The trouble I find, when someone I know is moving house, is that it makes me restless to move house myself. I love my valley... I step into the garden and look out over fields and woods, hear birds singing and lambs bleating...idyllic except that there is a constant drone of traffic, interspersed by sirens and planes taking off or flying in to Biggin Hill Airport. It is a compromise we had to make to be able to afford a place adjoining open countryside but near to London (at the time of purchase hubby was in the London Fire Brigade) but I dream of one day moving to somewhere rural and quiet. Recently the perfect place came on to the market. It is not very far away but has 5 acres of chalk grassland and woodland...I can just imagine walking through my own wild flower meadow and on in to my own woodland full of Aconites, Blue bells and Wood Anemones...all I need is a couple of million pounds:)))))
Luckily I get to visit lots of lovely chalk grassland sites when doing the Livestock volunteering with the Downlands Project. Here is a quick run down of some of the things that have been going on since my last post:
Early on a cold misty morning we made our way down the steep hill at Tatsfield to where the ponies were grazing. Over the last few days we had got them used to being caught again in readiness for a visit by the farrier to trim their feet. It always makes me a bit apprehensive as being conservation grazing ponies they are not handled much so can be unpredictable, however, they were very well behaved although Rufus did try to jump on top of me a couple of times when the farrier dropped his tools. Last week we had the more enjoyable job of worming them...it is genuinely more enjoyable as the wormer, which is cinnamon and apple flavoured, is mixed with pony nuts so we are greeted by lots of excited whinnies when they spot us making our way down the hill:)
There have been quite a lot of sheep related jobs too with several sheep moves, collections of faecal samples for worm egg counts and when needed, the administration of wormers for them too (not so nice as it is injected down their throat..but they don't seem to mind), more hoof trimming and because of the exceptionally warm weather that brought the first flies out, a spray to prevent fly strike.
Everything has now been prepared for lambing; the hurdles used to make the pens were scrubbed and disinfected along with the barn floor and walls....
The pens have been constructed and filled with straw bedding. The first lot of ewes are in and due to lamb anytime now with the lambing team on rota to check them. You can guess what my next post will be about:))
Last week we also helped move five of the Project's cows to one of my favourite sites, Park Ham, near Caterham. I hadn't seen the cows for a couple of months and was amazed at how much their horns had grown making them look very handsome..
At Park Ham they are sharing the vast grazing area with the Herdwick sheep. It was a new experience for both and at first the cows ran away from the sheep, then the sheep ran away from the cows but by the time we had finished our picnic lunch, looking down from the edge of the bowl, they were all grazing happily together:)
Lastly, back to the ponies. Because of the warm weather they are shedding their winter coats which is making them very itchy as Rufus demonstrated.
First he had an itchy leg...
Then it was an itchy ear....
Then Tavey came to the rescue saying, "If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
And for a short while there was a nice bit of mutual grooming before Tavey got bored and bit Rufus's bottom!! :)))))))))))))