Multipling like rabbits…

…and they are not even breeding yet.

When we decided to start keeping rabbits again – after a break of about 25 years – we looked around for an attractive (as well as meaty) breed.

So we travelled two hours North to bring back Rory, the Silver Fox Buck

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We then set about trying to find him some ladies and at that point discovered that there are not many people in the UK breeding Silver Foxes.

We eventually tracked down an experienced breeder three hours away and yesterday drove off to collect a pair of does.

We were exposed to a lot of rabbit lore and an offer we could not refuse:

Five for the price of Two

So Rory is joined by two does – Heidi and Anna:

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and another pair of does together with a young buck – Easter, Lettuce and Stewart:

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They are all installed in temporary accommodation

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and Rory has been visiting

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as has Jessie

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Lunchboxes and Lusciousness

Lunchtime at Gribin Isaf means a quick forage round the beds to see what is on offer

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A quick potpourri of the more domesticated blooms currently around us..

It would be possible to fill this page with Lily pictures. They are growing just inside a polytunnel with some blooms towering overhead so they assault the senses on entering:

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The Carniverous plants are at the other end of that polytunnel

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– that last picture is a flower on a Venus Fly-trap.

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The Hydrangeas are just coming into flower. They lurk amongst the trees and emit a blue glow, particularly at dusk

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This little flower has been trapped between the house wall and the boot box but is determined to squeeze out

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It is amazing what can be made from air, water and a bit of phosphorous.

When babies grow up…

Gribin Isaf is 900 feet above sea level and catches any passing breeze so we don’t get the same heat as some places

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only 31.7 degrees in the shade at 2 pm today.

Jessie had the right idea

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In the Spring it is very easy to send off for some eggs to hatch. The image in mind is something like this

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Well that was the end of March and several incubator fulls later one is reminded all youngsters grow up

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Pullets have to be kept separate from the main flock until they are big enough to hold their own

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so extra fences have to up

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houses moved

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Jessie has to inspect

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while Bert is not impressed by his new neighbours

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Young cockerels have to be separated

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until we decide who will kept

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(well might he be pleased with himself) We are getting better at removing cocks at a younger age – we have learned that if you leave it too long it is more of a challenge

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It is always interesting to add new breeds

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This year we have hatched Silver Duckwing Welsummers, Crested Cream Legbars, Gold Laced Orpingtons, Welsummer Partridge and Partridge Orpingtons along with some French Marans from our own flock.

Next Spring we will have forgotten about all the extra work and will be wondering what to try in the incubators…

A Ducks Tale

When we decided to keep ducks at Gribin Isaf we chose Cayugas

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because they are so beautiful

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We hatched eggs in an incubator to increase our flock

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And then one batch of eggs resulted in a solitary duckling – Solo

You can’t learn how to be a duck by yourself so we scoured the area for company. All we could find were Muscovy ducklings.

The Muscovies grew up and we quite liked them

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So we bought in some Muscovy eggs.

But only one hatched

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Company was needed

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but all we could find were Aylesburys

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They grew up and we quite liked them

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One of the Muscovies, Cagney (friend of James) went broody so we let her have some of her own eggs, plus some Cayugas.

She managed to hatch two…. one Muscovy and one Cayuga…. both…. Drakes.

She was a very good mother – and Muscovies have to sit for longer than any other duck – so when she went broody again last month

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we let her sit. Which she did with great dedication, only moving once a day to have a wash and brush up on her stump

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However, we suspected the eggs were not fertile (later proved correct) so this week we had to track down some Muscovy ducklings

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for her to take under her wing

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to make all her efforts worthwhile

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She is taking the job very seriously

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Which is why our duck flock is a bit mixed

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Two legs good, four legs better…

…eight legs amazing

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The web-building dance:

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Of course six legs is the most successful number, especially when accompanied by two wings

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Following the demise of our bee colony last Autumn, victims to wasps, this Spring we started off two new hives.

Last month we could see no sign of brood in the first hive and were all set up to move some over from the second.

However a recent inspection

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gave evidence of egg laying

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The Queen of hive two was easily spotted

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as was evidence of her industry

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So we are now planning multiple wasp defenses for the coming months

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This guest of summer…

All the people around us say Swallow numbers are down this year. We will have to wait to see if this is a a blip or a trend.

It was late in the season when one pair finally moved into the woodshed

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They seemed to be first-timers as they were easily disturbed and we had to move out all the feed bins to minimise disturbance.

They did not even have to make their own “pendent bed, or procreant cradle” as they took advantage of the ready made nest

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She did manage to successfully hatch four eggs

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The day before yesterday they were coaxed out of the nest and on to a beam

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They have been on a few experimental flights, mainly learning how to fly through any handy doorways leading to sheds or the house.

Mainly though they prefer sitting on the beam

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And this evening they were all back in their nest out of the rain.

Flowers, fruits and fellow foragers

A quick round up of some current Gribin Isaf life:

Flowers

These lilies dominate the entrance to the tunnel, towering overhead and filling the air with sweetness

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The perennial sweet pea plant, also in the tunnel, also adopting giant dimensions

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The Creeping Jenny is doing what it does

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Fruits

We transplanted a lot of the raspberries at the end of last season but they do not seem to have suffered

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The other soft fruit is definitely for sharing – mainly with the blackbirds

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The first tomatoes are forming

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Strawberries keep coming

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Fellow foragers

Some of the other animals that are sharing these delights.

This froglet has been hanging out in the tunnel

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