The hazel catkins are already flowering in the hedgerows and snowdrops carpeting the slopes around the pond. Once we hear the skylarks singing above the meadows every morning things start changing fast, with the first primroses flowering along the stream, collared doves collecting twigs for their nest in the rafters of the hay barn and lambs appearing in the fields.
It’s a very busy time for us, not only with lambing but also incubating hatching eggs from our rare breed poultry and turkeys. Pigs breed all year round and we defy anyone to look at a small piglet bustling around going “Uff, uff, uff,” and not smile. It’s good to pause, though, as we walk through the fields to check the sheep, and look across the valley towards the pine trees on the edge of the National Trust’s Brockhampton Estate, to see the cider orchard blossoming and hear the rattling sound of woodpeckers carving out new nests in the tall trees by the stream.
The robins are the first to begin singing to defend their nesting territories, followed by the wrens, whose pretty trills and warbles are much lounder than you’d expect from such a tiny bird. By March the farm is filled with birdsong.