Little Black Month
This name is reference to the fact that this is the last of the dark months of winter, when the daylight hours are very short. An alternative Romani name for February is Kaulay Staur Kurkay, meaning ‘four dark weeks’.
The first fortnight of February has thrown a curve ball at us for sure with snowfall and freezing temperatures making working outdoors with our livestock considerably harder. Not only that but our heating system broke down so even colder inside. What did I say last month? Something like, it’s nice to get inside to the warm…how silly was I!
Shrove Tuesday has been and gone with a little warmth and sun. And prediction has it that this should be the outcome for the remaining of Lent. And where the wind lies on Ash Wednesday, it too will remain for Lent. Ash also is the tree of the month…
Trees are special and provide a plethora of environmental benefits. But did you also know that your birth tree can determine your personality? According to some, especially the Celtic druids, the date of your birth is tied to the lunar calendar and is related to the formation of one’s personality and behavior.
Before we delve into the meaning of each tree, first a little history. Trees have always had a special place in Celtic history. Living trees have played a central role in the practical daily and spiritual lives of the Irish people for centuries. Irish myth, story and music abound with references to trees and their being the home of fairies and spirits.
Ash are free thinkers. Imaginative, intuitive, and naturally artistic, they see the world in water-color purity. Ash tend to be moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because their inner landscape is in constant motion. They are in touch with their muse, and are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, Ash inspire all that they associate with and people seek them out for their enchanting personality. Art, writing (especially poetry), science, and theology (spiritual matters) are areas that strongly interest Ash. Others may think they are reclusive, but in all honesty, they are simply immersed in their own world of fantastic vision and design. Ash are in a constant state of self-renewal and rarely place a value on what others think about them.
Astrologers believe that the new moon is a time to make plans and focus on dreams and hopes for the period ahead, and with the moon on the 11th entering Aquarius, which is said to be unconventional and a trailblazing sign, making this a good time to give your most inventive thoughts and ideas space to breath.
Our plans and dreams for a successful farming year are well underway as we had our sheep scanned on the coldest, snowiest day that we could’ve have. Now lots of things can go wrong with scanning, primarily the ewes seem to know we need to catch them all into a holding pen and usually they plot against us and run! But even they must’ve thought ‘Let’s just get this done and we can have more nuts’! They behaved impeccably and the results were outstanding with our best results yet. We were even blessed to have triplets in all 3 different breeds so if all goes well that should make for a nice outcome.
With 6 weeks to go before lambing commences it’s now all hands-on deck to start prepping our medications, vet flock checks, lambing shelter etc. The list is quite endless to be honest but seemingly easy and well-rehearsed now as the years go by and our skill set building. But there is always some nerves approaching lambing as you never really know what problems you’ll encounter. We also have our 3 week campaign with Volvac/Lamlac to prepare for and judging for The Countryside Alliance Awards.
Our beautiful shop is also re opening at the same time so logistically a nightmare sorting everything out but resilience is key. It’s a super exciting time ahead with new life breathing through us in everything we do.
This week I’ve been in discussion with a woollen mill in Yorkshire to guide me through the processes in order that my Norfolk Horn fleeces can be made into skeins that we can then sell through our farm shop. The concept of this fills me with such pride, it’s difficult to surmount into words. I know there are lots of people that do this but actually breeding this animal and utilising everything from it yourselves, understanding all the characteristics day to day is absolutely amazing. Our Norfolk Horns known as the ‘Herling’ flock are more than just a sheep breed. The epitomise everything that is Norfolk. I’ve been planning this project for years but now it’s real! Very real!
Designing our branding for this finished wool is also underway as I’d ideally like it to be different in some way to our business logo in a way that displays my love and affection for this breed and our heritage. And I’ve just ordered myself some seeds. Not just any seeds may I add. Norfolk grown Woad seed as my wool journey will take me to many places that I hope you all enjoy and embrace alongside me.
My plan is to naturally dye my own wool, from our own flock encompassing all the beautiful colours of our natural environment and make beautiful things to adorn our homes.
Am I mad? Probably a little but all the best people are!