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The month has largely been a washout – the rain has been absolutely non-stop. We know we need every drop and more – our local reservoir is only 40% full, and it’s reckoned we’d need another 3 months of heavy rain to top it back up again. So the hose pipe bans will continue. Coupled with the rain it’s been so unseasonably mild.

When it hasn’t been raining I’ve been out walking the dogs without a jumper or a jacket. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said to me ‘Isn’t the weather lovely!’. No! No it isn’t. It’s deeply concerning. Usually by now I can see my breath when I step outside in the mornings, and the wood  I know I get on my soapbox about this very often – but that’s because it matters! We cannot keep ignoring the signs of climate change. 

As visitors will know – the farm is on clay soil – so all of this rain means the ground is now very waterlogged, which is the reason that we close the twin cabins Wood and Penfold, and Meadowkeeper's Cottage in the winter time. The run-off from the hillside results in ground conditions that are too squelchy to be much fun even for the most hardcore glamper.

We’ve been taking the chance to get some work done on the top track and the entrance to the farm. It’s always a difficult call – the best time to do this work would be in the summer when things are dry and hard, but of course we’re chocka with visitors then so restricting access when we’re at our busiest makes no sense. That means we have to do track repairs in the wet season which makes it an arduous job. The entrance will be less step next time you arrive, and the track to the accommodation in our woods – less bumpy. 

The hedges around the bankside have been trimmed back to reveal the full width of the paths around it – this is in readiness for more hedge laying which will start in early January. We applied for a grant to help us fund some more hedge laying as part of our conservation work and were lucky enough to have our application approved, so Bill, our local champion hedgelayer will be returning to embark on an even bigger section of hedgerow  than he did earlier this year, it’s going to look amazing!

Other snippets of news for you -  I’ve decided to turn a section of the vegetable patch into a cutting garden and have been busy planting up masses of bulbs in one of the beds so hopefully we’ll have a colourful display of tulips come the spring. 

Last but not least It’s tupping time again so we have twenty ewes in the eight acres at the moment with a rather frisky ram. Guests in the Long View a couple of weeks back found it all very entertaining – saying the sheep had been their alternative to tv for the weekend! (I’m not entirely sure if that should be pay-per-view content or not?!)  
 

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