Thursday, September 20, 2012

Summer review

Once again, the blog has suffered from a busy summer; so it's about time we caught up a bit with a few  photos of the last few months to at least give some idea of the summer's activity...

Firstly, Piggy's progress.  I'm sure those of you who have visited will have noticed how the men of the family seem to have grown particularly fond of Piggy. He has turned out to be quite a character, and likes a good scratch!  It will be hard when he has to go... :(

Piggy when he had just arrived...

 ...and Piggy now!

  Ben giving Piggy a bit of freedom from his enclosure, and some fuss!

While we're on 'animals', we've had a few "cow epics" in the last couple of months.  The first was the sad loss of Pedro the bull, who suddenly dropped dead one night.  This was a huge shock, as he wasn't old and hadn't been showing any signs of illness. One possible explanation was that he had a heart still remains a bit of a mystery. We all miss him as he was very tame, and such a big softie!
He was replaced by another Welsh Black bull (we call him Samson) who proved slightly too eager, and ended up pushing one of the cows off the cliff at Y Groes, only a week after he arrived. We were alerted by two regular visitors to Enlli, who witnessed the cow fall off the cliff, down onto the rocks, and then into the sea. Despite the rough state of the sea, Ernest managed to take his fishing boat, Pedrin, around to the north end where Gareth reached the cow with a rope. From there, though progress was slow through waves and surf, they managed to tow her round the north end, and all the way along the west until grounding at Solfach. Through gentle coaxing and a combination of pushing, pulling and the incentive of her calf and another cow (brought down to the beach), we finally got her up onto the grass, and into a field. Apart from a slight limp, a few scratches and a droopy lip, she was completely unscathed...despite being in the sea for almost 2 hours!
She has made a full recovery - though still gets some TLC with a bucket of cow nuts every day.

   The 'swimming cow'!

The wet summer has had its advantages on Enlli...the prolific growth has meant that the whole island has looked incredibly lush throughout the summer.  The diversity and density of  wildflowers has been spectacular, with hundreds of Common Spotted Orchids in the wetlands and thousands of Autumn Lady's Tresses in Donogoch fields.

Autumn Lady's Tresses
Common Spotted Orchids

Rock Sea Lavender, a rare and beautiful plant which grows on exposed cliffs on the south east.

The silage was a challenge to harvest during the unsettled August weather, but the phenomenal growth this year gave a bumper crop.

Rachel and Ben decided to set up an Art and Photography exhibition of their A level and GCSE work. They were given permission to use the schoolhouse, and intended to leave it there for a week.  It was so well recieved that in response to popular request it ended up being there for almost a month!

      Ben's GCSE final piece; a photo-montage of the island's 'Sense of place' (with thanks to all those who sent in their thoughts on what the island means to them.)
    Rachel's final A-Level exam piece- the end result of a project entitled 'Imagine', based on trees      and the work of J.R.R Tolkien, among other things.
   The combined work of all four of Rachel's A-Level art projects was on display...    

It has been hard work in the vegetable garden this year, especially with competition from prolific slugs and snails.  However, I think we have enough to keep us self-sufficient for the winter, and there have been plentiful potatoes and various greens for visitors. The poly-tunnel has once again proved it's worth as the extra shelter and warmth make such a big difference. I'm not sure the grape harvest is big enough for 'Gwin Enlli' this year, but it's a start!  And we grew our first melon...!

It was quite a tasty melon..

Finally, a shot of Celyn waiting on the dumper for the boat to come in!
(...kayak rolling practice in the background.)