer. Since we've been away the blossom has come out in the orchards and the hedgerows are full of bluebells & stitchworts & the countryside is just at its lovely May-time best.