I am bang on trend with the recycling processes, washing out jars and cans and composting anything the animals can’t eat. Even my coffee machine uses filter paper, which the younger generation think is quaint but fiddly.
But when you see a blackboard proclaiming to be free from all chemicals, how do they get round the coffee machines using plastic pods for every cup?
But we are probably less up to speed with helping the climate. The idea of having inspectors over to check the humidity of our seasoned logs before we burn them on the open fire is not a popular thought. Even after having our local MP exalted to the ranks of Chancellor of the Exchequer, he is going to have bigger issues to deal with then wood moisture. Talking inspectors, we were rung by the government cattle inspector to say our cattle were going to be checked for ear tags with only two days' notice.
The South Devon cattle were straightforward, but I was concerned about the Highland cows. We all know there is a yellow tag in their ears, but it is never obvious with their cascading locks.
Looking For Ear Tags
The lady was very understanding and thankfully it all went off without a hitch - some sweet hay did the trick. I dreaded having to get all eight Highlands into a crush to look more closely, she said it was a breeze compared to wild Limousin bullocks.
The inspector also confirmed what we already suspected: that people were friendlier in the North. She said when she worked in the South and rang to announce her arrival, she would get a torrent of abuse down the telephone. It is never convenient to drop everything for an official inspection, but controls of animal documentation are never going to go away.
Staying with the Highlands, we decided to spane the calves to give the mothers a few weeks to recover before calving again - getting the timing wrong sees Highland cows jumping gates and walls to get back to their calves, but the last two years have been a breeze. Clearly all but the calves were very happy with the timing.
Happy Hours After the Calves Have Left
Auntie, the sow, has happily left the boar and is getting ready to have her piglets - although with handstands at tea time, this is clearly not imminent.
Auntie Waiting For Her Piglets to Arrive
The birds are all pairing up, but this family have beaten all records after trotting out from the undergrowth with 10 chicks!
Chicks in January
Very annoying as none of our tame hens seem able to hatch anything, and they are given every possible help.
The peach tree is in full blossom in the Peach House at Fairhurst's at Berry’s, where they are gearing up to host St Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day spoiling teas.
Plant in Berry's
Valentine’s Dinner was a very special evening, these themed evenings are getting rightly very popular. But just when Berry’s thought the weather couldn’t get worse with the floods and staff getting to work, we had this!
Snow at Berry’s
The enterprising staff have managed to keep the café open, apart from one very soggy day. The snow was very pretty if you didn’t have to drive through it.
A Snowy Garden
A Snowy River
Vet visits are due for two culprits who both need their toes clipping, matts removing and worming. I am not doing two journeys to the vet, but one culprit is a killer and the other is unlikely to kill anything, I will just have to have one firmly anchored at the back of the car.
One Culprit for the Vet Trip
The Second Culprit
Back to Geneva and the gorgeous chemical-free coffee, I was impressed with this 200 year old tree living near the coffee and next to the road.
200 Year Old Tree
Immaculate care had been taken to protect the old tree’s roots from a new drain.
Protected Roots of The Tree
I was glad my young family did not live under its boughs as it won’t last forever, hopefully it will finally come down under some control.
I was lucky to coincide the Geneva trip with a 70th celebration for my brother-in-law. We had wonderful reindeer to eat and some special red wines. Fortunately, Adrian wasn’t with me to remind me we were doing dry February, and he has cleverly forgotten February has 29 days this year.
The Lake in Geneva was as beautiful as ever with the snow-topped mountains as a back drop.
And this pumped-up swan clearly had anger issues while patrolling his patch of the lake.
An Angry Swan
I had a fun few days enjoying my granddaughter, Summer. We watched continuous activity on the road below, with every new detail being studied and examined.
Me with Summer
I topped up my intake of vitamin D from the glorious sunshine and flew straight into the arms of George, the Storm waiting for me at Leeds. At least I had missed storms E and F.
The land seemed just as saturated as when I left, but thankfully we just had to cope with a few days of being cut off and not the awful ruin of homes and businesses being experienced across the country.
The days are so much longer already; it's a relief to know I now have until 5pm to feed the team, never being a fan of the head torch. I know everyone swears by them, but you do look odd, and just a few short weeks ago I had to skip round everything by 3pm.
There has been a plea for men’s hats, gloves and scarves in this month’s Church magazine for the homeless - it is an awful thought that people are not under cover in this weather, I will search the cupboards for clothes to recycle.