Life on the hill, newsletter #9, Spring 2020Posted on 7th June 2020
Newsletter #9, Spring 2020
What a spring!
We have three beautiful goat kids, born at the beginning of April. They are quite the ‘gang’, keeping their mothers and myself busy. Goat kids are the best entertainment, they are inquisitive, very bouncy and very endearing. Milking once a day, we are sharing the goat milk with the kids. Caramel is the only girl, a Saanan cross Golden Guernsey. Bunny is her twin brother and Bear is a pure Golden Guernsey billy kid.
Sadly we lost Bilbo one of our pigs to old age this winter. Ruby, his mate, is living her life out in the wood and enjoying sunning herself in this incredible weather we are having. She enjoys a scritch and a scratch as we pass by.
We have had six lovely Shetland ducklings hatch out this week. They are in a big box with a heat lamp in the middle of the kitchen. Shetland ducks are on the endangered list, but I can’t think why more people don’t keep them. They are wonderful layers, good foragers and comical too.
A new horse has joined us as a companion to Minstrel, our old gypsy cob. Paddy is also a cob, young and enthusiastic. They balance each other very well, he keeps Minstrel active and she teaches him his manners!
With the weather so incredibly warm, the Shetland sheep were very ready to have their fleeces off. They are hand sheared under the trees in the shade, an annual event that marks the end of spring. Ed is hopeful for a homespun jumper. He will have to wait for the long winter nights when carding and spinning happen. These long, warm spring evenings find us still outside until dusk many nights, jobs in the flower and vegetable gardens seemingly endless. A new polytunnel has been put up in the vegetable garden. This will extend our growing season considerably and will also mean that the big window in the house is not filled with tomato and cucumber plants for half of the year!
Exciting news last month was the arrival of two new bee swarms. They have had the may blossom and fruit tree blossom humming. The borage is a favourite now and I never tire of watching bees disappearing in and out of foxgloves.
Today we collected elderflower heads, in the sunshine at midday, our first of many batches of elderflower cordial.
As I write, the swallows are swooping past the window, catching insects in the dusk. There are eggs in their nests and we await the baby swallows hatching. A wren built her nest above a barn doorway, a very busy route for us and the baby wrens flew for the first time yesterday. Nature is amazing.
Best wishes from all of us on the hill,
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