Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Below the railway gang

When we first moved here there were 6 adults and 1 kid in the gang of goats below the railway line. Last year, if there were any kids, they did not survive the harsh weather. This winter there are once again 6 adults, all looking healthy, with an equal split of male to female. Maybe we will hear the patter of tiny hooves in the spring.

Males have the larger horns whilst the females’ are shorter and more cylindrical.  

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Shrewsbury comes from cranberry

We’ve been living ‘off the fatta the lan’ again, harvesting cranberries from the bogs of sphagnum in the Snowdonia mountains. Beacons of red, part buried in moss, creeping vines with leaves like thyme, easy to see, easy to pick. 

Our good friends from near Bala have reared and prepared a turkey for us to roast and, in (very small) return, we have provided a jar of home-made cranberry sauce. Rain-washed berries, sugar, water and 15 minutes of boiling.

In Welsh their name is ‘llyg aeron’, which translates to shrew berries. Could this be from where Shrewsbury got its name?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Back country ski-ing in Val de Stiniog

Snow finally arrived in Val de Stiniog. We waded through drifts to the top of Moelwyn Bach for a windswept, wintry experience, then down to the barracks, a likely looking ski-chalet but not a drop of gl├╝hwein. Back country skis take a bit of getting used to. Practice makes perfect - we’ll be on the nursery slopes when the snow settles a bit lower.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Foxes - beautiful but lethal

I’m sorry to report the death of Mo, our large white chicken, who fell victim to a fox in broad daylight. Nature can be very cruel.

During the past few months we also lost two male ducks, one female and another of our chickens. Putting them safely to bed before dusk is no guarantee of survival, the foxes seem to be getting bolder.  

Here’s a clip of a couple of foxes from earlier in the week, just a few hundred metres from the house. Beautiful - but I wish they’d leave our birds alone.