We had friends to stay last weekend, and they brought the sunshine with them. It was utterly glorious, and we spent the whole of Saturday outside - until I landed up at the local hospital, with a swollen hand and fingers that wouldn't move as a result of a thorn in the back of my hand (I'm fine now, after a dose of industrial strength antibiotics).
Anyway, before that, we had a lovely time wandering about the fields and pottering in the garden.
We spotted a toad in a drain near the house, and our impromptu pond was seething with more tadpoles than I've ever seen in one place before.
It also became apparent that I'm going to need to decide what to do about the grass pretty soon.
I'm pretty set on a manual lawn mower for the little bit of garden round the house, although I am warned from all corners that our uneven ground will make mowing rather difficult. For the fields, there are a couple of options. The local farmer has offered us a few cows to munch on the grass, and in a couple of weeks a nice man is coming to show me how to use a scythe.
We had a visit this week from another nice man from the national park. He was quite excited about our fields, which are full of broadleaf plants (if you were after an actual lawn, you'd likely call them weeds). Apparently they're evidence that our fields are 'unimproved', which is quite clear by how much greener the surrounding fields are. This means they won't support much livestock - but they will support a lot of wildlife, which suits me just fine.
He's gone away to see if he can organise a botanical survey. I'm pretty excited. We'll see.
In the meantime, our battle with the wildlife inside the house continues. We're using humane traps for the mice in the loft, and have removed twelve mice in the last couple of weeks (plus an imaginary mouse, which we thought was in the trap, and which turned out to be a handful of sultanas rattling around).
I don't know how long this will go on for - much as I don't want to kill the little furry menaces, I'm getting rather sick of trekking up into the attic and down the back of the sofa each morning and several times during the evening to check the traps, and then down to the bottom of the fields to release the occupants. There's only so much more I can take. I can hear one up there now, running from one side of the loft to the other, wilfully ignoring the trap. Several have been witnessed actually escaping from the traps.
I'm pretty sure they're laughing at us now. We'll give them a few more days before the killing traps come out.
Sit down and make yourself comfortable. I'm Jenni, and I write here about our new forray into country living, which includes growing food, knitting, baking, wandering around the fields, and seeing which local cafe serves the best cake.