29 March 2013

A field full of...

Last week the first sheep were turned out into the field in front of the CJS office.  There's not much grazing but with a low head count they seem to be managing.  However, the field not simply full of sheep.  First a flock of seagulls, a mix of herring, greater black-backed with a few black heads took up residence sweeping and screaming across the field.  A sure sign that the weather on the coast is rather unsettled, with gale force winds threatening to take the roof off (but little snow) it became progressively worse and bitterly cold with it.  So much so that on Sunday over 100 lapwing arrived and peewitted they way back and forth probing the soft turf in that typical see-saw tipping action, they were joined by a large group of starlings and it was quite a sight to have a murmeration of starlings joined by the black and white spoon-shaped wings of the much larger lapwing all sweeping and swirling together.  There have been the odd one or two lapwings in the field over the years but never this many.  They've been back a few times this week.  Later on in the week there have been two pairs of fieldfares flying and feeding together - does this mean they're going to stay here to nest or have they paired up prior to the belated departure?  Time will tell.

We've been lucky with the weather and although we can't remember the last time we had a day when it didn't snow or there wasn't already snow on the ground we've only had a dusting these last couple of weeks unlike other parts of the country.  The photos of cars buried under 10+ feet deep snowdrifts were amazing but those of farmers digging out their livestock simply heartbreaking.

AW's sheep have been returned to the family flock, they'll have a lamb later on in the year when it comes back from slaughter (in other words, bags of meat rather than a woolly beast) which is maybe just as well as their two ewes between them will produce three lambs this year and they still have a freezer half full from the last one.  However, AW and her two small people spent time feeding and playing with the first rejected lamb currently living in a box Granny's kitchen and are now fancying having a pet lamb of their own. Just to keep Keith (their ancient wether) company you understand.

Next week HB has a well deserved week off work to recover from the fraught first few months of 2013 and catch up on the backlog of chores at home which have been piling up waiting for those five minutes - you know the ones.  I fear that her brain has already gone on its holiday because today we've had nasel huts (hazel nuts) and also "I'll widget the wotsits" (I'll shrink the photos in the news section to make the Weekly edition slot together neatly); but that's OK, we're getting quite good at translating HB speak into normal words, which in itself is rather worrying!  TB is back to work and doing well, carrying nearly all her workload again and at nearly normal speed too; which when your left arm won't straighten out and the fingers are not quite as dexterous as they should be is really quite a feat.  I didn't get much gardening done during my week off, I did clean out the greenhouse, sort out a few pots of plants and plant a few posts of seeds.  My sweet peas are looking very sad; they were in the unheated spare room but were getting leggy so they were moved into the greenhouse, but it's freezing in there, down to -4 some nights and even under fleece they're struggling.  The question now is do I bring them back in and let them get even leggier or leave them out and maybe loose a few?  I fear I'm going to run out of space, the windowsills are already bulging with tomatoes, cucumbers and the first of the annuals and herbs and the seed box still has lots of unsown packets. It's all making HB (with her Chairman of the Flower and Veg Show hat on) worry about what sort of show we'll be having come August.  As there wasn't much gardening done I spent my time profitably and cleared out the cupboards in my home office, I now have lots of empty space just waiting to be filled; and some drawing, I have half an otter (he might make an appearance on next year's calendar), I'm out of practice and it took three attempts to get the nose right - not good when you're working in ink!

Despite it being Good Friday (any one planted their spuds?) we've been stuck in the office, HB's put over 70 courses on the website, KH is busy trying to close the end of year accounts and any minute now AW is going to publish the latest edition of CJS Weekly online, 15 pages this week with 45 new paid posts of which 34 came direct to CJS plus 16 adverts for volunteers.
Monday is another Bank Holiday and although we will be here as normal we will be running a smaller than usual service, so no news updates and probably only adverts for volunteers online.

Oh, will you look at that it's snowing - again.  So Happy Christmas, (sorry I mean) Easter.