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Nature Reserve Pembrokeshire, South Wales
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Spring is when you feel like whistling: March 2018

The full quote from Doug Larson, a Wisconsin journalist who died last year April, reads "Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush." I think it pretty much tallies with the start of Spring this year. One moment the daffodils are gently sunning themselves and the next they are buried in a layer of snow. Even our part of Pembrokeshire surrendered to the combined forces of The Beast from the East and Storm Emma. Mind you, only for two days, followed by one day of slush. Our fellow county men higher up in the hills and further away from the Atlantic are probably still enjoying a bit of snow at the time of writing.

Frosty days come with their own challenges at Rosemoor.

Firstly, the chickens need extra care. Their water freezes easily and needs to be checked several times a day. Their combs can freeze and they do not like cold feet. In the walled garden, we always clear a few routes of snow and you can see that that is where they choose to travel, rather than through the thick snow. The weather did not fool them in thinking Spring had been postponed: they were still laying as plentiful as before.

Secondly, we keep an eye on what happens in the reserve, ever since - a few years ago - we had a swan that had its feet stuck frozen in the ice. We ourselves were on holiday at that time, but a neighbour alerted the RSPB. Unfortunately, the swan did not survive and died a few days after the rescue action. It was weakened too much by its ordeal. This year, our resident swan couple stayed at the free flowing, far end of the lake and was fine, we are glad to say. Rosie, our Jack Russell, blissfully unaware of any creature's needs but her own, just thought we went out for some gambolling in the snow.

Thirdly, the wild birds need extra attention; food and (non frozen) water. Most farmers have cut their hedges already to within an inch of their life and food is not as plentiful as it could have been otherwise. Rosemoor itself as well as our nature reserve are small tree havens in the mids of this farmland. The holly tree in front of aptly named Holly Tree cottage had hung on to most of its berries until then but it was fully 'cleaned out' at the end of the first day of snow.

Lastly, there are some minor inconveniences such as us not being able to get out and the postman not being able to get in. The minor roads do not get gritted around here.

The upside of all this was that we were not only blessed with a white winter wonderland but also with freed up time: the Haverfordwest Film Society cancelled its showing, a Pembrokeshire Tourism meeting was postponed at the last minute, a meal with friends was cancelled, we did not make our weekly shopping trip, and consequently did not buy the weekend paper. It actually felt like an unexpected present and we spent the time gained wisely: with a good book in front of the fire, whistling gently.



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Rosemoor Country Cottages and Nature Reserve
Walwyn's Castle, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales, UK SA62 3ED

Telephone: +44 (0)1437 781326

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