and flat out catching up with the jobs around the place!
Our youngsters did sterling work whilst we were away house-sitting and looking after the animals. They had quite a do with the sheep some of which contracted a bacterial eye problem whilst we were on holiday. However, a neighbouring farmer came to the rescue and helped out with antibiotic injections for the poorly individuals. There is only one ewe now who is still not quite right.
Whilst we were away it stayed warm but got quite wet on and off. Ideal growing weather, especially for grass and weeds!! I have spent hours the last couple of days cutting docks (which are rampant in several areas) attacking some of the thistles and spraying patches of nettles . We leave quite a few weeds in certain areas for the wildlife, but we are loathe to loose too much grazing. Parts of the fields are pretty wet and acid and the docks seem to love these areas. Some of the flower/seed heads are absolutely beautiful and I felt compelled to sketch this one quickly which was a vibrant pink colour. Each tiny flower head was a sort of tricorn red hat. I think I identified it as a broadleaf dock. There are around a dozen types in the UK when I looked them up in my wildflower book and I reckon we must have very sort here – in profusion!!! We do get quite a lot of ‘dock beetle’in certain areas of one field ( an amazing iridescent little chap – ranging from bronze in some lights to an electric bluey-green) and they will eat the dock plants away. Unfortunately, where they thrive is quite close to my veg garden and they decimated the rhubarb ( same family as dock) and the sorrel patch as well! However, this year we have had much better crops of both.
Thistles – beloved by the bees.
We have to leave some good ones to grow on; not just for the wildlife, but for ‘himself’ to enter in the longest thistle competition at the August bank holiday village show!