The countryside around where I live is getting quieter. From March until July, the area is buzzing with life as new lambs and calves add their voices to the sheep, cows and birds. As the trees become one great verdant canopy, life below is vibrant. Tractors are in abundance pulling trailers and machinery. Four vehicles were needed to turn our field into hay and watching them in action is like front seats at the ballet. Not only do you get to watch the machines dancing, turning, crossing and twisting but you get to smell the grass and fresh turned hay is deliciously sweet…no wonder the new calves love it.
Lamby (aka Ben) was born in the spring with his brother Jerry, to an older ewe who sadly died. My neighbour Liz was helping the farmer with lambing and offered to take on Ben and Jerry and I enjoyed helping bottle feed them, though I didn’t have to get up in the night to them as Liz did! Sadly Jerry, the seemingly more able and aware lamb, died leaving Lamby, partially sighted and with learning difficulties. Flibbertigibbet (aka Jibby), a little white female cat, became a full time member of our family, moving on from the house Mike, my partner, built her in the porch. Once the wood burners were installed at the end of January 2014, Jibby decided to stay and made the most of the warmth of the house and it’s occupants. Other new things started for me in the spring, teaching ATS® Belly Dance from the beginning of March and publishing Wrath of Angels at the beginning of June. Tribal Unity Wales is now flourishing in Lampeter and my students have already performed at the Cardigan Belly Dance Festival. It’s been a joy to teach them and I’m so lucky having the opportunity to make friends with such a lovely group of ladies.
But as the evenings grow cooler and the mornings greyer, our little corner of countryside doesn’t bustle any more. Indoors, jam and preserves are being made in kitchens and vegetables are being bagged for the freezer, but outside it is quiet as most of the lambs are no longer grazing. It makes me sad, as a vegetarian, but the only reason the lambs are on the hillside is because of the demand for sweet, tender lamb for Sunday lunch. I’ve witnessed first hand how hard the farmers work looking after the sheep and how much they care but I can’t help my stomach flipping when the sheep trailers drive by.
And as the summer nears it’s end, we have lost a member of our own family as Olly, brother to Tiggy was helped to the Summerlands by the vet at our house on Saturday. Olly was the perfect cat. Found in a box with Tiggy and another kitten, who had sadly died, at just three weeks old, the kittens had had acid dropped in their eyes and on their paws so Olly was blind in his right eye. He loved his new home in the countryside and I shall always remember, when we were tent living, the first time Olly ran the full length of the field. His body at full stretch, he bounded like a leopard through the grass. Before he became unwell, he and Rowan our black tom cat, would roam the area together. I buried Olly in our field, next to the plum tree we planted in memory of my dad. Every day I carry stones to the field, building a cairn to keep him safe.
As the wheel turns and autumn comes into view, the circle of life continues.