Short of babies

Population increase has not been going as planned this week.

After feeling we did a good job at the beginning of April, Lottie kept us guessing until the last minute – and beyond.

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Her increase in weight during the last couple of weeks must have been due to the extra rations she received in the belief she was in pig, rather than due to actually being in pig.

Also, out latest attempts to increase our flock of laying Cayugas resulted in one hatched duckling out of 12 eggs. We now know this is probably due to a faulty incubator which is being replaced. We were quite clear it would be silly to care for one duckling, would be better off culled… we now appear to be caring for one duckling.

The previous two mini-batches now seem happy living together
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although they have asked for a bigger bath so they don’t have to queue.

The vetch
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is the latest addition to our meadow plant list although we do also have a handful of other candidates waiting for firm identification.

At the bottom of the meadow the Sunny Bank shrubs are beginning to establish themselves
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The Green Veined Whites continue to be around
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and we continue to try and augment the exiting butterfly population
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this time by hatching and releasing some Tortoiseshells
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Claire takes her brood on ever expanding journeys of exploration
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Here doing a tour of the duckhouse:
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and work continues on the guest room foundations
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Pethan eraill yn y tyddyn heddiw:

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Another week…

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The thing with animals is that they don’t stay the same…

Claire’s brood
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need to be on the move
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Integrated ducks are almost friends
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Bees
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need an eye kept
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We have a new guest room
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busy bird feeders
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and

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To he who waits…

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Six weeks ago we were excited to report the arrival of the first real dragonfly at our new pond.

We learned how Libellula depressa “returns to a favoured perch in the sun”

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and eventually “when a female enters a male’s territory the male will fly up and grab the female. Mating occurs on the wing and the pair are in tandem for only a brief period, often less than a minute”

So we excited to be there two days ago for that minute. So excited we didn’t manage to take a picture until the female danced over the water, depositing eggs on the floating foliage

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Like the rest of the UK, we are acutely aware of butterfly decline. Memories of the past when every buddleia was clouded in a haze of Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and Peacocks.

We have had one Red Admiral mooching around for a couple of months and then, yesterday, five newly hatched individuals on the buddleia

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Little Hog, Big Hog

This stumbled across our doorstep a few nights ago.
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A group of youngsters had been roaming around a couple of weeks ago but this one, at 125g, was obviously failing to thrive. Taken into protective custody it is now up to 168g – on the way to being a big hog.

Meanwhile this hog
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should be full of babies (if we got the AI right)
We will find out in a week’s time…

Harvest Moon

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If it was a proper hay harvest it would be a full moon but these couple of sunny days are the cue to cut down the grass
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and rush out the machinery
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to scrape it into plastic bags as quickly as possible.

The Kite looks on hopefully
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We inspect the bees
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Honey production is in full swing
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so we give them dedicated space
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and leave them to it
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Damselflies enjoy the sun
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and we add touches to make our imminent new arrivals feel at home
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Very expensive wine

“Country” wines are all very well but if one had to cost in the time spent on them they might not be cheap. Constantly sterilising and rinsing everything involved takes half the time. At least at this time of year it can all take place outside, with judicial use of garden hose and pressure washer.
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The thing is, one has to go round over a year before finding out if anything is any good. Right now we are bottling Plum, Damson, and Crabapple from last year. Also Rowan, which a quick taste shows to have promise
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Also a mixture including our own grapes, and cider from the apple trees
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Elderflower Champagne made this year – we don’t have to wait as long to drink this
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We had not started wine making this time last year so these are our first attempts at Blackcurrant
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and Redcurrant
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We are surrounded by juvenile birds. The Dunnocks have just appeared
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They do have to share their feeder
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The Middle Ducks have to have a bath upgrade so they still have room to share
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also today
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