If you are eye level to a tulip head and it’s bobbing in the wind, apparently it's fair game. I’m fine about the only flash of vibrant colour in the garden lying in shreds. The culprit is a four-legged maniac who has ruled my life for the last three weeks.
The Tulip Eater
He is certainly taking up more space then his bulk suggests he should; I’m hoping it's not a large personality, his Labrador breeding is renowned for being steady, dull and occasionally greedy - we have certainly ticked one box so far, with half a butter block being propelled excitedly around the kitchen when the fridge door wasn't shut quickly enough.
A good day for most people is a project finished or the completion of a strenuous exercise challenge. For me, it’s wearing matching earrings. My long suffering husband has my earrings, amongst other things, to fix every morning - and the result has been bleeding ear lobes and jewellery pinging off in all directions!
Due to an annoying misstep, I am down to one wrist for a few weeks.
One advantage of being totally grounded is I am spending more time in the garden, and I am sure we have never had last year’s fruit on the same branch as this year’s leaves and blossom?
A Confused Fruit Tree
It also means there are semi-rotten berries all over the ground for pudding for the tulip eater. There has been a shortage of water this year. On one hand, the lambing has been easier with the dry and sunny days, but considering it's April, I don’t ever remember the lane ditch being completely dry.
Extraordinary to think this time last year we were using any available space to house lambs to save them from the snow drifts that were the height of many of the walls.
And the fuss I made about the ruts when the fields were muddy everywhere and I had a wedding to plan for: “it will all go in the Summer once the grass grows". Then the drought followed - nothing expensive matting couldn’t solve together with the help of some serious mowing from dedicated friends in the days before the wedding!
Every one is praying we don’t have another drought this year, sorry wedding planners!
This wonderful bird the curlew always heralds the Spring. It has sadly become quite rare, but it loves the pastures and many have learned to stay out of the meadows.
In team news - Rolo, the red Shetland pony, is doing his impersonation of a South Devon cow. It's a relief to have the cows out enjoying the grass after a Winter inside.
OK, Rolo isn't there...
The Highland cows have beaten every one in the calves race. The hornless heifer (not a catchy name) had her first calf, a pretty black bull - and the old blonde cow had another black bull, no doubting the father this year.
The 21 piglets are taking free-range to a new level; they are enjoying the whole farm and pop up with the Friesian cows, sheep and lambs and even enjoy the tennis court and tractor park. The mother sows can’t believe their luck with so much peace and quiet.
Sherlock the boar is loving the outdoors looking like a small cow. He is excited about the rumour of new young talent coming from Suffolk to bring new genes to the Swinithwaite pig herd.
The grass really is greener on the other side
All the hens, having been fooled by the warm weather, have gone broody, sitting tight on all the nests believing now is the time to have little chicks. I have accounted for all the hens except a Wheaton Moran, who will be somewhere in the Viking ship woodland, a prize for anyone who finds her! Even the cream leg bar hen has decided after two years of laying the beautiful blue eggs it is time to hatch some.
But sadly none of her eggs will be fertile due to her independent lifestyle. I will swap the eggs around as she will be an excellent mother.
With all this baby chat, I was offered a stripey number who looked very cute - I did resist, however, feeling kittens lead to cats, and since cats always run their own lives, the house rules might not coincide.
The pet lambs are going great guns - one with horns, one with a white face and one of large stature that will grow into a mule.
Sadly, with one wrist I haven’t been a huge help on the bottle feeding front, luckily the farm tours have taken care of a few shifts.
I am following doctor's orders and keeping my hand out of the washing-up bowl, a model patient.