Wednesday 30 March 2016

Lambing Finished, Signs of Spring

This is often the scene at my backdoor, although maybe not always so tidy! With three generations living on the farm we have wellies of all sizes that are in constant use and there are always spare pairs floating around for visitors who have not come prepared for the mud of a working farm.

Easter, with its excess of chocolate, has come & gone and we are now making the most of the good weather. Lambing is over and so the ewes and their tiny bleating satellites are out in the fields on lovely fresh grass and basking in the sunshine. The eternal round of the seasons is always punctuated by certain aspects of farming and lambing is one of them. The high calls of lambs and the deep-throated replies of the mothers is as much an indication that spring is here as are the daffodils & primroses and the song of the blackbirds. This morning the sound of the sheep was accompanied by the thrumming of a woodpecker in a tree at the edge of the field and then the panicking call of a pair of mallard disturbed from their lazy stop-off on the pond. The mallard rest on that particular pond quite often but rarely nest there, though they do nest on a more hidden and less-visited pond elsewhere on the farm & sometime manage to rear a brood of ducklings. On yet another pond we usually have Canada geese nesting and hatching goslings but sadly the fox is too wily for them and they rarely survive to fly with the parent birds. We are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first swallows...we usually see them about the 10th of April. With the hatching of the myriads of insects about to start as the weather warms up the swallows will be on their way to their abundant aerial larder and to give us their wondrous acrobatic displays as we, hopefully, sit out on balmy April evenings.

We drove over the hills to Brecon to visit family, on Easter Monday and were surprised to find snow had fallen within about 5 miles of the farm and once we got within sight of the great Pen-y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons there was a spectacular view of the peak covered in thick snow and gleaming like an alp in the far distance. Our 5yr old grand-daughter who was with us, was thrilled as she has never seen snow (at least that she can remember), even at great distance. It was the most important thing to remember to tell her parents about when we returned home!

Thursday 24 March 2016


Lambing has finished and all is well. The lambs got off to good start with the lovely dry weather and even though it now has turned wet they should be alright. One of the loveliest things about my morning walks with the dogs at this time of year is hearing the lambs bleating along with the blackbirds singing, the hedge-sparrows squabbling and the geese calling as they fly up the valley to one of the many ponds. The daffodils have excelled themselves this year as have the snowdrops...last year both species did not exhibit themselves to their full glory, but this year they are more than making up for it. The blackthorn in the hedges is coming into flower and there are primroses peering out at the bottom of hedge-banks & I have seen the first of the wild strawberry flowers tucked away in a corner. The ornamental cherries are coming into blossom too in the gardens so spring is springing into its usual glory and cheering everyone up after what has been a difficult winter.

We have been struck with a foul lurgy over the past couple of weeks. The grandchildren started it off and I seemed to have come off worst of the grown-ups with a hideous cough that is lingering. I even had three days in bed which is unheard of! However, apart from the cough things are back to normal and we are preparing ourselves for a visit this afternoon by group of home-educated children from Pembrokeshire which should be fun although it is a pity the weather is dull and damp, still as long as they are properly shod in wellies and with waterproofs it should all be fine.

The holiday cottage is full for Easter and I then have an artist staying for the whole of April which should be interesting.
With Easter almost upon us I must get on with decorating my Simnel cake and doing some general baking and filling the tins which are somewhat depleted. In fact I might make some traditional Easter biscuits which always go down well with cup of coffee.

Thursday 10 March 2016

Lambing Time, Winter Winds

The sheep are now safely ensconced in the newly re-covered polytunnel and lambing is well underway. We are having good big strong lambs, with several sets of twins and triplets. We are lambing only about 50 ewes and so far it is going steadily with no mad rushes.

Today is calm and warm-ish with sunshine and quite a lot of blue sky. A total contrast to yesterday when I was bullied and buffeted down the fields by an icy wind with teeth of iron whilst walking the dogs before breakfast. The wind was very strong and unpleasant to be in but it brought a savage beauty to the fields as it flew across the grass making it shimmer with shoals of silver as the light caught the rain on the sward. The leafless trees were swaying and moaning as the wind tormented the branches and many twigs and some larger boughs were tossed to the ground and through it all the blackbirds were singing and a pair of Canada geese on their way to graze in our top fields called to each other as they flew on the back of the wind.