View from the Hill 12th June 2018
click on pictures to enlarge →
Four orphan lambs with a hearty appetite. Named after beers this year, we have from the left, Buddy, Ferrett, Otter and Tangle, from an assortment of backgrounds, they are thriving on lamb formula milk, and at last have started eating lamb weaner pellets. They have played an important role in the last few weeks when we have welcomed visits from several different schools, feeding the lambs is always high up on the agenda, after we have spent some time in the fields investigating growing crops, and in the woods looking at wild flowers and trees, and learning such important things as the difference between fern and bracken. One group spent some time with our patient old pony Florrie, and had fun with hairstyles, which she clearly didn’t think much of.
We have spent a good deal of time improving farm tracks and installing new water pipes in the last couple of weeks, one new pipe had to negotiate 6 old pipes crossing its route, as well as a now defunct electric cable and a phone wire. Most were detected before we started digging using a clever piece of kit we hired in, one part of it connects to and creates a signal in metal pipes, which can then be detected by a handheld gadget which squeals when it detects a signal in the soil beneath. This enabled us to carefully expose the crossing points in all but one case, so we had the inevitable flood in the trench, which fortunately we were able to isolate, but then spent ages in Blandford hunting out the fittings we needed to fix the break. Those with experience in these matters will know that the law of sod never fails to operate on such occasions, no matter how many pipe fittings you have in stock, you never have the actual one you need to complete a repair, and no matter how careful you are with the digger, you will always cause at least one unintended piece of damage, which can easily double the length of time needed for the whole job. I hardly need add that of course this happened on a Friday afternoon.
The last few weeks have seen a riot of blossom in the hedgerows and woodlands as the fine weather has encouraged terrific flowering everywhere, this has now moved onto our field margins, which are well populated with white ox eye daisies, they look lovely right now, and will soon be succeeded by purple Knapweed, lilac Scabius and white Wild Carrot, similar to Yarrow, but identifiable by the red spot in the middle of the flower head. This photo shows a hawthorn bush in full flower, which with luck will later be laden with red berries which the birds will devour in the colder months of the year. The birds’ larder is filling for next winter.
After a very late start, our poppies are struggling this season and and very inferior to the last few years’ crops. They are slow and thin, lacking vigour. Our agronomist’s opinion is that they have suffered unduly from the herbicide treatments we have applied to control weeds, and being so dry they have struggled to recover fully.