Seeing the world

We hear tell that in the olden days some people would “retire” and then spend their time “seeing the world” by travelling to many different places.

We have decided to spend out time seeing what happens on three and a half acres.

So some people may think we see the same things each day – no, we are looking at the same things each day but see something different.

The Vole who visits the feeder outside the kitchen window is becoming bolder, fleeting visits have developed into more relaxed feeding sessions
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The Field Mouse emerges from the same gap in the heather – what labyrinth lies beneath?
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Both of them are sometimes accompanied by one youngster – one! why?

The female Blackbird takes a break from her nest, slightly ruffled, to stock up
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while the Hedge Sparrow bides her time
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The Woodpecker visits most days but each time performs different acrobatics
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We collect the eggs every day but we have dark ones, enormous ones and today – the Norah Batty:
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We do a little clearing of Little Sheffield
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and as a result Dinah introduces her litter to a new delicacy
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Each day, the play of light on the opposite hillside is slightly different
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We see the Pied Wagtails every day but, for some reason, seldom on a tree top
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Our meadow is very much in its infancy but each time we look we can see something different
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We have grown many tomatoes but for the first time we experiment with seed we have harvested from Tesco
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Every time we look over the fence there are new lamb activities
The new born:
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and the more confident:
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It is a good job we are satisfied by small changes as excavating the internals of Zenith is an inch by inch process
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but within the salad crops expand inch by inch daily
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So, all in all, we are content to see what we can see right here.

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Cutting and chopping and slicing

It has been a couple of sharp days. In a dark corner of the woodshed a pile of timber has lurked for a couple of years – product of some work to hold back the conifers that shelter us from the prevailing gusts. At last this has been converted to fire ready logs
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but the chopping block has been left in need of redesign
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When Doris blustered through a Eucalyptus was left prone. Today we started extricating it from the Laurel and Hazel on which it rested
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winching out the branches
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giving us a close up view of berries normally kept at a height
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It’s neighbour was keeping an eye on us
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We also get well peened
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Scything the two-year meadow growth last Autumn (and Winter) is resulting in different growths this Spring
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Now we experiment with scything patches for sowing seed to increase the diversity
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Seeds are being planted every day
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The lambs next door are up to number 200
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Pethan eraill yn y tyddyn heddiw:

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Bursting out

We are at the time of year when the first question each evening is “what has germinated today?”

Some seeds lurk under the compost for ten days or so before dramatically erupting
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Last year we planted Chard – not sure why. It lurked and faltered and then burst into glory. We didn’t eat much of it – that would have been sacrilege. So this year it has a place of honour in Zenith, and today it raised its head above the soil
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Zenith is being created inch by inch
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as we hew out subsoil to create growing zones
So far it is keeping under the radar for slugs and other predatory beasties so that the leaves grow perfect and unsullied
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A pot was stuffed with strawberry waste and, in Zenith, it does this
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Down in the pig zone, the cock pheasant thinks he has found a bountiful territory
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He wants to announce the fact
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while his lady friend prefers to stay under cover
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While seeds can burst from the soil, the horse-chestnut reaches upwards
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and then expands
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Pethan eraill yn y tyddyn heddiw:

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and we can already taste this year’s aubergine crop
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Waxing April Moon – upping the heat

The year is suddenly taking off.

The sunrises early, washing down the hills to the east
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a backdrop to Canada Geese heading for…?
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At the other end of the day, as the sun goes down
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the moon is brightening
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reflected in the lake
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which is maturing day by day
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some Ram’s Horn Snails
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have moved home from the pond
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other exciting life multiplies
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aquatic plants expand
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and we begin to build up the south facing Sunny Bank
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We do some work opening up the wood margins
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a couple of Sycamores come down
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opening up the view from here
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and giving us some wood for the fire
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or for caber tossing
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and twigs to add to our kindling dryer
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New visitors come to the bird ground feeder
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While the Redpoll is an occasional caller on the sunflower seeds
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The nuthatch still spends all day calling for a mate.
He shouts this way
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and he shouts that way
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We are now harvesting salad daily
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Down in the pigpens Dinah’s litter shows increasing confidence
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although sometimes a word of reassurance is required
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eager to stock up on energy
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Lottie does not like to be kept waiting at feeding time
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But when the sun peaks, everyone has to have a lie down
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Lambs are all around
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This morning we were greeted by hour-old twins
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The Dog’s tooth violet eventually opens its flowers
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Pethan eraill yn y tyddyn heddiw:

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Hokey Pokey

Today the postman brought us a special delivery
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He had to bypass a number of properties to get it here for the 1pm deadline

We unpacked
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and went to see Lottie, who was looking forward to her dinner
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while she enjoyed that
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we were busy at the other end
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Further down the pig zone Dinah’s litter are well organised at meal times
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until some decide on a stance that occupies two feeding stations
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so an overflow area has to be provided
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Down at the Lake some Whirligig Beetles rest on a leaf
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while the Pondscater studies its reflection
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We work on the Lake overflow, which will be an area for bog plants
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It hasn’t rained for two days. This is a bit of an emergency in Wales, particularly when we have a salad crop to maintain. We spend time bringing water stores close to the beds
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Having stored it as best we can
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slowly increasing the areas from which we collect it
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Earlier, we had a new through the kitchen window visitor
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although this family had previously visited the kitchen.

Elsewhere, home building gathers pace
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as birds exhibit themselves at their best
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sometimes using back-lighting
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So, as the moon is above us tonight
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and the pear blossom glows
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we feel content.

Small creatures in a big pond

Today a new feeder brings a new bird perspective
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and we get very excited about our new pond. Only excavated in the autumn, we can start to see how the meadow will soften the margins
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The kingcups have already found a home
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We collect Ram’s Horn Snails from the small pond
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To introduce them to the new one
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The introduced plants start to raise their heads
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and through them we see
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the ripples of the Whirligig Beetle
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here with a Water Boatman

The mix is further enriched by more tadpoles rescued from the pig mire
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Meanwhile we slowly continue the landscaping of Zenith
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where the olive seems to be happy, sprouting new growth
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as we have to move out vast quantities of clay
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Elsewhere, tomatoes germinate
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Incubus like, they await to take over the world, or at least all the accommodation we have available,

which is currently full of leaf salad
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The piglets savour the sun
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and try out their excavation skills
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So, as the sun goes down on the sheep tonight
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we trust all the pond life are happy in their new home.

Counting sheep in the morning

It is the time of year when we get up in the morning, glance at the field next door, and note a ewe and lamb
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do a few jobs, look again, and there are two lambs
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at one point today there was a ewe with three lambs, but the fact she was head-butting one of them indicated it was in the wrong place.

Here are some more irresistible lamb pictures
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and the black lamb
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A move of ground for the hens results in a record number of eggs
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Floppy is on guard
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Dust baths are enjoyed
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The young pigs are learning to eat like their mother
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We see one of the indicators of Spring today
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other seasonal sights:
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