We are awaiting a visit from the Hi- Line engineers as we have electric cables on our land and from time to time they have to come and carry out mantenance or cut back tree branches which might be in danger of interfering with the cables and thus with the local electricity supply. The weather has been quite bad today so we are assuming that their visit has been postponed for the time being.
During the winter farmers are allowed to cut back hedges and trees where necessry. In the spring and summer this work is not allowed as it can interfere with the nesting birds and other wildlife.
Nick,our once a week helper, is very knowledgeable and skilled in farming matters. Mike first met him when he attended a hedge laying course where Nick was the teacher. Hedge laying involves partially cutting the main stems of the hedge and weaving them to make the hedge more solid and encourage thicker growth thus making a very effective barrier around fields and between farms and again,providing wild life habitat.
We only have a few alpacas left as we are no longer trading so the four girls share a paddock with the chickens as they are good guards and will give a strong alarm call if they see anything to worry about (such as a fox thinking of dinner). It is quite a high pitched sound like a series of short screams from the back of the throat.
We let them free range over a couple of fields during the day and in the evening they respond very quickly to the noise of the feed bucket being shaken. They literally run through the gate in a race to see who gets to the feeders first.
The chickens put themselves to bed in their shelter at dusk and I go over with my trusty dog Ted and shuth them in - after a quicjk count to make sure none are missing. There are 33 at the moment. 13 older hens and the rest are youngsters only just starting to lay very small eggs.