Springwatch swallows

Last year we had a lot of close encounters Swallows (Hirundo rustica), it was amazing. I even promised some video footage that I had managed to take of a nest in the porch of the summer house.

It looks like at least one couple have claimed one of the porch nests again this year, so I’ll be taking more footage. In the meantime, take a look at this shot last year (and about time too I hear you say … ).

Summer update

Cercis Canadensis

<3 these tree leaves

So much has happened over the last couple of months it’s difficult to know where to start. Here is a quick list to get you up to speed.

  • The planning team have okayed our plans to put up a polytunnel and we don’t need to apply for planning permission (complicated planning system rules).
  • We have many new workers on the farm – meet the forest garden team here!
  • At the last count we’ve successfully germinated over 6,000 trees. We are looking forward to planting them out later in the year.
  • New potato harvest

    New potato harvest

  • Our veggie patch is looking good for its first year. We had to harvest the potatoes early because of blight, but some neighbours didn’t get a potato harvest at all. Surprisingly (given the lack of early slug patrols) we have had home-grown organic salads most days.
  • All three baby swallows have grown up and successfully left their nest.
  • Many friends have visited which has been wonderful.
  • vegan cupcakes Chocolate and Chai-Latte

    Totally different, totally yummy cupcakes

  • I’ve pretty much mastered baking vegan Chocolate and Chai latte cupcakes
  • Morland has had two bouts of being broody, we may need to think seriously about getting her some fertilised eggs to sit on …
  • Dolphins in Cardigan Bay

    Dolphins in Cardigan Bay

  • On a rare day off we went dolphin watching in New Quay – wonderful!
  • Austrian Scythe

    Cutting hay with an Austrian scythe

  • Oh and, Craig has been on a scything course, bought and Austrian Scythe and been practising by cutting hay on our fields.

Our very own Springwatch – Swallows

Swallow in flight

Swallow in flight

Swallow in flight (blurred)

Difficult to photograph! Click image to see blurred Swallow

The Swallows (Hirundo rustica) came back in early April, we have at least three pairs nesting in the farm buildings. They are a mesmerising site as they swoop around catching flying insects over the fields. They are about everyday including the rainy ones (although they tend not to do much flying on those days).

Swallow in rain

Not much flying in the rain (photo by Craig)

Swallow being rescued

Just as the Swallow is released

Craig had a particularly close encounter with one in the beginning of May when it couldn’t find it’s way out of one of the outbuildings. Perhaps it had stunned itself flying into a window, or perhaps it was Craig’s cool demeanor, but it was very calm as Craig picked it up and released it back into the air.

Our latest encounter with the swallows is in the summer house. We have a pair of nesting birds in the eaves of the porch. They (or one of them) is sitting regularly in the nest, we think they have eggs. We can watch this space from the inside through the window, so will not disturbed the family. It’s our very own Springwatch! I wonder what we’ll catch on camera.

Watch this space! Video footage shot, just need to find the right wires to connect it up to the computer … This may take longer than hoped …

Spring is well and truly here

View from our "office"

View from our "office"

The swallows arrived weeks ago and are happily twittering as they swoop over the fields catching insects to feed to their young. They are a mesmerising distraction from our real work – planting.

We’ve been sowing up literally thousands of different tree seeds; many different types of betula sp. and alnus sp. along with other nitrogren-fixing trees like lupinus arboresus and caragana arborescens, and some crazy experiments just to see what happens like pinus pinea (although perhaps with climate change not so crazy?).

Stone Pine (pinus pinea) germinating

Stone Pine (pinus pinea) germinating

To my great surprise and delight many of the seeds are starting to germinate already. So along with all the sowing we have been pricking out and potting on too. With any luck we will be ready to plant a lot of these young trees this autumn.

Thankfully we have had some glorious weather (in between the rain showers) and I have a (face and hands – it’s not that warm yet!) suntan already! One thing is for sure, I LOVE planting trees :)