Hemsford is a place where despite being only 3 miles from Totnes, there is a wealth of wildlife always present. The badgers are frequent visitors to the hen run in the field next to the house, and visitors to our yurt camp are often treated to views of the badgers nightly walk across the lake field. Badgers will eat just about anything, including chickens, so I am always keen to make sure our hens are safely shut in their houses at dusk each night. About 2 weeks ago I placed 18 bantam eggs in our little incubator and are hopefully expecting them to hatch just in time for Easter. I normally have large fowl and we have a variety of breeds all free ranging together, including Buff Orpington, Speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Red, Copper Black Maran, Silver Sussex and a few hybrids as well. This will be the first time I have hatched bantams so I am really excited about seeing the tiny chicks. I have candled the eggs (passed a light throught them to ascertain fertility) and I am hoping for a good number to hatch on or around the 1st April. Chickens normally live around 5 years, however most of my free range flock are 6 and above now so I hope to renew them with the bantams. I may even try and hatch some exotic Ayam Cemani after this brood are done. Love chickens!
Friday March 20th 2015 was a special day at the yurt camp as we experienced a partial solar eclipse. The moon passed in front of the sun at around 9.25am and although the morning was cloudy we were treated to ethereal glimpses of this special astrological moment through the clouds. The strange thing is that although it did not go completely dark as in 1999 when there was a total eclipse, the temperature dropped from a balmy 13 degrees down to 5 degrees over the course of the hour when the eclipse took place. We spent the morning in the field observing our horses and chickens behaviour. We noticed that the animals went quiet and although there was plenty of bird song it noticeably changed to that of an evening chorus. The other side effect of the moons behaviour is very high and low tides. An eclipse is a special magical occasion for sure and we are privileged to witness this event.
The first guests of the glamping season will be with us this weekend and we have spent some quality time putting our yurts back on their bases after the winter break. We are also looking forward to some nice fine weather this weekend if a little cool - nice to have wood burning stoves lit. The good news is that our recent planning application has now been approved by South Hams District Council so we are celebrating our 4th year as a permanent seasonal "glamping" site. We always strive to meet and exceed the expectations of our guests and we are hoping that 2015 will be our best year yet. I have read today on the internet (it must be true) that Easter is going to be 80 degrees and we are going to have the hottest summer ever which is brilliant news for all the guests who have already made their reservations. This is the quote today from the Express online - fingers crossed they have it right this year!
"The ENTIRE country will bake in the fiercest April temperatures for years out-scorching Spain, Greece and even North Africa, according to some forecasts.Early long-range models show a freak set of conditions due to come into play at the start of next month will trigger the long-awaited heatwave.
Thermometers are expected to tip the 80F mark in time for Easter which is on course to beat the historic scorchers of 1984 and 2011.
An unusually wavy jet stream will drag swathes of scorching air in from the Continent while high pressure will see Britain bask in blue skies and sunshine.
The sizzling prediction ties in with suggestions this summer is on course to be a super-scorcher putting even The Great Heatwave of 1906 in the shade.
Blistering heat lasted a week and with the mercury rocketing past 90F for four days it is considered the severest of the 20th century.
Experts say things will start to heat up in just a few weeks thanks to the “wildly deviating” jet stream and warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific"
The weather this week has been positively balmy - the temperatures are rising and there is a spring like feel in the air. With lighter evenings and mornings the dawn chorus is starting once again. The sound of the great tits chirping is always a sign that spring is on the way. Its almost time for us to put up our yurts again and we are looking forward to welcoming all our guests in 2015.
Liz Jeffery - owner of Hemsford Yurt camp