Our Shetlands are lambing. The first time mothers-to-be are down near the farmhouse, and 3 new lambs are gambolling and getting up to all sorts of mischief. Another few weeks left to go! We’ll upload some pictures soon…
A thrilling sight: watching the fledgling barn owls emerge and take their maiden flights up and down the wide span barn. They don’t seem to be bothered by our presence. They find refuge in the upper steel girders and occasionally turn their heads through 180 degrees, as if this will render them invisible. The mother is trying to entice them outside into the big wide world. She’s been really active at times over the last few weeks – sometimes hunting during the day to feed the hungry mouths. We became really worried when she seemed to disappear for a few days; but apparently that’s normal and she soon came back. It was amazing to watch as she flew back with a poor creature in her claws, dived into the box, dropped the morsel and flew straight out again for more hunting. The landscape here must provide a plentiful supply of small mammals for barn owls so we hope we’ll see another clutch produced next year!
We’re bringing in the hay to feed the animals during the winter. Amazingly dry weather giving us a nice big window. We’ve decided to change things around a bit – leaving fields we cut last year and cutting new ones to see what the seed bank offers next year. Reports from others that butterflies are down this year – but we’ve seen plenty of meadow browns. We’ve spotted about 6 butterfly orchids this year and we are even mowing round them to make sure they set their seed. How bonkers is that!
We’ll be shearing our sheep in the next couple of weeks. The lovely shetland fleeces are a favourite amongst spinners and knitters. We will sell our fleeces, mill them and make them into gorgeous felt-backed rugs.
We’ve been working hard to set up the campsite. The composting toilet is now ready and we are working on the shower room and washing up area.
On the farm, the wildflowers are starting to show through in the hay meadows. There’s a lot of plantain coming through along with dandelions and the yellow rattle leaves are emerging. Here and there, small specks of cuckoo flower adorn the fields. And talking of cuckoos, we’re hearing at least one every day.