First six weeks……

It is 6 weeks since our web site went live – many thanks to Wensum.net for producing such a clear and simple to use web site.

Our Caravan Club listed site opened on 21 April this year and we have had a steady trickle of guests, including some who have been kind enough to stay with us more than once. All appear to be happy with the site, which is our aim. We have welcomed comments which we have posted anonymously on our web site under the comments tab. Feedback and suggestions for improvement have also been sought. We have acted on most of these, including changing the movement /light sensitive internal lights in the shower / toilet block with a simple light switch. The sensitive lights seemed like a good idea but were erratic giving light when it wasn’t required and more importantly, not giving light when it was required. So we’ve gone back to basics and to a simple light switch. We were also asked to put mops in the shower area, which we should have in place this coming weekend.

The barn owls are increasing their sorties to the allotments to bring back voles for their offspring. The owlets are not visible in the barn box but their hissing is quite audible as their parents fly back with their next package of food. The owlets will remain in the box for 10 weeks, but we are not sure when they will fledge. From memory, last year they took their first tentative flights in late June / early July. We will make a note of their departure date this year. This is the second year that the owls have produced offspring from the barn box. Lily and I put the barn owl box up 4 years ago when the outbuildings were converted into cottages. Then the barn owl roosted in the cart shed, and there was a concern that it might be disturbed initially by the building work and subsequently by the cottage guests. Therefore as advised by the Barn Owl Trust we set about bolting the barn owl box to the third oak tree. Made of marine ply, the box was surprisingly heavy. I recall we attached a rope to the box, threw the rope over a high bough (this took several attempts) and hauled the box into position. Lily held onto the rope, struggling to keep her feet on the ground while I bolted the box to the tree. It took us the best part of 3 hours, but it was worth every minute, as the barn owl took to the box almost immediately. The following year the owl attracted a mate, and last year they had their first brood of owlets. It was wonderful to see them fledge. When the offspring are ready to fledge the adults place the food packages some way from the box so as to entice the owlets to fly. After devouring the food the owlet returns to the nest, and this continues for a few days until the juveniles finally leave to find their own abode. The breeding pair of barn owls still roost in the cart shed during the winter as it affords better protection from the north easterlies which blow in from across the North Sea. We erected an additional barn owl box in the cart shed, but alas the owls prefer the beams for roosting. Although much to our disgust a pigeon has made use of the box, building its nest on top of the box.

On 28 April we took delivery of our two Hampshire Down lamb ewes, Bell and Allie, named after two good friends of my parents. Alan, who is 90, drove up from Essex with Bell, his wife of 70 years (next year) to see my parents for a few days last month, and to inspect the sheep. They are fine sheep, so I hope Bell and Alan were pleased. The sheep have settled in very well, and seem to be happy. We’ve bought some hurdles to aid us in carolling the sheep. And we’ve managed to worm them by drenching and sprayed them for blow fly. Blow fly strikes are particularly unpleasant, and can be deadly, so it was essential that we sprayed and properly protected them. Bell and Allie should be joined in August by two shearlings in lamb, which should lamb in December. They’ll be coming from the same breeder who I will make a point of seeing at the Norfolk Show at the end of the month.