Living the dream: A week of surprises

ONE OF the first things I can tell you from this last week is, no matter how many times you look at a field of grass, talk to it, encourage it and scratch your head, it isn’t going to grow any quicker.

We had a new fence put up this week splitting a small field in half, enabling the ewes in lamb to move in.

This means that their field will have time now for the grass to grow ahead of the lambs being born in a few weeks time.

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The thing is though that I’m an impatient soul and want the grass to be growing sooner rather than later. so I did some homework with my mate Google.

I then sought advice from various people and subsequently invested in a harrow. It arrived quickly and hooked up to the back of the quad I immediately began putting it to good use. Hopefully, alongside a little rain and some warmer weather, that’ll do the trick.

This week has been a week of surprises down on Long Meadow Farm. Firstly we thought we had lost Alice, our Mother Muscovy duck but eventually found her sitting on eggs, all comfy behind the kindling pile in the barn.

She ventures out just a couple of times each day, has something to eat and drink, stretches her wings, has a quick bath and then goes back to keeping those eggs warm.

Then we thought that one of her daughters had gone walkabout, but after a great deal of searching we found her too, but she was tucked up behind a hay stack, again sitting on eggs.

People often say that things come in threes and my goodness the third surprise we had was the biggest of them all.

Several months ago a friend mentioned that her bantam ‘Layla’ was becoming a noisy nuisance in their neighbourhood. We agreed to adopt her and very quickly she settled in to life on the farm. In fact she settled in so well she soon became one of the family, the only concern was it was the duck family rather than the chicken family!

Since her arrival she has roamed freely with the ducks and beds down with them each night in the barn. One morning I went to let them out for breakfast and Layla wasn’t on her normal perch. I went searching, and I found her, but this time I was a little confused.

She too was behind the haystack next to the young female duck. My confusion stemmed from the fact that we don’t have a Cockerel, so if she was broody and was sitting on eggs, they would unfortunately come to nothing.

My task therefore was to establish if she was sitting on eggs. I kept my eyes peeled all day until she ventured out to stretch her legs. I quickly ran into the barn, grabbed the ladder and clambered up onto the top of the hay. Well, I was in for a surprise. Yes, she was sitting on eggs, but it was a mix of eggs, her own and some duck eggs.

We’re looking forward to seeing how the next few weeks unfold, and will update you on how things turn out with these new families.

In conclusion I wanted to mention our really good news this week. We received confirmation from the planning authority that our proposal for a farm shop and vintage caravans has been given the go ahead, so things are progressing down here on the farm in more ways than one.