I’VE just been mugged by two very angry swallows. I had shut the door of the old milking parlour whilst I sorted out some of the junk we store in there.
Completely forgetting that a pair of swallows have claimed one of the beams as the site of their nest.
As I re-opened the door they practically flew straight into my face. Chattering with rage they circled the parlour and drove me out. I have been warned.
Other swallows are nesting in the meal shed and the pair that fancy a bit of travel, are nest building in the cattle trailer as they have done for the last few years.
The swallows have struggled this year with the dry weather. There just isn’t the mud about for nest building. We were down at our pond last night fly fishing with friends and commented on the number of swallows swooping over the water and at the edge where there is some wet clay. I presume they must be carrying it back for construction work.
The cattle trailer has been back and forth to market over these last few weeks as we have quite a few bulls for sale.
For some years the butchers have favoured buying entire bulls. That is uncastrated. Now they seem to want bullocks that have and the price has dropped from last year’s high.
So this year all the bull calves have been castrated. The trouble is it takes so long to turn round and react to market trends with livestock.
After all it will be another year before this year’s bull calves, now out in the field with their mums, will be ready for market.
At home only one ewe is left to lamb. The remaining old girls (all Mules which is a Swaledale ewe crossed with a Blue faced Leicester) that had not lambed at the same time as the rest of the flock were left in a paddock next to the farmhouse. But they have over the last few weeks surprised us at breakfast time with some lovely pairs of lambs.
This old ewe is biding her time. These latest lambs have all been by our Texel tup.
Originally all our Mule ewes were in with the Suffolk tup and our Suffolk cross ewes were with the Texel.
But towards the end of the autumn John brought the flock together and Mr Texel must have fancied his chances where Mr Suffolk had not worked his charms.
And the guinea fowl have started nesting again. After the slaughter of the alpha female guinea fowl on her nest by a fox, the rest of the girls refused to lay in the same place. I have been going cross eyed trying to find out their new preferred nest.
Success. In the midst of a nettle patch on the roadside.
Very vulnerable to all the dogs being walked round the village. They’ll have to be told to find somewhere better. And soon.