Saturday, 17 May 2008

I am feeling so guilty about not having posted for such a long time, that I am trying to make up for it by posting four pictures at once!

It has been a busy spell! We have gone from snow (as illustrated) to hot sunshine. We have gone from cold sheep to sheep which have been shorn. (A story for another post) and we have gone from new lambs to lambs that butt and bite and generally make lovely nuisances of themselves.

This first picture is a wonderful example of the views we get from our house when it's snowing/snowed.

Amongst other things that have happened in between this post and the last has been a visit by this little hedgehog. He/she was trotting around the back field one evening when I went to 'talk' to the sheep. Quite undeterred by the appearance of the Dog, who sniffed around it and then gave it a wide birth.

They are infrequent, but very welcome, visitors.

Those of you who have read previous posts will know that our house appears not to be 'off limits' to wildlife. We have, in the past, found hedgehogs snuffling around in the kitchen when we've had to leave the back door open on hot evenings. And this week, I was called to the main kitchen to see the cock pheasant who had braved the cats and who was calmly eating out of their food bowls.

I know I ought to discourage this kind of behaviour, not least because most hedgehogs, rabbits, pheasants and chickens are not 'house-trained', but I actually feel so honoured that they are not afraid to come in that I find it impossible to shoo them out. I just wait till they've finished what they've come in to do and then clear up any mess they happen to leave behind. Madness!

The lambs, as mentioned above, are too tame for words. This is Dorothy with her mum. She is still the tamest of the lot and is just a delight. I am really looking forward to her being a 'grown up' sheep, to see whether she remains so tame.

The 'boys' are rogues. The little black one, Rhodri, butts at every opportunity and is clearly a little live wire. Iestyn butts too, but only in a very half-hearted way. He prefers to sidle up and chew my trousers. This is OK for now, but not OK when he gets through to the skin, and will not be OK when his teeth are bigger.

Last, but by no means least, the cats deserve more space than they get on this blog.

They are the best of friends. By far and away the best 'mix' of cats we've ever had. Lizzie is the dominant one. She insists on being washed by Dogger and he gets very bored with having to do this, but tolerates it wonderfully. We have always had more than one cat, but we've never had two that get on so well. (This picture is typical!).

And we have never had two cats who behave so much like dogs. Whenever I go out to work on the land, I can be sure that one, if not both of them, will suddenly appear by my side. They play while I work, they come for occasional strokes and they sit with me when I rest. And they are easier to have around than dogs - they don't require sticks to be thrown or walks to be organised. I love them both!

We have had something of a disaster with the baby chickens. Something has stolen three of the six that I had managed to hatch before I was able to organise protection for them. We suspect that it is a crow, or a magpie, although it may be a pair of jays. Very sad and very annoying. But that's nature, I'm afraid. Red in tooth and claw. The mother bird is quite happy with the three she has left and I shall try again, the next time I have a broody hen, to hatch some more and organise better protection for them.

In the meantime.....I shall post again about the shearing, as soon as I can and as soon as I have some pictures.

And then I shall post about the baby ducklings which are due to arrive.........................................