Friday, 15 February 2008

Yet more firsts - some good, some most definitely not

Last month I was counting off the various firsts of the year to date. Now there are more to add to the list.
This morning there was a heap of straw in the goose hut, pulled and picked into a comfy doughnut shape by one of the geese. I parted it carefully, and yes, the first goose egg of the year. Traditionally they start laying on Valentine's day, so if it was laid before midnight, she was spot on. I'll wait til there are enough eggs to put in the incubator and then let them do their thing by benefit of electricity, leaving the geese to sit naturally on another clutch.

There was the first flush of blossom in the orchard. It is on the unknown tree - I think it is a plum but don't really know - and the reason as to why it never fruits and reveals its true nature is clear; every year it blossoms far too early and the frost will kill off any premature buds. Looks like it's getting it wrong again.
Then there were the two nuthatches eyeing each other up. One of them, the male I guess, was displaying and trembling his tail feathers for all the world as if he was a bird of paradise; never seen that before.
And then on Wednesday I came in to find my first ever ominous recorded phone message from the animal health department of Defra announcing that the farm is in the newly enlarged Bluetongue surveillance zone. To be honest, the chances of doing anything to prevent my sheep getting this disease is nil, and the temptation to bury my head in activity is strong. I know only too well that some midges and mozzies have survived our warm winter. What a way to welcome the lambing season.

14 comments:

Winchester whisperer said...

very cheering. Let's hope the blue tongue steers clear

Hannah Velten said...

Bluetongue surveillance seems to be getting everywhere these days...like you say, there is nothing you can do, apart from looking out for symptoms, so I'm glad you've got the lambing to look forward to...get stuck in. Glad to see that the build is progressing well, and you are the second person to mention 'War Horse' - I'm going to get the book right now.....

lady thinker said...

You've won awards at the BAFTAs if you'd like to pop over to accept the awards.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

God, it's not an easy life, farming, is it? But your photo is beautiful!
Pigx

Swearing Mother said...

Lovely, lovely photo Mopsa.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Chin up! As you have listed a bunch of 'firsts' this year then maybe you'll be the first zone never to get bluetongue. Lets hope so for it would be heartbreaking for you. Besides that sad post, catching up on your posts has been great again. You do move me with your writing.

Anonymous said...

mopsa - tend to agree that it is now a bit pointless doing a 'new readers' thingy - it would more self-defeating than trying to catch up with the entire past history of the 'Archers' before tuning in. Although that is not a good analogy as I detest the programme, as it gives a ridiculous view of what life in the countryside is like. I have however recommended you for one of those rather vapid 'Beautiful Blogger' awards, if only to inject some quality and culture into what is often a superficial and facile obsession with appearance.

Although I think it is important to point out that I think anyone who produces a blog as visually sumptuous, as colourfully literate and engagingly bright must be very beautiful indeed. Let us hope that it brings you a wider audience, or maybe you would prefer that it is kept to a select band of brigands ?

Although I don't know what the blogging equivalent term for being over-run by a load of grockles is?

Mopsa said...

WW - yes, one MUST look on the positive side.

I haven't read the book yet Hannah - must get hold of a copy.

Thank you LadyT, have added to my gong section - much appreciated.

Pig and SM - which piccy did you like?

MOB - you leave the most charming comments - thank you v much.

Anon - have to say, I am a bit of an occasional Archers fan. As a friend said when I moaned I had no radio reception here for two years, how did I know what to do on the farm without the Archers to tell me? And you flatter me far too much - have you been on the booze or had an exceptionally pleasing day? The award is of course much appreciated - where do I pick it up?

Swearing Mother said...

I really like the blossom photo, though goose egg was good too but I'm fan of close up flower photos.

mountainear said...

I wonder if this run of deeply frosted nights and days will be sufficient to deter the Bluetongue-mongering insects? It's a difficult one - kills the mudges (hooray!) or the fruit buds (boo hoo!)

paula said...

It's not a quince is it mopsa? I can't quite see from the photo. We have a quince that flowers impossibly early and almost always gets frosted.

60goingon16 said...

Another new reader (and fellow Devon blogger) here, courtesy of NHS Blog Doctor - who pointed me in your direction - and am having just the best possible morning reading your previous posts. (I may be some time but no need to send reinforcements.)

Wonderful writing; wonderful photos.

Mopsa said...

SM - I was particularly pleased with my flower photos on a previous post (it's my magic little Canon Ixus, not me!) here and here.

Mopsa said...

M'ear - given the choice, I'd rather go with a poor fruit crop... although that would make me sad too.

Paula - I have 3 young quinces in the garden and I don't think they are similar to this particular article, but you never know!

60goingon16 - how nice to have you visit. And thank you for the lovely comments.