Goodbye, little Chalkie

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My last blog entry two weeks ago ended with the joys of new lambs bringing playful energy onto the smallholding. Sadly, this post is about the sudden death of one of them.

Twin brothers Charlie and Chalkie, as we settled to call them, were coming up to three weeks old, playing in the field happily and with bounds of energy. Both seemed to be growing well and loved to jump on the hay bale we had put in the field for them. They were becoming increasingly inquisitive, always together and learning to nibble on grass whilst spending more and more ...

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The delights of nature in the Spring

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Finally, it seems that Spring is here to stay! We have had a few lovely warm days and the sun has been very welcome! Sunny days give us a spring in our step and motivate us into action!

The garden is looking lovely with an array of Spring bulbs now in bloom. We have daffodils lining the drive on each side and narcissi, pink hyacinths, purple fritillaria and blue grape hyacinths. There are also quite a few pale yellow primroses here and there. Clumps of dainty wood anemones have suddenly appeared in the lane, replacing the snowdrops now all faded ...

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Spring - the season for new beginnings

It's the Spring Equinox today and from now light makes significant gains over dark as days get longer and longer till the Summer Solstice. Winter is receding to be replaced by Spring, a season which brings renewed hope and energy for new beginnings.

This year, Winter appears reluctant to loosen its grip: we are only just emerging out of a very cold few days with a significant amount of snow and wind that left us snowed in for a couple of days for the second time this month. Spring serves as a transition season, a buffer between opposites Winter and ...

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A tick off the to-do list - a big one!

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When we moved here, we decided that the first room in the house that we wanted to revamp was the utility/laundry/boot room. Pretty much the only space that needed updating and make more functional for us.

It's off the kitchen with a door to the outside and two windows that cover most of the walls. It's a single-skin building so it gets cold in winter and hot in summer. It had some floor units in a sort of L-shape and a sink. The room housed not only the washing machine but also all the meters and inverters to do with ...

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A very chilly St David's Day!

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Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! Happy St David's Day! The only daffodils around are those bought at the market last week and now in the vase on the dining table. They brighten the house with their vibrant colour and scent. The ones growing outside are a few weeks off yet - and may have suffered a setback with this week's snow, freezing temperatures and wind aka The Beast from the East and Storm Emma!

With extreme weather, life on the smallholding becomes stressful because it is tough to keep basic needs met. It's a struggle to keep sheep and hens with ...

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Lambskins... they're back from the tannery

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When we sent two of our lambs to slaughter in September, I brought back their skins so I could have them made into rugs. They came back from the tannery this week and they are gorgeous!

Lambskins are a by-product of having a lamb slaughtered for meat and usually they are not returned to the producer. Some abattoirs send some to tanneries for them to be processed into rugs but most are thrown away. When we were thinking about keeping sheep and raising lambs for meat, I thought it was a waste and I looked into rug making from lambskins. ...

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The stirrings of the new year

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The first month of 2018 is reaching its end and there is now a sense that the new year has firmly begun, the cogs of the wheel of the year re-engaged after the pause and call for hibernation around the Winter Solstice. One month on and the hours of daylight have increased noticeably. Our hens now stay out for a whole hour longer and they are laying more eggs. The snowdrops are out and each day, I notice a new clump of beautiful white flowers blooming along the lane. Crocus, narcissi, daffodil and tulip bulbs are popping up in pots, ...

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Happy Winter Solstice!

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Today is the Winter Solstice, an important point in the calendar as it marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It is a celebration of the returning light that goes on gaining strength until the Summer Solstice in June. The Winter Solstice also marks the start of a new season: Winter, when nature is dormant, wildlife hibernates and the trees that have shed their leaves now put all their energy into their roots deep underground.

Very appropriately, I spent this morning at a Winter Solstice Mindfulness event in woodland at Erddig Hall near Wrexham. Our group ...

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Snowed in!

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After a weekend of heavy snow fall, we are snowed in! Peter stayed at home today as there was no way he would attempt to drive down the hill to work. Getting out of our drive alone would have been a challenge with 18 cm of snow and a fair amount of ice too!

Once the sheep were fed with plenty of fresh bedding in their shelters and hay in the racks and once we had broken the ice off the drinkers and water troughs, we enjoyed walks to take photos. Especially today as the sun was out and the ...

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Home is where the hearth is

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At this time of year, governed by the decreasing hours of sunlight, we spend much more time indoors. Days are short and we begin to retreat inside from just after 4pm. The hens take themselves back into their coop from around that time and I pack away their food in the shed for the night. I do a final check on the sheep too and then begin to prepare the house for the evening and the night: topping up the log baskets, drawing the curtains and preparing dinner.

One thing that I notice at this time of year is how ...

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