Jonathan: As Denise says, mainly yellow, but we have to allow a major exception for the orchids. Right now it is the Common Spotted Orchid, which is pinkish. There are thousands of them on the croft right now – mostly concentrated in patches where the conditions are ideal, but they’re pretty much everywhere, because the lack of sunshine has kept down grass growth. Soon, we’ll be moving into the purple flower stage, and already there’s the occasional Northern Marsh Orchid to be seen – the rest will appear in the next few weeks, though they’re never as plentiful as the Common Spotted Orchid.
Denise: At this time of year, the wild flowers are predominantly yellow. First and foremost there’s the glorious golden yellow of ranunculus – the buttercup family, which the honey bees absolutely go mad for, streaming home their legs weighed down with golden pollen. Next comes many daintier species, scattered across the drier ground, but right now it’s the Flag Iris, which is seen almost anywhere that the ground is damp and firm.A
Jonathan: Look what I came back from the croft this morning! A few weeks ago I did a full stocktake of chickens, but it seems one hen had more important places to be. Today, after putting down the daily rations, I was tidying round inside the hen house when I heard – above the din of 70+ hens greedily pecking in the galvanized feeders – a distinct cheeping noise. Couldn’t see where it was coming from so went outside: and there by the door were eight wee Welsumer chicks, just a few days old! Mum was presumably inside getting some grub after three weeks sitting on a nest (hidden away somewhere amongst the fruit bushes I should think) and another three days waiting for the chicks to grow enough so she could walk with them back to the henhouse – about 100m. She was lucky to make it, because seagulls are constantly crusing along the shore and lower crofts looking for tasty tender morsels to take home to their own greedy young. As they were very unlikely to survive on the croft, I scooped them up and took them home to add to a few Welsumer chicks – also about three days old – that we’d hatched in the incubator and were now in a nursery ark. What a surprise it was for Denise when she took the egg bucket from me to sort and pack!