The year rolls on, and we await the arrival of a new season. There are signs of Spring out there - some green shoots and buds appearing, and a very occasional hint of softness in the air. The equinoctial gales have been blasting us for what seems like months now, and battling the wind and horizontal rain seem to be permanent features of our day. Not much has been happening then, as we wait for this annual battle of Winter and Spring to be over. The land is so wet just now, I can't imagine ever being able to work it again, but a few weeks of dry weather and it will happen.
The sheep have all been given their fluke dose, the pregnant ewes are on the croft near the house, and the others are on the hill. We wont be lambing until the beginning of May this year, as we are going away on holiday next week, but already little snowy bundles are appearing in fields here and there.
The new hens have settled in, and the fight between Elvis and Cliff seems to have resolved itself. Cliff hadn't lost an eye, as I feared, and he seems back to his usual self. Maybe next year he will take over the crown, but for now Elvis is still the King. I currently have the broody hen sitting on a clutch of eggs, so we will see what happens there.
The cattle are still near the house, sheltering from the weather as much as they can. They are being fed a bale of silage every day as there won't be enough new grass anywhere for another couple of months. Then, they will be moved to some fresh grazing, and the field will get a rest.
The area around the garden boundary has been pretty churned up by hungry livestock over these Winter months. We are, in fact, thinking of bringing some of this area into crop production anyway, so we will plough it over and grow potatoes and possibly some oats. This needs to be done soon though, so some temporary fencing will be going up as soon as we get back from our trip.
The polytunnel has survived the gales, although the windbreak bore the brunt. I have to say I thought John was being a bit over the top with the amount of time and effort he spent building that windbreak, but oh how glad I am now that he was so fastidious. I haven't sown any tomatoes or chillies yet, because we are going to be away for a couple of weeks, so I have ordered plants which will be ready in mid-April. The sowing and planting will be starting then too, and, of course, this will be the best year yet!
So - you might have noticed a few mentions of an impending holiday in this post. At the end of next week we will be heading over to Switzerland to visit family - very excited about that. We travel home via Paris, where we will stay for a few days, before catching up with more family in Edinburgh - very excited about that too. Our neighbour is going to look after the animals for us, and it is the perfect time for a break before the real busyness kicks off. Lots to get organised over the next few days, so blogging may be a bit erratic - but I'll be sure to send plenty of postcards. xx
p.s you can hear me read part of this post at https://audioboo.fm/EffieProductions :)