Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Arrivals

Spring has been slow to start with the cold weather persisting well into March. However, the Daffodils have poked their heads above the ground and are now in full flower around the abbey. The Pussy Willows are also flowering down in the withie beds, like yellow-stained cotton buds. The real sign of Spring for me is when I start to hear the Chiffchaffs singing their name over and over again and see Swallows darting around. Among the earliest arrivals are the Wheatears, lovely smart and colourful birds of the Chat family that you can never get tired of. During the nights, as Dad checks the lambing flock in the pastures, he has heard the first few Manx shearwaters calling. And of course, there are plenty of lambs!

Pussy Willows (c) Ben Porter

Wheatear (c) Ben Porter

Daffodils and Celtic cross (c) Ben Porter

Chiffchaff (c) Ben Porter

Sheep (c) Ben Porter

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Goat Saga

Once upon a time Steve and Jo had some Angora goats. Without going into detail, they were not a success. They certainly lived up to the bad reputation goats have acquired - as escape artists and as stubborn creatures. Steve was heard to mutter "never again" on numerous occasions.
It has taken 10 years to persuade him otherwise. Last week we made a special boat journey in Pererin to collect two British Saanan goats, who had travelled all the way from Cambrideshire to join the Enlli menagerie. Having researched the various breeds of goat, these are (apparently!) the most docile and are good milkers.

"Never again" was muttered soon after they arrived.......
As a result of the long road journey, with a bit of sea sickness thrown in at the end, the milker went downhill rapidly with what was diagnosed (by the expert honorary vet, Gareth Roberts) as milk fever. She was not a happy goat, unable to stand up for 3 days. However, many Calcium injections later and much molly coddling, she is now fit and well again and are both happily munching Enlli brambles, gorse and grass.
Morwenna ('white sea') is producing 4 litres of delicious creamy milk each day, the surplus of which is sustaining the pet lambs.
Eira ('snowy') is a cheeky one year old goatling who will hopefully be bred and have a kid or two this time next year.
May they both live happily ever after....well, for a good long time anyway.

Morwenna and Eira outside their new willow shelter (which I hope they don't eat!).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lambing has begun

Today we have had our first lambs of the year....the beginning of a busy 5-6 weeks, as there are approx. 350 ewes to give birth.

It has started a couple of days earlier than we expected, so today we also moved all the pregnant ewes into the 'lambing paddocks' - pastures which have been kept free from grazing over the winter so that there's (hopefully) plenty of grass for them. The ongoing cold weather has been a problem, slowing the usual spring growth, so finding enough grass will be a challenge if it doesn't warm up soon.

This little lamb got a bit cold and needed warming up in the bottom of our aga!

So, we're really praying for green grass, happy sheep and healthy lambs!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Enlli art

A painting of a grey seal.

Last week, the wind died down enough for me to go off to the mainland to do my art exam. The exam is ten hours long, so i decided to do it over two days, in five hour shifts.

My theme was Spring, and my paintings included one of two very bedraggled daffodils that had barely survived the rather turbulent boat journey across the Sound.

The exam wasn’t half as bad as I expected, as I had a room to myself in Botwnnog school where I was sitting the exam, and I was doing what I love most. It was strange being back in a school, to say the least, and not particularly pleasant, so I must admit that I was very relieved when I finished the exam and was ready to go back to quiet Enlli, (though mum and I did get stuck off for a night).

I have now finished my art GCSE, and am looking forward to exploring new tecniques and being creative without the stress of an impending exam!

Some of my work...

Watercolour painting of Snowdrops on homemade paper.

Swirls done with pastels.

Some of my polymer clay jewellery.