This week has been a busy one, mainly with work away from Potters but the fantastically spring like weather last weekend and the beginning of the week helped us keep at it. The biggest achievement this week has been to start work leveling the ground of the old cattle yard at the front of the house. Surrounded on 3 sides by a Norfolk flint wall and the big red brick barn on the 4th side, once done it will be a lovely south facing space. We have been encouraging the chickens to route about in there over the winter just to scratch over the weeds, but as they had taken it back it became more obvious at just how uneven the ground was. In the corners it was over a foot higher than the middle and over the years the floor had been firmed up with the odd bit of hardcore and typically for this area, chalk. This is all fine if you are planning to cover it with straw as it would have been when used as winter cattle yard, but less ideal if the plan is to turn it to a lawned area, so when we had the chance to borrow a digger/dozzer we jumped at the chance. Our friend Chris did a grand job at leveling it but in order to lay a lawn there is no other way but to hand pick the stones out and rake it over to create a finer top soil, this is going to be no quick job but will be well worth it if we can get it done in the next couple of weeks so we can get the grass seed down as the soil begins to warm up.
Apart from the yard this weekend hasn't been as productive for me as I had hoped due to being laid up on Saturday with a horrible bug. Saturday morning feeling like death I went and fed the horses and lobbed them out, whilst throwing up on the muck pile before returning home to climb back in bed and sleep whilst Chris and Pat worked on the yard. Feeling bit better in the afternoon I wondered out to pathetically pick a bit more ivy off the walls before heading back to do the horses. I love my horses but when feeling poorly I sometimes wish I had goldfish rather than horses. Luckily this morning I have woken up feeling back to my normal annoying self. Horses have been mucked out and the floors Jeyes fluid washed. The sheep netting that had been 'mullered' by pat and the lazy ewe Deirdre last week, has now been knitted back together. Amazingly I have been able to not only find fuel for the strimmer but also the 2 stroke oil and the strimmer actually had wire in it and just to top it off it actually started! Result, so I set about strimming the lines under the electric fence and netting already for the lazy ewes to come home next weekend. Our paddock had been left to seed over the late summer and winter with the grass now being waist height with a track mowed around the edge it has provided a perfect hunting ground for the barn owl and we have even had a red kite regularly circle overhead but in order for us to use it this summer its got to be cut back. It makes sense as the lazy ewes are still on the summer horse paddock where they are rather too efficiently razoring the grass, to bring them back and get them on grass cutting duties here. Partly due to not having enough netting and only having a holey hedge as external fence I have decided to strip graze them up their field rather than give them the run of it. Pat is less than convinced as he is worried about their lack of respect for electric fencing and fears they will be soon be running riot around Wighton. I am determined for this not to happen and have checked the wires on the energiser, checked the netting for holes and strimmed under the fence so it shouldn't short so we will see who is right.
As I write this storm Freya is heading our way and although we shouldn't get it nearly as bad as the west country we are still forcasted 50mph gusts this evening which will soon take away anything that isn't fixed down so just to stop me wittering I am about to head back outside to do a bit of a wind audit and make sure every thing is battened down. Before then I might chuck one more log on the fire and watch it for a while, just what wet Sundays are made for.