Spring is on its way! Feb 2021

As the snow and ice has made way for milder days we’ve been so happy to be outside more, starting clearing for spring.

Cutting brambles, pulling bracken and clearing old growth to discover snowdrops, celendines and crocuses around the ponds and sprouting daffodils along the track. In the barn garden the hellebores and hamemelis/ witch hazel are flowering, along with the tiny cyclamen along the hedge lines. We love this time of year!

The bank between the barn garden and the track is full of beautiful little snowdrops which bob about with the breeze. The Welsh for snowdrop is either eirlys, from eira, meaning snow, or lily wen fach, little white lily. Both are beautiful names for a beautiful flower!

O Lili wen fach, o ble daethost di?
A’r gwynt mor arw ac mor oer ei gri?
Sut y mentraist di allan drwy’r eira I gyd?
Nid oes blodyn bach arall i’w weld yn y byd!

Oh little snowdrop, from where have you come from?
With the wind so wild and how cold it’s cry?
How did you venture out through all of the snow?
There isn’t another flower to be seen in the world!

The pond on the track had a good amount of frogspawn from February 4th, which felt incredibly early. Less than a week later we had another cold snap with hard frosts and some flurries of snow. Sadly all the spawn perished. We spotted a number of frogs very busy in the pond on the 15th February, followed by huge amounts of spawn. Best time to see them seems to be on a rainy night – we chivvied one across the track the other night so it didnt get squished. Fingers crossed, this lot of spawn will survive, although the heron is visiting daily! Every year we try to catch the frogs on video, but they’re canny little things and the second they sense us they dive down deep and disappear.

Today’s job has been to tidy around the pond in the yard and remove some of the yellow flag iris. Each year we do this and each year it fills again during the summer, the iris really is a thug. Usually we aim to do this earlier in the winter/ very late autumn but somehow time has run away this year! I love this yearly job, especially uncovering the sweet little iris reticulata which nestles by the willow.

The woodpecker has given us a backdrop for the last few weeks, making its way through  nuts in the feeders in our garden, as well as finding insects on various trees. We’ve loved watching the garden birds recently – being home so much has meant more time to watch them coming and going and all the little tussles and fights that happen around the feeders. Our daughter joined us for this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch as part of her Brownie’s ‘Red Kite’ badge. We saw 10 house sparrows, 8 blue tits, 9 great tits, 1 coal tit, 3 robins, 1 Great spotted woodpecker, 1 blackbird, 3 nuthatches, 1 bullfinch, 1 magpie and 3 red kites flying overhead.

The Exmoor ponies are getting on so well. They’re currently contained in three fields and have been eating their way through a lot of grass and also some of the rushes we were hoping they would. They’re getting more used to us and Sienna & Ursula are both loving head scratches! Last weekend we welcomed Jasper, a ten year old gelding who has come to join the gang. When he was led into the field with the girls they made a dash for him. Safe to say he was a little overwhelmed! A couple of days later we found he’d done a houdini and managed to find his way out of this field. Aah, more fencing to be strengthened!

Of course there’s also the continuous fire wood processing…

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