Hill Farming, seasons, Wales

Before the Storm

It’s a misty autumn morning with dew on the pasture where Aby is getting to know her new companion.

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The other sheep (including her old friend Twts) have gone to meet the ram.  Aby, who had retired from lambing, has a new friend to keep her company  — no sheep is happy to be alone (although this particular, hand reared one might well prefer to be back in the kitchen with the dog and me).

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That’s why she looks so grumpy — to top it all, the new friend (who is very undersized) is getting extra rations which is very irritating to Aby who is on a diet!  New ewe lamb who is from a neighbour’s farm, is still nameless but was an orphan like Aby, so is very bold with humans but still not at ease with Pedro, the dog.  She stamps her feet in an unfriendly way when he comes near — it’s early days.

As the sun appears over the hill the whole area is bathed in amber light reflected from the dying bracken.

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The woods are glowing with new colors.

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and dew, on spider silk, drapes the dead stalks of yarrow in gossamer.

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and polishes the mellowing bramble.

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SONY DSCEven the dead wood on the compost heap is looking its best.

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Wales

Hiraeth

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 Hiraeth — one of the most important words in the Welsh language yet without an exact equivalent in English — that says it all really.

An Englishman would say homesickness — a negative feeling that unsettles you and stops you doing your job properly.  In the Celtic vernacular hiraeth is a sense of incompleteness tinged with longing — it embodies the spirit, the beauty of the landscape and the belonging.

It is that feeling we have at dusk, in the bluebell wood — it is love — it is God —  it is home.

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