Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Hail and shine

Lambs lie together in old tyre tracks or shallow dried up burns, catching the warm of the sun but out of the wind which is bitter today.  (This is Brownie, above) The sun is so bright but it is still very cold.   

In our corner of the island everything is a little behind, so a trip out today in the car to Dervaig and our fantastic village Post Office to post some parcels and do some shopping, was a good way of seeing how spring is progressing elsewhere.  The beech woods at Calgary are almost luminous with the sun casting its contrast between the dark shadows and the brightness of fresh young leaves unfurling.  

This can seem like a cruel time of year - the sun is shining but the grass is still slow to grow.   At a time when the ewes need to recover their strength after a winter pregnancy and provide a good supply of milk for their lambs, there is still a way to go before we reach the abundant grass stage!

Resting fields allows it to recover and we do that here and there in accordance with our 'open grazed grassland' management, this enables the grass to grow and along with it the flourishing of herb rich flowers, and provides a safe haven for ground nesting birds at the same time.
Sunset from farmhouse garden, through sycamore leaves.

The cows seem to have settled into their new groups and found their new order.   Soon the large group of cows and their calves, along with the bull, will come into the 'Field beyond Haunn' and graze the fresh spring grass we have been saving for them.  This means for anyone wanting to walk a dog along the coast path, they will meet a sign reminding them that it is not permitted to walk a dog through young stock, and that they should find an alternative route.  (in this case it means skirting along the outside of the field, going through the deer gate by the cottages, walking above the deer fence and coming back to the track or path on the other side of the field).  

Some regular guests of ours sent us a lovely email yesterday about how much they had enjoyed the 2 different holidays they had had at Haunn recently (one at Easter and the second just last week).  They usually expect to see otters at Port Haunn but on their last visit they didn't see them there. However they did have a wonderful sighting at Calgary.  In AB's words:  "On our visit at Easter we spent well over an hour watching 2 otters (mum and teenage cub?) in Calgary Bay.  One was busy catching fish while the other rolled about in the water, floated on its back and generally messed about, suggesting teenager to me!  They eventually climbed out of the water, groomed each other for about ten minutes then curled up under a rock and went to sleep." What a memorable sight.
Brownie and Brian now have a trough in their pen with some lamb nuts in it - time to tempt them onto
solid food. As it is whenever he gets the chance Brian tries to eat stones. They are growing, becoming more adventurous.

And the trees continue to burst forth in so many hues of spring colour - not all of them green. Pictured 
above, oaks on the road between Treshnish and Torloisk - and below, near the Eas Fors waterfall - ash 
tree flowers. A shower of hail as I took this photograph!

For more photos of the light and the trees look at http://headlandoftrees.wordpress.com

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