There have been some new arrivals on the farm recently, I had a ewe produce lambs very late out of sink with the rest but I had a nice surprise as she had a lovely set of triplets and all are doing well. Also the 3 pedigree South Devon heifers all calved successfully to the Aberdeen Angus bull one had a heifer calf and the other two had bull calves all again doing very well.
We have been busy as usual, looking after the livestock. They have been eating their way through the hay and silage that we made in the summer at an alarming rate, but fingers crossed that we will have enough to last until the grass starts to grow again in the spring. At the moment that seems a long way off. Its turned cold and dry again but we have missed all of the snow so far! With all this amazing dry weather it has enabled us to get on the land for the first time in many months so there has been a lot of farm work to do such as spreading the farm yard manure, ploughing and hedge trimming. Also we have used this time to clear some land that had become very overgrown for a neighbour and transplanted many of the sapling tree that we removed.
These have been put in the valley above the yurts along with many brought in the trees to create a new woodland. They will take quite a few years to mature and in the meantime the tufty grasses in between will create a perfect habitat for mice and voles, which in turn is food for barn owls and kestrels. To help them get established here we are putting up nest boxes and recently two of the six that we are getting have arrived, so the hunt is on to the find the best trees to put them in.
While i am on the subject of wildlife i have been seeing the kingfishers a lot recently, they love the lakes here because no matter how cold it gets they never freeze over because they are spring fed which always leaves an area of clear water for them to find food. The otters are coming back occasionally , I haven’t seen them for a while but I know they’ve been as I have seen footprints and keep finding the half eaten remains of fish! (Not so good)! But they have to eat.
More of a problem are the cormorants that come in from the coast, as we are not very far from the sea. They have been a real nuisance this winter, especially when at its coldest it must be easier pickings for them here instead of out at sea. So we will have to keep chasing them off. On the other hand the heron comes in quite often and I don’t mind them having some fish as they are less damaging. They are such beautiful birds with a massive wing span, they are so graceful in flight for such big birds. The Canada Geese have been very noisy this year as they argue over which pair are going to nest on the island but as I write it would seem that they have now sorted it out! I also saw a lapwing the other day, the first one for many years, they only seem to come here in very cold weather and there are lots of small birds around the yurts, no doubt helped by the fact that I have been feeding them a lot this winter.
The yurts will be going back up soon, the new base for the 18 foot yurt is ready, and as soon as the weather conditions allow, they will be up and ready for another season. (we have had snow in March, lets hope it warms up soon!)