I wish I were a hedgehog!

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As I get out of bed, look out of the window and see another dark, cold and wet morning, I feel like going back under the warm duvet and curl up for more sleep. But the hens are calling to be let out of their coop and my day on the smallholding must begin… there are chores to be done, log baskets to be filled, kindling to be fetched and woodburners to light for a start. A hundred and one other things too, or so it seems when my motivation and energy levels are as low and weak as the ...

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Nature's own fireworks

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Aren't the Autumn colours beautiful? Such a fiery riot of reds, yellows, russets and oranges.

Like quiet fireworks, they illuminate our woodland-rich landscape during the daytime, just as fireworks and bonfires illuminate the night skies at this time of year. The rolling hills of Mid-Wales are a real kaleidoscope of colour as the trees continue to hang on to their burnished and rusty leaves.

In our garden, the display of autumnal colours is just as dazzling with the copper beech, the rowan and the ornamental cherries being the stars of this blazing spectacle! Their rich ruby tones have been ...

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Colchicum Autumnale

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How can it be 1st October already??! Before time runs away from me even more and the moment passes, here is something that we did in September.

We have Colchicum Autumnale, also known as Autumn Crocus, Meadow Saffron or even Naked Ladies, in one of our fields and we continue the work of the previous owners in counting the flowers each Autumn and passing on the numbers to the county recorder for the Botanical Society for Great Britain and Ireland.

These pretty wild flowers are rare nowadays but ours survive and thrive because the field has not been ploughed for ...

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September is here and change is in the air

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Is anyone else feeling that Autumn has been in a bit of a hurry this year? The end of the Summer seems to have occurred rather abruptly with cooler temperatures and unsettled weather pushing their way through August with much haste and determination. I have so enjoyed the long, hot days of Summer, a “proper Summer” of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner out on the patio for weeks, with glorious sunshine to help us feel well from the increased amounts of vitamin D being absorbed through our skin, where our water butts ran dry a couple of times (even in ...

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Heady days of Summer

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Our little spot in the hills of Mid-Wales is alive and in full growth. The bird population is at its peak as the young have now fledged and some are coming to the feeders with the adults. The grasses in the fields have turned to seed and have now reached well above my knees! Our tiny flock of sheep cannot graze the grass fast enough at this time of year and our Shetland ewe lamb easily disappears from sight in there! To my delight, I have spotted a few wild orchids in the meadow. The honeysuckle in the lane is ...

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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 ...

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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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Samhain, gateway to Winter

Celebrated by the Celts, Samhain is the festival that marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the darkening months of the year. At mid-point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, we are now entering darker times as we journey through the last quadrant on the Wheel of the Year before the Winter Solstice when the light returns. The clocks went back at the weekend and I have noticed how the energy of the sun is now much weakened, like it is getting tired and ready for its last breath.

While I was out gardening yesterday ...

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A (not so gentle) introduction to hen keeping

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Two weeks ago, we purchased four hens and their coop. Their keeper, from just over the hill from us, was moving away into rented accommodation and could not take them with them. We collected the coop first and got it ready for the hens. Betty, a Splash Maran, and her brood (a Light Sussex, a Speckledy and a Blubell) arrived in cardboard boxes at night time and we transferred them into their own coop but at their new location at ours. They made a little fuss but quickly settled in for the night.

The next morning, I let them out ...

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