Autumn

As we enter the second week of autumn; the leaves are starting to turn and fall. With the clear skies Norfolk has lived up to its reputation as the land of the big skies and in the early morning the skies have been alight with beautiful sun rises. The swallows have long since left on their long journey southward; flying to their winter feeding sites in Africa.

Cromer sunrise

As the migrating birds fly south out of the UK to warmer climes we see the arrival of our winter birds; and in particular the geese. Indeed, in the last week, we have seen the first flocks of geese flying in formation over Church Farm Cottages on their way to their Norfolk wintering grounds.

The small flock of sheep – 5 rams and 9 ewes are in good health. They were inspected by the newly appointed vets last week. The previous vets did a good job, but being based just outside Kings Lynn it was an hour’s journey to their premises, which proved to be too far to collect day to day prescribed drugs. The new vets are based at Hainford, on the road to Norwich, and only 30 minutes away. The ewes weren’t put to the ram this year, so for a second successive year there will not be any lambs. The problem being that unless the lambs are sold on, there is insufficient land to accommodate both the ewes and the newly born lambs. At present the sheep are pets, glorified lawnmowers which keep the grass down and add to the peace and tranquillity of this small part of Norfolk. Unless I find it within me to send the lambs for slaughter, I have to be happy with what I have. The fleeces have been collected by British Wool and I was finally paid for the previous year’s fleece, collected in July 2014. These must be the longest credit terms in the UK.

The hens continue to do well and the two Lemon Brahma hens are now fully integrated. They are now allowed to roam everywhere, the hens are much happier with their new found freedom and this is reflected in the quality of their eggs which has improved markedly. However, despite best attempts to keep them in the paddock they wander where ever the mood takes them, including the caravan site. Unfortunately our 20 hens became 19 as one became the victim of a guest’s terrier – therefore please keep your dogs under control at all times. For the time being egg production has all but ceased as the hens put all their energy into replacing their moulted feathers; only 2 eggs yesterday from 19 hens.

On the bend of the caravan drive, on the verge, a bed of wild flowers has sprung up. After some research they were found to be from the Borage family of plants and specifically are Viper’s –bugloss. They are described in the ‘Wild Flower Key’ as `erect stem to 80 cm, dotted with red-based bristles, rosette of stalked, strap-shaped basal leaves to 15cm long, with strong mid vein. Said to be very scattered in GB, on ocean cliffs and dunes.’ Church Farmhouse Cottages is not by the sea but the soil conditions are very similar, being dry and sandy. Here are photographs of the Viper’s bugloss:

 

Flower 1

Flower 2