It’s going to be a solo date with me and Rolo, no one has come forward to join us - personally I can’t think of anything more fun than throwing buckets of water over each other in this heat, but it will be me and the bubbles and a much relieved grease-free and cooler pony.
A happy pony
There are, of course, other ways that animals can cool themselves down.
Our dogs taking it in turn in the troughs
Dog and owner both contemplating the river before a swim
Other animals are more difficult to help in the heat. The llamas do a good impression of playing dead and the piglets find just living generally exhausting.
Must be over fed!
And the teenage pigs are all having afternoon naps in the wood, I am not sure they are allowed out even if they feel like an adventure.
It is definitely more difficult to keep animals happy in the heat rather than the cold. And spare a thought for those whose time to go into labour not only coincides with some of the hottest temperatures recorded but cruelly two of our cows have produced twins! So going through it all twice; hay all round.
Our newest twins
On the strength of a suggestion that a smart high street shop wanted to film some heather at Swinithwaite, I rushed off to spend the potential earnings on a bull. Sadly, I think it was only a suggestion, and it has taken some nimble reasoning on my part to justify the arrival of Lionking. But after some extensive research both with our vets and our experienced neighbouring farmers, while I feel “ artificial intelligence” is certainly intelligent for being able to choose a bull from a catalogue, I couldn’t put the cows through the artificial bit, they deserved more - hence the imminent arrival of a full bloodied short horn bull.
I have found one animal on the farm - the black and white bull - impossible to bond with. It must be a chemical thing, we are never going to be friends. Luckily our paths don’t often cross.
The black and white bull
And I am sure this is his daughter!
The black and white devil heifer
A keen Farm Experience participant was a natural when it came to getting on with our team of animals, he charmed everyone.
And Doris and Gav the two Pygmy goats made the most of being free to eat while the other animals weren’t.
Our goat food hoovers
I wish I got on better with the "super C" (the Spey circle casting technique) - well outside my comfort zone on the banks of the Spey River in Scotland, where it was soon obvious that super C was the answer to everything. Once you had taken into account wind direction, fishing rod lines, flies and river direction, apparently it was still super C that was the solution. Having dragged several ladies up North who had all spent the last two years perfecting the original single Spey cast, it was all change!
Luckily, there were some men in the team who knew what they were doing and had great results.
Salmon on the Spey
Back home to the garden and some super views, and it's not just the flowers.
Garden view and flowers
We have taken the decision this year not to use any spray on the roses: the results have been an abundance of ladybirds and butterflies.
We have heard a lot about the small butterflies who navigate their way around the world. They are clearly not related to the butterflies who find themselves in my kitchen and have no idea how to find their way out.
The storms have been impressive this month, and I love the skies and the drop in temperatures that come with them.
Hopefully, the weather will be kind to the Swinifest Band Concert at Fairhurst's at Berry’s on 31st August; four bands have been booked and a hog roast in the Courtyard. It will be a bonus for the yurt occupants.
We are looking forward to sharing the team with families on holiday or locals checking up on the team’s progress on the Farm tours and Farm experiences this month. Duchess has timed her litter perfectly and is happy to share her many spotty babies with everyone - even the puppy could have a new playmate.
Bruce with his new piglet friend
And I can’t wait to have a little helper to help sponge Rolo down in the Summer - how quickly can grandchildren learn to hold a sponge?