Sunday, 27 February 2011

Busy Bees

At last there is some colour in the garden with a good show of crocuses underneath the apple tree and it is not just me that's enjoying them as they are a buzz with lots of bees all with their heads covered in pollen.

It is nice that it has turned a bit warmer (we even had a moment of sunshine!) and it has brought the insects out but unfortunately the warmer weather didn't arrive in time for our visit to Bedford to see a demonstration by Monty Roberts (horse whisperer). It was freeezzzing but it didn't detract from the evening and Monty was amazing as ever. It was quite nerve wracking to watch a 76 year old man walking behind a horse that was kicking out at lightening speed. Needless to say the horse was quickly brought under Monty's spell. I wish I had his skill...and his courage:)

The rest of the weekend was spent visiting my eldest son and his girlfriend who also live in Bedfordshire. We stayed at a hotel next to an area of lakes full of wildfowl. Unfortunately I had forgotten the binoculars but it was still lovely to walk round the lakes and even nicer to wake in the morning to the sound of geese honking.

We returned home on Monday, calling in at the RSPB reserve in Sandy where we checked out their binoculars in the shop. It made me realise that we need to get some new ones.

On Tuesday we were back to helping with the Old Surrey Downs Project but this time it was moving some cows which was a new experience for me. Cows and I don't usually get on too well...they chase me...but these seemed ok. I just wish I could understand what they are thinking when they stare at me. It is easy to read a horse's body language but cows seem to give nothing away which I find rather un-nerving. They will be conservation grazing a lovely area of chalk grassland in Chipstead, Surrey.

This is just a short post as I want to get back to the where they have 24hour lamb cams watching the lambing pens. It is addictive viewing. Yesterday we saw two sets of twins born. It is also very useful to see what happens as we will be involved with the project's own lambing this year. The barn is now all ready to go with the floor, walls and hurdles all cleaned and disinfected. Lambing is due to start on 16th March. The picture below shows Jack, the sheep dog, jumping the gate...I'm sure he has springs in his legs:))

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Averting an Accident

After spending a lovely relaxing weekend in the New Forest we were soon back to hard work. In the area of SSSI that the ponies are grazing at the moment, there is a deep bomb crater. It is surrounded by brambles, so hasn't been easily accessible, but the earlier snow flattened the brambles so we thought we should climb down to have a better look at what was in it. We were horrified to find that, what we thought were more brambles, was actually masses of rusty barbed wire and other junk. The grazing officer decided there was too much junk and it would be too dangerous to remove it, so Tuesday was spent taking out trees and scrub from around the outside of the crater so that a fence could be put up to stop the ponies from getting in there. We then spent the afternoon moving logs...on Wednesday I could hardly move I ached so much! It was a good job done though as I dread to think what would have happened if the ponies had gone into the crater and got caught in all that barbed wire.

It is nice to see the stirrings of new life in the pony field. Cuckoo Pint is springing up in the old copse area. It looks lovely and juicy but the ponies never eat it so I'm guessing it doesn't taste as good as it looks, although, Culpeper says it will, 'cleanse all manner of rotten and filthy ulcers' and 'heal the stinking sores in the nose' and that, 'mixed with hot ox-dung and applied, will ease the pain of gout.' old mum thinks she has a touch of gout but doesn't want to bother the doctor with it:)))))

Dog's Mercury is also beginning to come up and is another plant that the ponies will not touch probably because it is poisonous, although, again according to my Culpeper's Complete Herbal, if the leaves are rubbed on warts they will go and Hippocrates reckons that when applied to a female's 'secret parts' it will cure all sorts of women's problems...I'm shocked at the language :D

Sadly the garden remains devoid of snowdrops which no doubt the pheasants have something to do with. The pheasant below is the most friendly and follows me around the garden.

The area under the tree at one time had lots of spring flowers growing under it but this year it is just a patch of mud and the culprits are easy to spot. Luckily they don't touch the daffodils and they are coming up all over the place so we should have some colour soon.

We are off to Bedfordshire next weekend to visit my eldest son and his partner and to see a demonstration by Monty Roberts, the horse whisperer. We went to one of his shows last year and it was amazing so I am really looking forward to it.