Autumn is finally here!

The thing I love about this country is the ever changing seasons, as we go into autumn and the weather turns wet and windy it’s quite a nice change from those long hot summer days. The only problem is the days get shorter, and with so little daylight if the day doesn’t start well then before you know it you’ve lost the whole day and get very little done. At the moment I am clearing the cattle shed ready for them to come in for the winter, I like to keep them outside for as long as possible because although they are poaching the land with their hooves it’s still too mild for them to come inside and this can cause the calves to get pneumonia. Cattle don’t mind being out in very cold weather as long as it doesn’t turn wet as well.

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The calves are very well grown now and will soon need to be weaned from their mothers; this can be very noisy for a few days until they settle down so I will have to makes sure I do this when there is nobody staying in the Shepherds Hut or they might not get much sleep! I’ve started up keeping some sheep again, after a short spell without any; I have missed keeping them although they can be a real hassle when they want to be, always trying to escape! But this time I have chosen the breed Poll Dorsets these are relatively quiet sheep compared to some breeds and have lovely wool and fleeces. Some of the fleeces will end up in the yurts and bell tents and probably for sale as well. They’re also perfect for keeping the grass down in the camping field in the winter. Hopefully they won’t eat the trees that I have planted and what else would you expect to look out onto while staying in the Shepherds Hut? The chickens have been laying so many eggs that I’ve had to sell some to a neighbour who keeps thousands of organic chickens so as not to waste any. They really are looking a picture of health at the moment; I just need to be careful not to lose any to the foxes or badgers.

Talking of wildlife we seem to have a family of stoats near to the barns. I keep on seeing fleeting glimpses of them as they as they run around amongst the wood pile and machinery. They certainly won’t go hungry as there are still hundreds of rabbits around the farm. Also the kingfishers have been seen flying over the ponds a lot recently I hope the weather this winter isn’t to severe as apparently the last two winters have reduced their population, due to them not being able to feed on the frozen lakes. Luckily our lakes don’t tend to freeze over completely because they are spring fed; this water is warmer and keeps the ice at bay.

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