Sunday 17 January 2016
On our way home driving along a narrow country lane in the middle of nowhere we had an exciting and unusual encounter.
A man was walking towards us with his arm outstretched carying something very large...it turned out to be a Golden Eagle! He took time talk to us as we had stopped the car so as not to disturb the bird and we were able to see the magnificent creature at such close quarters as we will probably never experience again. It was beautiful & threatening & wild although it had been bred in captivity in Scotland and was now being trained but I guess such birds can never been really tamed. The ferocity in its eye and the unmistakable strength in its grip on the double layers of gauntlet that it's keeper (no-one can 'own' such a bird) wore, were testimony to its power as a killing machine. It was fractious and kept flying into a bate although firm hold was kept on its jesses, it would suddenly launch itself into the air with great flapping of its huge wings and then come back to the man's arm where it would glare at us with its piercing eye. At only 18 months old it was still learning what was expected of it and it was hungry apparently. A really wonderful thing to have been privileged to see at such close quarters and wholly unlikely in the depths of west Wales.
Saturday 9 January 2016
It's marmalade time again and the Farmer has been busy. He loves marmalade and is very happy to be in charge of making it. We bought some lovely organic Seville oranges from the excellent organic shop in Lampeter andd the kitchen was then filled with the delicious aroma of boiling oranges. The Farmer made about 16lbs and most of it went into the jars...there was however a citrus stickiness all over the kitchen, every drawer handle, door knob, work surface & table top seemed to have at least one or two gloopy dollops of marmalade on them, even the tea-towels were gummy, ugh! Paddington Bear would have been in ecstasies at the amount of marmalade freely available, he & the Farmer have quite lot in common!
Friday 1 January 2016
Well, 2016 has dawned with a dry cold morning, perfect for walking the dogs and such a relief not having to don waterproofs. There is more rain forecast but for the moment we are relishing this brief respite from lashing rain and buffeting winds. We are so lucky to have been spared the horrors that the north of England and parts od Scotland are suffering as result of Storm Frank, though is a lot of flooding in the Teifi Valley but it is mostly just fields that are under water and some roads & bridges have been impassable. We have had torrents of water rushing down the yard and cutting channels in the surface but so far there has not been the damage done as in previous years.
The winds on Wednesday night were hideous, so much so they removed the entire covering of one of our poly-tunnels which now stands in skeletal glory, its grey metal ribs exposed for the first time in about 10 years (the plastic has done us very well!) There is no question of attempting to replace the plastic until the weather is more settled and so it will have to stand in its nakedness until the spring. Unfortunately it is the tunnel that we use as a lambing shed, so the veg. growing tunnel may have to become a a home for the sheep in March.
Whilst having friends calling and we were in turn calling on others as usual over the Christmas weekend, the holiday was very different for us. Instead of spending Christmas Day in the bosom of our family (for perfectly amiable reasons) we went down to St. David's cathedral in Pembrokeshire for Choral Mattins. It was wonderful. The choir of St. David's is superb and the choice of hymns, carols & anthems really demonstrated their skills & it was marvellous to sit in that beautiful ancient building and feel it reverberate with the power of the organ and the sweetness of the choir as it has done for so many centuries.
After such an uplifting experience we then drove a short distance to the lovely Whitesands Bay for a good walk along the beach. It was surprisingly busy there considering it was Christmas morning, many people obviously taking an opportunity to walk their children & dogs before returning home to the turkey. There were even some brave souls swimming in the rather billowy sea, some in wetsuits, others not!
Yesterday I drove into our local town along a road that gave superb view of the flooded acres by the river Teifi. As I approached the outskirts of the town I saw a car had stopped on the opposite side of the road and a woman flagged down the few cars to stop while she crossed the road to where a sheepdog was crouching in the hedgerow. It was clearly very disressed and had obviously been out in the weather for a while. The woman approached the dog slowly with her hand out to it and it allowed her to catch hold of it and take it to her car. I guess it must have been a stray from a nearby farm that had got lost in the stormy weather. I hope it has been re-united with its owners, I'm sure the person who rescued it will do all she can to find out where it came from. It really has not been a Christmas for man or beast to be lost out in the wind & rain.