Friday 27 April 2018

Books, Guests & Springtime

Spring has sprung with the birds singing and the flowers displaying their vibrant colours everywhere. The bluebells are appearing in odd corners around the farm though the ones in the woods are a little slower in laying out their carpet of madonna blue.
The most important event proving that winter is over is the cows going out into the fields to graze, always a momentous day & we all try to be there to see the ladies perform their dance of freedom...yipee, we're out in a field and can run and jump for ten minutes before settling down to the serious business of eating fresh grass!
The last couple of weeks have been somewhat chaotic as I'v had decorators in sprucing up the stairwell, dining-room and hallway in the farmhouse and also giving a fresh coat of paint in the kitchen/sitting-room, hallway and main bedroom in the holiday cottage. It was all finished just hours before guests arrived to stay in the cottage.
Putting everything back in the cottage was not so bad but in the house where we had to take many hundreds of books off shelves and pack them in boxes as well as take down too many pictures and of course move furniture it is taking much longer. The books are the worst (we have an insatiable appetite for them and cannot stop ourselves acquiring more) but it is an opportunity to reduce the I ever going to read D. H. Lawrence or the Game of Thrones series again? So a serious clear-out has taken place, again in fact, as last year we got rid of abour 36 boxes of books, but there were still many more to go! So this time I have been ruthless, if it has not been read for over 20 years it goes! (but of course there always exceptions to be made...the Farmer follows in the wake of my chucking-out & rescues many!). Of course sentiment plays a large part in all this, books that belonged to my grandmother such as the complete set of 1920's 'Anne of Green Gables' series, enormous leather-bound volumes of 'Bunyan's Choice Works' & ancient family bibles, atlases, etc. that have been handed down over the generations have to stay as do dog-eared early editions of Baden-Powell's 'Scouting for Boys' & 'Rovering to Success' (the Farmer is a Queen's Scout) & of course no home should be without Victorian natural history books with their lovely illustrations and books such as 'Pollen Analysis' or 'Rats, Lice & Men'(you can guess the Farmer's interests) although they are never looked at from one year's end to the next.
But as Anthony Powell so truly said, 'Books do furnish a room'.

We have some delightful returnee-guests in the cottage for the next fortnight, a couple from Munich who impress us hugely by travelling to our far corner of Wales by public transport. They flew from Munich to London and then spent hours on trains and buses and finally walking the last 1/2 mile to the farm. (We do offer to meet them at the bus-stop but they prefer to walk.) They are a fine example of how to travel light, with only a small rucksack each containing all they need for two weeks away from home. Having been here last year they are familiar with how the public transport system works in west Wales and plan their days accordingly. Again an example to the rest of us who just hop in the car which is so much the easier option especially when time is of the essence.

Friday 13 April 2018

Orphan Lamb, Spring Flowers, Pigs & Ducks on TV

Lambing is virtually finished but we do have one orphan who is bottle-fed. He escaped from his pen in the lambing shed and tracked the Farmer down in the kitchen and demanded to be fed. Bottle-fed lambs can be fun if you don't have too many and just one is great. They become great characters and will follow us round like a dog enjoying the company but can also become very demanding and vocal. They also produce vast quantities of wee, so they are not encouraged in the house!

We've had couple of days of lovely weather which has encouraged us all to get on with gardening, tidying up the yards and generally making the place look better after the winter. The daffodils are amazing this year and as we have so many differnet varieties they flower in sequence which means we have superb displays for many weeks. The primroses are out in full force and even a few cowslips are showing their lovely umbells of yellow heads.

Our television-star pigs are settled in and when they are not out on the yard wanting to know hat is going on and trying to snuffle at the dogs through the bars of their pen they are most contentedly snug in their ark sleeping the sleep of the well-fed.
The ducks are also having a happy life and have even started to lay eggs. if we can fidn abroody hen we shall try to hatch some ducklings. Ducks are hopeless mothers, a broody hen is much more reliable and consciensious, she will actually sit for the required 33 days whereas ducks just walk off having laid their egg just anywhere, not in a nest just where they happen to be when the urge comes upon them.
The televison programme in which they have been cast is still a work in progress and the title is being kept under wraps but all will be revealed at the end of the summer.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Spring, Lambing Nearly Over, Filming for BBC Wales

Despite the cold,wet,grey weather the primroses are putting their sweet faces up in the hope of some sunshine and the daffodils are showing their golden trumpets everywhere around the farm and confirming that spring is here,and the birds are determinedly singing their springtime welcome choruses.
I have been laid low with the 'flu-type lurgy that has been rampaging around lately. A fortnight of coughing and lack of energy after 3 days in bed, which surely must be on the wane by is very boring!! especially with such a lot of gardening to be done and general maintenance in the holiday cottage and the farmhouse. Next week I have the decorators coming in so our stairwell and dining-room need to be cleared out and made cob-web-free in preparation for the new clean paintwork. All rather exciting but a lot of work.

Lambing is going well and is nearly over with only a handful of ewes left to pop. It is such a pity that is is so cold though the older lambs cope very well, we don't like putting the very new ones out just yet.

Ten days ago we had a television film crew here for 3 days working on a programme for BBC Wales about farm animals. The filming went well and was the first of several sessions that will occur throughout the summer. The crew return next week and hopefully the weather will have improved for them by then. We have hosted film crews many times over the years and it is always interesting having them here. They are very focussed on their project and there are times when we have to explain that farm animals will not perform to command and that endless patience is required but they almost always get what they want in the end. The Farmer has had to arrange for some pedigree Traditional Welsh pigs to be brought in (all done perfectly legally with the necessary paperwork in place!) and we've had to get some ducks and have a borrowed pony all destined for their 15 minutes of fame, and all rather good fun for us.