Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Piglets Grow Up!

 Remember these guys?

Back in October our Gloucester Old Spot sow gave birth to a litter of ten little piglets (top photo). Now, five months later and a winter that feels like it's mostly behind us, the little ones have moved out of Kitty's barn and into our field. They have been weaned from their mama, and are eating solids, including the (vegetarian) scraps from our kitchen. This week about half of them will be going off to new homes. My, these babies grow up so fast!

If you look in the distance of those last two photos of the piglets you'll see a big sow and boar belonging to Kitty and James, and beyond those two we've just finished building a big new chicken run, which we'll be populating with brand new hens soon. Beyond the chickens are Henry's bees, which have been moved from the garden just outside our front door up to this field. We've got three hives now, with plans to add a couple more later this spring. They're definitely getting excited about the change of season; there is lots of visible activity around their front doors. There aren't quite enough flowers out of sustain them yet, so Henry has to feed them a bit until they can find enough food on their own. In addition to lots of daffodils, crocus and the like, all the hawthorne trees are in bloom, which have the most lovely white blossoms.

Has spring sprung yet where you live?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Super Easy Ikea Teatowel Hack

Now that they're playing outside a whole lot more, my three little boys are dirtier than ever. I always seem to be short of clean flannels at bath time (those are wash cloths, my American friends), so today I made some. In less than an hour and for under £1 (less than a buck fifty) I made these very chic wash cloths from two Ikea Tekla tea towels. 

These towels measure 20"x26", so first I cut them into four 10"x13" squares. 
 Next I cut out the tag and the little loop for hanging on the underside of each.
Then I folded down the first raw edge by about a quarter of an inch and pressed it. Then I folded it a second time, pressed it again and pinned it into place.
Then I sewed along the edge of each of my newly folded hems, and voila! Four cloths from each of the tea towels.
 They look so pretty now. I'm sure they won't stay white for long! Happy washing up.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Here Come the Lambs...

About a week and a half ago, the boys and I walked down the road to Kitty's to see if the lambs had started coming yet. There was only one. Yesterday after school, Charlie and Michael and I went back to find that a couple of dozen of them had since made their way into the world. A few with smallish babes remained penned off from the crowd, but many of them are together with their own moms and their mom's ewefriends. The ewes in the photo directly above this one are all still waiting to deliver. I'm hoping to get the boys over to see some actual birthing going on, and with so many left to come it looks like we have a fair shot of catching at least one.

This little lamb below captured our hearts most of all. She is so tiny she can't reach her mom's teat to nurse, so Kitty has been giving her a bottle. Her mom is right next to her though, and very fretful and anxious to have her baby with her. Kitty's partner James finally intervened and helped the mother ewe to nurse, which seemed to suit mother and baby just fine. Though she's small, the lamb seems healthy otherwise, and will hopefully grow quickly and soon be reunited with her mama.

Here they are together, having a little cuddle. I am right there with that ewe, remembering the overwhelming pride and love that came with holding my own newborns. I'm so happy for them.
More signs of spring all around us, coming soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Early Spring Walk

Sometimes I step outside my front door and pinch myself a little, for all the beauty that surrounds me every day. We've had the wettest winter on record this year in England, but that hasn't stopped the spring from coming. It's been mild and even a little sunny lately, so I was surprised last weekend when I walked outside and found everything covered in frost. The kale in my garden, the moss on the stone walls, the crocus and cow parsley stems were all dusted with an icy glitter. But as I walked through the woods the sun melted it all away, and back home in my garden the hawthorne blossoms opened their faces to the warm light. Another picture perfect day on the farm followed.

I'll post again soon about other things going on around here. The lambs are coming soon (some are already here), certain piglets are getting bigger and bigger, and our house is growing a new room. Until then, happy almost spring.