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1st: Fruit and Veg 2nd: Poultry 3rd: The Garden 4th: Fruit and Veg 5th: Wildlife 7th: Goats 9th: Rhea 10th: Rugs and Fibre 11th: Rugs and Fibre
12th: The Land 13th: Rugs and Fibre 14th: The Garden 15th: Rugs and Fibre 16th: Poultry 17th: Rugs and Fibre 18th: Rugs and Fibre 19th: The Land 20th: Rugs and Fibre
21st: Dogs 22nd: The Land 24th: Rugs and Fibre 26th: Wildlife 27th: Wildlife 29th: Dogs 30th: Poultry 31st: Dogs
1st: Picking fruit
There really is nothing as wonderful as picking your own fruit from your own bushes to pop onto your own breakfast cereal each morning. We have been eating our own strawberries since mid May and we can now add blackcurrants and loganberries to the mix!!
We love the process of the fruit picking itself too - our minds are empty of everything other than making sure we find all the ripe fruit that day - knowing that tomorrow there will be loads more!!
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2nd: What would you do?
Okay, despite having lots of broody chickens and several Muscovy ducks, (who let's face it, when the word broody was invented, it most definitely was with them in mind.....), we have successfully avoided breeding poultry the last two years. As we no longer eat meat, the usual 'we can eat the males' plan no longer applies and so since 2019, we have deliberately set out NOT to breed.
This year, Berry, our black and white girlie took herself off and we just couldn't find her. We have stalked this bird, we have searched high and low and in-between for her nest, we have raced out mid-meal sometimes when we spied her through the window, all in an attempt to follow her back to wherever she must have set up house and home. And every time we have failed, as she simply flies off elsewhere or hangs around as if to say, I am NOT going back till you stop hassling me!!
This morning though, she decided to let us into her secret lair by leading us into the barn and through a tiny gap in the stacked hay and straw bales. It was as if she was saying, 'well, I have now been here for almost three weeks so what you gonna do? MURDER my babies - I don't think so????' We'unstacked' half a dozen bales and yep, there she was, on her perfect nest: warm, snug, safe, full of goodness knows how many eggs....
We really really don't need 15 plus Muscovy ducklings, all cute and cuddly with those gorgeous eyes and perfect markings. Our original aim was to stop keeping ducks altogether (yep, couldn't do it, despite flockdown morphing into an annual event).
And so, here we are, two weeks or so away from D-day!!
Can we gather up all those eggs and throw them away? Can we hell... it's madness, it's costly, we will need to protect mum and babies from the corvids, we will then need to find them homes...
Deep sigh....
Bless her little cottons...
Oh my word, baby ducklings are so cute!!
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3rd: Home grown
Home grown sweet peas now filling our kitchen with their stunning aroma.... And placed in front of the mirror we get twice the joy of seeing them too...
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4th: Allotment
Here's hoping we can keep the allotment this tidy for the rest of the summer....
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5th: Fingers crossed
This little cutie: found midday ish on our allotment - very weak and stretched out on the grass! It is now in our stables in a secure aviary with water and a bit of wet cat feed. If it makes it through the night, North Devon Animal Ambulance will collect in the morning and then hopefully nurse it back to health.
We are keeping everything crossed!!
We see hedgehogs a fair bit on our land in the summer months and usually find a hibernating one in the winter too as we dismantle a hay stack or move a pallet, but they are getting less and less common. According to The National Biodiversity Network's 'The State of Britain's Hedgehogs 2022 report' reveals hedgehogs have declined by between 30% – 75% across different areas of the countryside since 2000.
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7th: Blue
The sky really was this blue today....
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9th: Happy Rhea Chicks
That wonderful feeling when you give something to the animals in your care, that they really, really appreciate - home grown lettuce-in-a-tray for our rhea chicks, always goes down an absolute storm!!! And it's so cute to watch too.
We have now finished hatching rhea for the year, the girls are still laying but the last two sets off eggs have been Zero fertility! BUT, we have hatched 20 with only 2 deaths so a fabulous year compared to the last two. Our aim is to sell them all which we are optimistic about as already 12 of the 18 are sold/ reserved!!
10th: Fabulous drying weather
Fabulous drying weather - 30 seconds in the White Knight spin dryer after washing and an hour or two in these drying racks and job done!! Cold water washing really is the bees-knees for us...
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11th: Rug in its new home
Love seeing our commission rugs in their new homes.
This is a 35 by 75 inch rug made from all 5 animals at Alresford alpacas - their fleeces were a dream to work with!
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12th: Liz Zorab
A fabulous visit from Liz Zorab who we have known for years via Facebook and now finally get to meet - a wonderful morning was spent talking meat, veg, livestock, writing, puppies and how to take good selfies - an artform I have yet to master....
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13th: Flax
Our flax is growing well, albeit full of weeds - not sure whether all the very hot weather we have been having is good for it though - time will tell!!!
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14th: Aquilegia
Isn't it wonderful when a casual conversation about how much you love a particular plant and would love it in your garden, results in an amazing present through the post!! Thank-you so much Jill Smith - such a wonderful surprise and I am so excited about getting these planted!!!
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15th: Warping Up
Oh my goodness, things are getting serious: both looms are being warped up - alpaca and sheep rugs are in the making here...
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16th: Ducklings!!!
And here she is, my clever 'I'll hide in the hay bales' mum with her 12 perfect ducklings! I really hadn't planned to hatch any ducklings this year but Berry had other ideas - she took herself off and even though I spotted her a few times I didn't find where she was nesting for almost three weeks. And of course by then I knew the eggs under her contained growing babies which I absolutely 100% could NOT take away from her.
Shame she has chosen the hottest weekend of the year, decade, EVER... to hatch these cuties!!!! I am topping up their water a lot!!!
Those markings are just amazing - Muscovy ducklings are so pristine and smart!!
AND in even more brilliant news, I have a fab home for them all already!!
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17th: Wool!!!
We are totally over the moon – our wool has just arrived back from Rampisham Hill Farm & Mill.
These boxes contain almost 18kg of slivers from our Shetlands, Badgerface and Jacob sheep.
From start to finish David and Ruth Wilkins have provided a first class service with excellent communication, advice and a stunning finished product. So excited about our plans for this lot – cannot stop touching it all and marveling at the colours and the softness.
Have given the sheep a few huge 'well done' cuddles and a big thank you.
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18th: Zebra Crossing
Photographed in the sunshine, this rug really is a stunner! These colours are just perfect together!
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19th: Rain
Oh my word - we have rain (not that I want to show off....). Puppies are happy; garden, allotment and fields are happy; washing on the line not so happy; humans VERY happy!!!
Hope everyone is doing okay in the heat, wet or whatever you have right now!!
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20th: More rugs
A trio of slightly smaller rugs from a very special trio of much loved pet alpacas - these ones positively shine. The client wanted the rugs all the same size so we used our 30 by 50 inch standard ratio and downsized accordingly - these ended up 22 by 39!!
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21st: Puppy pamper day
A fabulous day with Jeanette and Diana
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22nd: Oak
One of the few remaining Oaks in our Fruit/Swallow field hedge - we planted lots here and scattered a few acorns but have very few that have survived/ grown. It's been hard to get going, this hedge. It is very exposed and the soil is pretty hopeless but each year it gets a little better - it is mainly willow which was planted for the goats so they will be very happy!!
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24th: Flowering
Our flax is white, not the blue we expected!! Very pretty nonetheless, although we are now wondering if it suitable for producing linen, or is infact a more ornamental version??
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26th: The Comma butterfly
A comma butterfly, spotted today on one of our fence posts in Fruit Field. These are really common and found in almost every county across the UK. They over winter as adults - which isn't quite as common.
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27th: Thistles
We haven't seen anywhere near the numbers of Painted Ladies and Tortoiseshells on the thistles this year but we have seen lots of bumble bees - we think the hot weather is resulting in the flowers lasting for far fewer days, hence the reduction in butterflies - it will be interesting what the national statistics say at the end of the year?
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29th: The wonderful Nel
A fabulous visit form the Blick family with the gorgeous Nel, who at two years old is the spitting image of Roxy!!
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30th: Brush cutting needed
It is fabulous to see the poultry free range, something they are probably now only able to do for maybe 7 months of the year thanks to Avian Flu - we are just a tad behind on brushcutting their paddock though - as the photo show they are out in full force. Nettles survive no matter what the weather!!
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31st: Delmheis 2nd Birthday Party
It really was an amazing afternoon! Seeing so many setters together was an utter joy! And seeing what fabulous dogs all our pups are turning into, really was rather emotional for David and I. We could not be happier with how scrummy they are all turning out to be.
Thanks to Mammy's Biscuits for the gorgeous cake and to Gillian for her generosity in sorting it all and to Lynda for helping with all the prep and her reassurance it really would be alright on the night!
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