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 enough water... I take buckets of warm water to the sheep several times a day; it's an impossible task for the hens as the moment I re-fill the drinkers, the water freezes. The sheep actually seem unbothered by the weather; they have a field shelter with hay in the rack and straw on the floor so they seem happy enough (plus they get extra nuts!). The hens are not so happy in this weather. They dislike the wind! One has refused to leave the coop today so I have broken all the rules of no food and drink in the coop (it attracts rats!!) and made her a warm porridge (or rather a mash with pellets and water) and brought her some corn. Just as they were beginning to increase their egg laying, this blizzard is likely to confuse the egg production because the weather is much closer to Winter this week as it is to Spring!
We are watching our supply of logs quickly dwindle down this week! I have had both woodburners on all day, which I rarely do. I have had to come in a few times to warm my fingers and toes after doing the rounds of chores and there is nothing worse than coming in to a cold house. So the fires are on! We can order some more logs! I need to look after myself so I can look after my livestock!
On the positive side, birds that would not normally be seen so close are frequent visitors to the garden this week: this morning, I have seen a song thrush, a redwing and a field fare eating holly berries off the grass just by the house. There were at least another 2-3 of each in the tree. Also, I have had a go at animal print tracking on the lane: I identified the prints of a hare, a rabbit and a pheasant.
I am now going to make myself a cup of tea before putting on my coat, hat and gloves again and braving this blizzard for another round of livestock checking. Stay safe and warm everyone.