Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Days Off, Country Wedding, Weaning Lambs

The Farmer and I took a day off and had picnic at a lovely little cove on the north Pembrokeshire coast. The tide was out hence the green apron of weed covered stones that are treacherously slippery whether the tide be in or out. It is however a quiet spot and the day we went quite deserted. We sat and watched the gulls and a lone oystercatcher bathing in the little freshwater stream that runs across the edge of the beach. A perfect antidote to the hectic rush at the farm.

After the hectic pace of getting yet more silage in we are now in whirl of people and having to be sociable...not that we don't enjoy people, but they seem to come in a never-ending stream barely giving us time to catch our breath.
Last Saturday we had the usual cottage changeover and then had to get to a wedding at lunch time which made for a breathless morning. The wedding was down in the village at the farm of some dear friends upon whom the weather gods were smiling. It was a glorious warm sunny day of blue skies having been preceded by a very wet and miserable day and the day after was also vile. However, the wedding took place in the pretty flower-filled garden of the farmhouse with a string quartet playing and everyone smiling and happy. The food for the reception had been supplied almost in its entirety from the farm...beautiful succulent home-grown fillet of beef, with carrots, cabbage & new potatoes dug from the garden the day before followed by summer pudding made with blackcurrants and raspberries picked from the garden. Perfect! A very happy day.

We have had more family visiting which is always lovely and as we have been busy with farming they have gone off to do their own thing and come back here for supper which is always a good arrangement.

Yesterday the Farmer had to attend the funeral of one of the postmen who delivered to the farm many years ago and always came in for a cup of tea (another country custom that has disappeared, the posties don't have time nowadays & are probably not allowed to linger & gossip). The Farmer & his brother went to the funeral as they had fond memories of the postman who used to come after work to help their father with hay-making and used to give the two boys lifts to end of the lane in the post van, to meet the school bus...another thing that would not be allowed now.
As the Farmer was away most of the day the Sons got on with weaning the lambs. The sheep were all brought in, the ewes separated and then taken to land we have across the valley while the lambs were put in fields nearer home. It is noisy but necessary job.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Summer Work, Bees Swarming, Beach Picnics

With the wonderful weather at the end of June things have been so very busy especially with the Met Office forecasting heavy rains so the Sons were out working in silage fields for almost 10 different farms in the locality at the end of last week. One day they left here at 8.30am and did not return until 5.30 the following morning having been cutting grass, baling and wrapping all that time to beat the weather front. Summer is the time of very hard work in preparation for the coming winter.

The fine weather also made the bees think about swarming. The Farmer's hives have been very busy with the two strong colonies working well but we have had two swarms in a week. The first one decided to take up residence in Elder Son's cottage roof which gave them access to the roof space. It was impossible to get them out en masse so they had to smoked out which took a long time. The second swarm was almost text book in its pattern of behaviour...there was an empty collector hive just a few yards from the main hives and the swarm moved into it without any messing about. The Farmer was delighted. They have settled into the new hive now and are working busily in the gardens which are full of pollen-rich trees and flowers at the moment.

We had some cousins come to stay last week, camping on the lawn. They spent their days at the beach with a small inflatable boat with an outboard motor or our Canadian canoe exploring the coast line and fishing. One evening we all went to join them for a picnic on Cwmtydu beach. The Farmer and S. went fishing with hand-lines and caught 9 mackerel & pollack which we then cooked over a fire on the beach. The small grand-children had a lovely time paddling in the shallows, getting drenched, messing about with buckets and spades and watching the menfolk playing ducks and drakes competing to see who could get the most bounces from flat stones skimmed across the water, and generally doing what little children should on a beach.