Spring 2020, one to remember

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As we head into June and towards Summer, we look back at Spring 2020, which has proved to be very unusual in more ways than one!

Hit by the global Covid19 pandemic, the country went into lockdown at the Spring Equinox with the message to "Stay At Home". Peter worked from home for the first three weeks and then went on to be furloughed, which he continues to be until the end of June. That has been a great opportunity for us to tick things off our long to do list: we have re-done the roof of one of the …

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New life at Easter

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Our little flock of six hens is keeping us well stocked up with eggs at the moment and we sell our surplus via an honesty stall at the top of the drive. At the beginning of the year, though, we had to go and buy eggs because production had gone right down and that went on for several weeks. Out of our six hens, only two are young and productive, although last Winter, at the end of their first laying year, even they stopped laying after their big moults. The other four are getting rather old: Mother Hen Betty is …

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Finding balance

It's the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere today and Spring is officially here. Astronomically, an equinox is the moment when the Earth's equator passes through the centre of the sun, momentarily creating an equilibrium between night and day because of the way the Earth tilts in relation to the Sun. The word equinox comes from the Latin word "aequinoctium" meaning 'equal night'.

Right now, the stabilising energy that this balance brings feels really important. The world, this Spring, has been plunged into a huge amount of vulnerability and uncertainty. The chaos and changes brought by the Covid-19 …

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Nurturing hope in the garden

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Spring is nearly here and the growing season is well under way on the smallholding by now. Every inch of windowsill space in the sunroom holds trays and propagators with seeds growing this year's harvest. When seedlings are big enough and in need of more light than they can get in the sunroom, they get moved to either the heat mat on the shelf in the potting shed, the greenhouse or the polytunnel.

This time of year is always very exciting, full of promise and wonder at the huge potential for growth and transformation held in a tiny seed. Right …

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From Africa to Wales

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Since moving here, I have learnt a lot about wildlife, especially the wild birds that visit our place. I can now identify many and recognise their songs and calls. I spend time birdwatching, which is a great way to familiarise myself with their world, record their numbers, observe their behaviours and generally get a sense of their comings and goings. Some are here all year round but some only visit during the Summer and it is always very exciting when they arrive.

One particular bird that has sparked my interest is the redstart and every Spring, I eagerly await their …

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Ready, Steady, Grow!

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Our new polytunnel is now up and ready! By the end of January, we had added several trailer loads of sheep and cow manure to the soil and mid-February, we spotted a window of opportunity to put the cover on when the weather forecast showed a good few days of sun, warm temperatures and no wind. We gathered a few helpers on Valentine's Day (how romantic!!!) and by the end of the day, the polythene cover was secured on the frame and the doors were fitted. Peter has done a great job with an additional trench and a pond to …

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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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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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New life on the smallholding

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When we first got our ewes, 18 months ago, everybody was asking us what our plans were for them ie will we put them to the ram and have lambs from them. They were our lawn mowers so thinking about lambs was just not within our radar then. As novice sheep owners, there were plenty of new skills to acquire to look after them before we could even contemplate lambing! Besides, they were lambs themselves so we had another year to think about having lambs from them.

As time passed, we settled into looking after our ewes and Spring came, …

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