May 10 2022

Changing Times !

Trees are greening, branches clothed at last. A reluctant Spring, mornings still harsh and fears of frost remain. Slowly camellias fade and daffodil and primroses give way to bluebells, stitchwort, carpets of wild garlic and the wonderful, vibrant pink of campion. The valley is changing colour from day to day.

But tiny tomato plants stand still in the greenhouse shivering in the evening chill. Runner bean seeds are reluctant to germinate and baby broad beans sit still in the vegetable garden! In our deep Devon valley we long for the warmth of May! 

Up on the hill Matt’s sheep are lambing. So strange to have no part in it any more. Each day as we walk up to the top fields with Millie dog we meet Matt and Lucy helped by their three children, checking the flock, clipping feet, dagging, moving  them on to pastures new.

All sorts of little babies bounce around the fields, progeny of different sires! Some are our pedigree Whiteface Dartmoors, some Greyface Dartmoors with funny smudgy black noses and many big sturdy cross- bred Llyen lambs; a mixture indeed from three beautiful pedigree rams!

It’s wonderful for us to see our flock so well managed and diversified after our forty years of sheep breeding.

With great sadness we will also be saying goodbye to the donkeys in two weeks’ time. After a lifetime of donkeys. Tiny Freddie needs constant veterinary monitoring for ongoing abscess damage to his foot caused by the terrible wet winter. After many vet and farrier visits, we all decided this would be best done by the Donkey Sanctuary to whom these boys belong. We will miss them terribly.

But, of course as usual, I have the NGS garden open days in June to fret about! Will the huge Embothrium still be in flower, will Seagull do her usual cascade of white blossom over the pond, will the waterlilies wait, will the sun shine…… ! Meanwhile we dig and hoe, repair and reorder, waiting for the temperature to rise.

So, life changes, time moves on.

Raining Sideways

A Devonshire Diary of Food and Farming

Sally Vincent

RedDoor Press

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