OK, I have had a few months off from my blog, and while I’m not sure a lot of people have noticed, when I was editing my photographs, I thought I would like to share a few from the Summer.
It's been a Summer of cautiously coming out from relative solitude and learning the art of being social again. Every activity had to be COVID-friendly and calculated for risk. Our first fun event was a major family birthday that was held outdoors, it was still fun and my husband is now firmly rooted in the 60’s.
Setting for a quiet COVID birthday celebration
And just because I haven’t produced a blog for a while, folk thought they could take on all sorts of my responsibilities, and all the new stock have been given ridiculous names. Sherlock, our resident boar, had his last litter and we have kept a young boar to replace the ageing one - apparently the new young thrusting, flaring, snorting male is to be called Chutney to go with his present squeeze, a pretty mangolitza pig called Mango. How is ‘Chutney’ going to stamp his authority on the new young pigs?
The new young boar, Chutney, with Mango
Staying with pigs, Fluffy, our interim boar, has fathered our first pink piglets on the farm. Even with a completely black Berkshire mother, her influence isn’t obvious.
Me with the first pink piglets on the farm
The pinks soon showed their mischievous nature and were exploring everywhere except their pen.
Pinks on the loose
The Spring also saw the lambs born and then moved to the pastures. Despite having to cope with temperatures of -4°C this May, this hay couldn’t be used for the hungry sheep as there was a bantam sitting on the top bale with 18 unfertilised eggs under her. I know bantams have a fierce side to them but they needn’t rule the whole yard.
The small bantam hen sitting on a hay stack
My favourite hen on the farm, the small cream leg bar who lays stunning green eggs, does stamp her authority on most activities. Her latest nest did take some finding - if you lay green eggs and you want the eggs to stay hidden, use a green sack.
The clever cream legbar hen with her latest nest
The Highlands finally produced three calves, although young Blondie kept us waiting so long that she lost this year’s slot with the gorgeous short horn bull, Lion King, so she will have a year off motherhood next year and will be keeping the teenagers in line. The very old cow was the first to calve, and at age 17 she still makes it look easy. Her calf was born on Maundy Thursday, and so is called Maundy. H the hairy hornless Highland had a calf born on St George’s day, so she is called Georgina; and Blondie had Mo a few weeks ago. “M” and “O” are the initials of my son and his new fiancée, who became engaged the week he arrived. It’s good I am back on naming duty!
Mo, the new Highland cross calf
The happy couple
H the hairy hornless Highland is continuing to enjoy showing the benefits of not carrying horns everywhere so she can reach more places. Poor Blondie can only look on.
Where you can get to with no horns
Blondie looks on
I was lucky to have my little helper over in July, with quarantine she had to stay with me while Mother worked from a bedroom. Summer, now nearly two, hadn’t forgotten any of the chores, so we were quickly into filling up water buckets, washing the pony and picking the fruit with a well earned rest afterwards.
Summer with her jobs
A well earned rest
With everything getting booked up this year, finding a staycation holiday was difficult, but we managed to book four days in Northumberland. We visited Alnwick gardens and had the best fish ever at the Riley Shack in Tynemouth on the beach. I think my husband bonded more with the fish than the gardens.
On our holidays at Alnwick exploring the gardens with a Kindle
On our holidays at Riley's fish shack on King Edward's Beach in Tynemouth
The obvious highlight of the Summer was finding a spare slot in the bookings at The Wensleydale Experience, staying a night in a yurt, and taking full advantage of the hot tub – now, that is a staycation!
Husband in the hot tub on staycation
The countdown is now on for the final event of the Summer, when Swinifest returns to Fairhurst’s at Berry’s on the August Bank Holiday weekend. With The Messengers as the headline act, fresh Yorkshire Tapas and hog and ox boxes to eat, and local beer to drink, tickets are selling out fast. Hope to see you there.