We did our first trip in the trailer today with Winnie and the foal! And to not just go around the block and back home again, we stopped at the beach and went for a paddle...well, the horses and dogs did, I stayed in the saddle! It just didn't feel that warm and inviting, but I got my share of splashes anyway when Winnie decided to canter through the knee-deep water.....
Henry was out at work again with our monthly Meitheal group. This time, we worked on the Sheep's head, moving firewood from the hill to the yard. The advantage to doing this with Henry was that he managed the slopy delicate wild flower fields with ease and little impact on the soil, whereas a quad bike with trailer would have had much more impact on the soil due to it's weight and size and number of wheels, plus it would have required very skillful and careful driving, as the slope was considerable in places.
Again, this day out was a real treat, with wonderful views of Bantry Bay, the Beara mountains and magnificent blue summer skies. Just as well we enjoyed it thoroughly, as today it is back to pouring rain...
One of the early June chores is to put the sugar beet seed in. Last year, I spent a ridiculous amount of time doing this by hand, but this year we decided to use our seeder again, and with Henry's help and after some planning out the rows, it got all done as a team effort. It still took quite some time...why is that? Too much talking? Too many tea breaks? Well, it was quite a big patch...
And then, there are the potatoes. Nearly drowned after the two extremely wet days we had within the last week, they recovered fast, and we have already earthed them a number of times. They are quite leggy this year, but hopefully they'll fill out a bit! I am spraying them again with horse tail tea, which appeared to work last year. It holds the blight at bay by introducing silica into the potato plants which makes it harder for the blight fungus spores to settle on the potato leaves. Says the book. As long as it works.
Winnie's foal is a month old now and growing well! Sometimes, he still feels it might be safer to hide behind his mum, but mostly he gets more confident and boisterous every day! He annoys his dad and his sister, and if you don't watch yourself walking across the field, you are ambushed by him, parking himself in front of you, hoping for a back scratch.
It is not too early to teach the foal some basics of how to let himself handled, and he is a quick and willing little learner. He likes being brushed, he knows how to be haltered and learns to be led, and he is the most relaxed foal I ever had when it comes to being tied up. Of course, this only happenes when Winnie is close by, when I am around and only for a few minutes at the time to start with! But standing still is a skill he will need for the rest of his life, and he is doing well with it!
Flora has her happy moments when we go for our regular walks - a welcome break from doing nothing but eat and sleep (I am talking about Flora!) and a relaxed way to get her used to traffic, barking dogs and all sorts of things you can meet out there beyond our farm. Recently, she made a new friend in the neighbourhood - a little lonely donkey in a field not far from us. (Why do people keep animals on their own???). He started listening for our foot (hoof) steps now and waits already at the fence when we come around the corner...