Summer scorcher

July gets hotter and hotter; some parts of the country are regularly over 30 degrees. Grass around the country is the colour of straw; at the farm the animals have a lot of land to graze from, and Stuart is careful to move the animals appropriately to make the most of the better grazing. Today Stuart cut off low branches of trees around the border to give the cattle some extra tasty morsels. The cattle were quick to tuck into fresh leaves such as ash, oak and hazel. Watching them graze I noticed that the ladies’ coats are sunkissed – some now have blonde curls – but the bull stands out as his dun coat is still rich and dark. We’re at the highest point of the farm today; trees provide beautiful deep green accents across the view. We’re hopeful that the young trees planted this year for forage will survive the heat and lack of rain to provide food and shade in the future. We need rain! The hot sun is no deterrent for the fishermen however. The school holidays give fathers a chance to fish with their sons, providing bonding time and the sharing of skills. Today, though, retired Ted seems to be having the best success! He’s caught 15 fish so far this morning, some, he tells me, are double figures in weight. I’ve secretly given him the title of Fish Whisperer – they seem to leap onto his line!

On a hot day in June

Today I watched the butterflies dancing amongst the meadow grasses. There’s quite a view from up here in the cherry orchard, and on this very hot day it’s so clear you can see for miles. The sheep are enjoying the shade and I did too, eating cherries as I went, and I caught sight of a blackbird sneaking away with a bit of bright red in its beak. Mrs N told me that years ago her dear husband set up a contraption to disuade the birds from making off with the fruit. In amongst the trees he rigged up a metal device that bashed and clanged, and at its source was a rope at the farmhouse that he pulled vigorously early every morning to make lots of noise! Mrs N was none too happy about the din at that early hour, but it did serve its purpose – and as requested she dilligently pulled away at the rope from time to time during the day. The noise maker has long gone. The birds probably have belly ache from the amount they have eaten now but they have left some for us humans to enjoy. Such a lovely day, such a beautiful view, and shared with the sleepy sheep and the dancing butterflies.

Summer time… and the living is easy.

Well, not all that easy. When your Mamma can’t feed you despite every effort, someone has to lend a hand. In a few weeks little Jade will not need regular bottle feeding, but in the meantime she stays with her Mum for love and companionship – and a special blend of warm milk helps her to thrive.

Spring into Summer

The Winter has left us after what seems like a long visit and the orchards and meadows have suddenly bloomed into life. The farm sounds different too. Calls from mothers to their lambs and calves. Birds sing as they work to collect nesting material and food. Children laughing and having fun as they learn on their field trip to the farm. The blossom is popping out in their own time, some of the cherries are already losing their petals yet many of the apple varieties are yet to fully open. The sunshine has brought the fishermen to the banks of the pools, glad to be enjoying the warmth along with their sport. It’s so beautiful, fresh, uplifting and a joy to be here!