I accidentally prepare a midnight feast for a mouse, bottle feed my first lamb, learn about the benefits of egg mobiles and doff my cap to our seedlings’ first true leaves.
The hills are alive with the sound of baaing
The weather was a bit all over the place this week, which meant blazing sun running a close second to snow flurries. The result though, was breathtaking views of snowcapped mountains (see above).
I had an afternoon feeding one of our lambs and got to spend some precious time sat in the grass with him in my arms, the sun on my face and the nearby hills looking over me. Pedwar (so called as he was born in the fourth group and pedwar is ‘4’ in Welsh) is used to being bottle fed, so he came bounding up to me on his clumsy legs.
We sat together in the grass and I made a silent prayer of thanks to whatever forces got me to this moment.
I also had the delight of carrying my first, slightly slimy, new born lamb up the field and into the den for new families. Julie is our resident lamb nurse and she stayed behind to gently nudge the mum in the right direction and bring her second lamb. It’s important to get to them to spray their bellies with disinfectant and make sure the lambs are getting milk from mum.
So the lambs just keep on coming! Here they are gathering in one of the bottom fields, waiting to be moved (because another lamb was being born at the time).
A slice of Henbant
We’re still waiting for the abundance of edible crops here at Henbant, but we do have rhubarb! Here it is featured in just one of the many amazing cakes we get to scoff. Every week there are new surprises waiting for us on the dinner table, welcoming us into a 5 star dining experience.
I cannot wait for the summer when we’ll have a regular bounty of home-grown produce, who needs restaurants when you’re living with talented chefs?
The egg mobile (aka The Funky Chicken dance studio)
So, we were expecting to get another 150 chickens this week, but the supplier miss-calculated his stock (by quite a bit!) and we’re now waiting for them. However, in preparation, we had a stroll up the hill and discussed the merits of grazing your chickens on new pasture every other day.
It’s simple really – you keep your chickens on a patch of meadow and they improve it for you by scratching up the thatch and depositing manure all over it. MAKES SENSE.
They sleep in this little chicken caravan (or egg mobile) and lay their eggs in there. Every other day they wake up in a new patch of pasture to dance around in. You know the funky chicken right?
Laying our beds
We take a lot of pride in our beds here in the market garden at Henbant. Here is Calum putting down the wood chip in between them to create a path. The chip happens to smell of a pine forest. I almost wish I were a kale seedling just so I can get snuggled up in this heavenly soil duvet.
Too weird? Don’t judge me.
The kitchen garden polytunnel, mouse-eaten sunflower seeds and our lush lettuce (c) Rianne Mason
My other garden haven is, of course, the polytunnel. I’ve spent a bit of extra time here this week taking over the watering duties. Whilst I don’t have tunnel vision as such, I am starting to see seedlings when I close my eyes.
It turns out I’m not the only one who likes to hang out here. After spending the day sowing sunflower seeds and sweet peas I was welcomed the next morning with the remains of a midnight mouse feast. It’s my own fault really for putting them at mouse dinner table height, I just didn’t think about it! I will in the future though (and my trays have since been put at human table height).
Turning over a new leaf
One of my favourite games I like to play when sowing seeds is spotting when a first true leaf comes through. Here you can clearly see the first true parsley leaf. I’m inclined to give the plant a little bow and hand over a graduation scroll. Maybe we need an equivalent ceremony for plants at this life stage… ‘Congratulations on turning over a new leaf’? ‘Happy growduation’?