While we have been away in Tuscany the last of the over-wintering in-calf heifers have gone out to grass, so the yard is now empty (apart from a rather large rat which the farmer saw dozing in the straw where the heifers had been!). Tess and the farm cats have been told about this intruder and a trap has also been set - so watch this space.
If we do not get a substantial rain in the near future then the situation will become quite serious for dairy farmers. To keep up the milk yield the cows have to have their Summer pasture (although we are no longer a dairy farm, we rent out our fields to our neighbouring dairy herd) and the grass is so short of water that it is not growing very quickly. This means that the cows are grazing the silage meadows as well as the pastures. This is fine for now but does not bode well for Winter if the silage crop is less than usual.
In addition the water in the beck is quite low and although there is plenty of water to drink on our fields our neighbours further along the beck are really worried about the flow of the water.
I also wonder about the ground-nesting birds and how they will fare as the grass at present is hardly high enough to conceal their nests.
Still, as the farmer is fond of saying, we shall have to take what comes where the weather is concerned.
Tess and the cat both accompanied me on my walk today. Here and there bits of May blossom are out, there are a few buttercups in the pastures and huge clumps of plantain are already going to seed. I did intent to go into the wood and photograph the bluebells for you, but the young heifers had settled down in that corner and I didn't want to disturb them - so I took a long-range photograph of them instead.
Baby rabbits abound in all our fields - they are so pretty but, sad to say, the farm cats regard them as easy meat and at present are not eating any food we put down.
Any day now ewes with lambs at foot will be arriving - I will keep you posted on that one too.
I found Solomon's Seal and Honesty in flower - yes Summer is almost here. In addition the first two young race horses have arrived. I called to them over the fence but they were not interested so I took a long range photo for now - hopefully they will get a bit more friendly after a day or two, although race horses are usually pretty aloof.