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You are here: Croan Cottage Blog » Newsletters » Blog article: Newsletter Summer 2007

Newsletter Summer 2007

Following a mild but stormy Winter and Spring, we’ve been basking in beautiful sunshine and enjoying unseasonably high temperatures. Over the Winter, the high winds caused a little damage, knocking a few older trees, but thankfully our venerable old lime trees lining the drive survived intact.

Throughout the spring, we undertook some remedial planting the fill out the gaps in the hedgerows, including some Blackthorn, Whitethorn, Willow and Lilac to give colourful flowers and winter feed for bird life, as well as providing stock barriers.

Croan is full of new life at
the moment. Our new chicks hatched in time for Easter and are
now integrating well into our existing clutch. The geese have
paired off and have prepared nests and the ducks are laying.
Two of our Muscovy ducks have made their nests in the old Lime
stumps on the lawn.

Meanwhile both of them still show up on window
sills to spy on what’s going on inside.

Pierre the Peacock has been showing off his
magnificent tail during this mating season and Penelope has
been disappearing quite a bit lately, indicating that she’s
preparing a nest somewhere about the place. We’ll keep a close
eye on her to ensure that she chooses a safe spot where she
and the chicks can be protected.
In April, Eunice the Ewe gave birth to twin
lambs following a difficult delivery, but with a bit of TLC
and some introductory feeding lessons, all three are doing

Eunice’s older daughter, Eugenie, had one
lamb three weeks later and he’s also thriving. It’s great
to see the three young lambs bounding about in the paddocks
as they gain strength and confidence, though, of course, they’re
all learning that Daisy the goat remains the boss!

One of our Large Black Sows, June, delivered
ten tiny piglets late last night. She’s exhausted after a
difficult delivery but will hopefully regain her strength
soon – ten piglets is a lot to keep fed!

The runt of the litter, a little boar, is
not doing as well as his brothers and sisters, but we’ll keep
a close eye on him and hope for the best. May, our oldest
sow is also expecting so we’re looking forward to another
litter in July.

The hot weather meant that our Large Black
pigs needed a lot of cooling showers. These proved particulary
refreshing for heavily pregnany June.

Bo, our Simmental cross cow, is also heavily
pregnant, expecting her third calf in June.

Garden restoration work

We’re continuing to make progress on the restoration
of our walled garden. The last of the old walls has been repaired
and the greenhouse roof has been delivered. We’re hoping to
fit the roof and the rest of the panes early in June. The
doors to the garden are also being prepared but until the
garden is secure, though, we can’t put our planting plans
into full swing – a lesson we learned last year after the
rabbits had helped themselves to a new varied diet. Hopefully
we’ll soon see an end to the resident population of rabbits
eating all our vegetables.

In the meantime,
we’ve been busying ourselves with the kind of jobs that rabbits
can’t impact upon. The obligatory dung has been spread for potato
planting. We’ll be using some old and rare varieties sourced
from Irish Seed Savers which we tried out last year and have
selected again based on great taste and good storage. We’ve
also continued to propagate soft fruit bushes along the East
and West beds, as the rabbits have little interest in these.
Unfortunately, they’ve helped themselves to many of our new
strawberry plants, but we’re hoping enough will survive to give
us a bowl or two.

Spring 2007 saw the first
Croan Remote Control Yacht Regatta on the pond. We’re not
sure that the ducks were too impressed but everyone else involved
seemed to enjoy it!

Bella has made a complete recovery following
her cruciat ligament surgery and is running about like a pup.
Poppy’s been devising a special physiotherapy programme for
her that involves chasing rabbits and crows and is happy to
have her playmate up to full speed again.
It’s looking like a very busy
Summer here at Croan. Going by all the local folklore, we’re
expecting another hot and sunny Summer and we’re very much looking
forward to spending warm and bright days here welcoming back
many old friends and greeting many new ones.
We enjoyed hosting a corporate social event
on the lawn at Croan, earlier in May. A fully kitted out Pub
arrived on the back of two articulated lorries, all the way
from Holland and 90 people enjoyed a BBQ and some live music
on a beautiful evening.

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