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The not so merry month for May: June 2017

We are only a third into the month and few things have materialised as predicted: the election resulted in a hung parliament and last week saw more rain and wind in this part of Pembrokeshire than is normal for this time of year. Luckily, neither seemed to affect the mood of our holidaying guests. Maybe the new normal is that there is no normal and we are all getting used to it.

As for nature, everything in our garden grows like mad at the moment, not least the grass. It is unfortunate that our ride-on mower is currently unusable – and has been for about six weeks now – thanks to a seized up engine. Hopefully, it will come back repaired soon, as keeping on top of our extensive lawns by push mower  (granted, self-propelled) is a time-consuming task.

Our newly planted leeks, beetroot and salad crops, as well as our potatoes and strawberries, seem to thrive in this weather though. It does, however, also require a nightly trip to the veg garden hunting for snails and slugs, as they are equally happy in the warm, moist weather. As with everything else in (garden) life: you win some, you lose some.

In our nature reserve the resident swan couple recently hatched five cygnets. Let us hope that – unlike last year’s hatchlings – they all manage to survive; it is a tough life to share your space with predators such as foxes.

Talking about foxes, last month we lost our flock of chickens to a fox, bar one hen and one rooster. Our chooks normally roam the whole of the premises and, with proper care as to shutting them in at night, this has not led to problems for at least the last ten years. This particular fox, however, came during the day, for which we were utterly unprepared. We had just gone in to have a spot of lunch when it saw its chance. When we came back we interrupted it carrying off its prey. It is a widespread misbelief that a fox kills more than it needs. It does not. It kills to feed itself and its offspring. The fox carries its prey away and buries it for later consumption, creating its own larder as it were. It only leaves its kill behind if and when it gets interrupted before finishing carrying it all away. Although we were obviously devastated, we cannot blame this fox for wanting to feed its family as, in all probability, it was trying to provide for its cubs. It is that time of year.

We decided to build up a new flock, be more vigilant and make sure the chickens would only roam free in the walled garden for the time being.

We always like our flock to be a mixed bundle of breeds, and so it currrently consists of our fox-surviving Welsummer/Favarolle mixed breed rooster called Percy and our Cream Legbar called Twiggy, as well as the new pullets:

  • Roxie, a Black Rock
  • Bluebell, a Bluebelle
  • Blue, a Blue Cheshire
  • Speckle, a Speckldy
  • Ranger, a Brown Ranger
  • Susie, a Light Sussex
  • Indy, an Indian Game

We know, their names are maybe not the result of a very inventive brain but they do provide an easy reminder of their breeds!

We are well aware we cannot make the walled garden fully fox-proof, but together with re-inforcing the chicken coop and run, and a little help from our guests on the premises, we shall make it more difficult for an opportunistic fox to come and enjoy a free dinner.

Chickens June 17.jpg 

 

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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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