Explorations at Howton Grove

Accompanied Bro Duncan on a long walk this morning. We set out under Constable skies, along the edge of fields green with wheat, over pasture studded with ancient oaks, the sun just breaking on the Brecons. The wind whipped and tugged nosily at our coats, but in the sudden calm that descended from time time we heard innumerable larks. Sadly, there are no red kites, lapwings or yellowhammers here, or not that we could see, but there are lots of sparrows and swallows and various kinds of finches to keep us on our bird-spotting mettle. A fox crossed our path but obviously didn’t think we were any kind of danger.

The cattle are a constant joy: pure-bred Herefords (my favourite from of old) and crosses, but I haven’t a clue what kind of sheep are kept here β€” they are long-legged and multi-coloured, very unlike the mules we have been used to. We shall explore further when the unpacking is done and we have more time, but for now we can say that this is a lovely place to be.

Sheep and Bird Update
We have identified two of the sheep breeds, Welsh Badger-Faced sheep and another Welsh mountain variety, but the third continues to baffle us; and yesterday we saw a yellowhammer at close quarters.


12 thoughts on “Explorations at Howton Grove”

  1. I am so glad to hear that your new pastures are a delight.

    Like Allie, though, I tend to avoid cattle fields. In West Sussex, cows can be quite aggressive and there have been several fatalities in the last two or three years. The sheer weight of them for one thing… Son has a theory that they don’t trust us and are angered by the smell of holocausts from pubs and barbecues drifting across the fields. The land needs cows, and milk is good, but we really don’t have to eat them, or subscribe to the kind of agri-business which is not vested in their welfare beyond the market value.

    There do seem to be some pleasant privileges to the ascetic life πŸ™‚ May you enjoy them for a long time to come.

    God bless.

  2. Thank you for you kind comments. Interesting that two of you are worried we might be walking Duncan across fields of cattle. I can reassure you we never would do such a thing (very dangerous). I look at them over the hedge and rub a nose or two when Duncan is not around. There’s a bull running with some ladies in one of the fields, so he’s probably O.K. but I wouldn’t take any risks with nose-rubbing there! Sorry, Rosy, but Herefords are beef cattle and wouldn’t be bred if they weren’t to be eaten, but I promise not to serve any, if and when you visit . . .

  3. It sounds idylilic and I’m so glad the move went well. I would be very surprised if you don’t see red kites there at some point as Mid-Wales is a major centre for them and you are only just over the border. We see them regularly nowadays, whereas they were rare 20 years ago.

  4. Ah Cattle! – out here, cattle and ranching are major industries. There are over 5.5 Million beef cattle on average in any given year being raised in Alberta, with 26,500 individual ranches. Average herd size is 189, but some of the really big outfits can run to 10,000 head.
    Advice? don’t live downwind from a feedlot, and don’t stay in behind a cattle liner while driving on the highway..
    And if you’re really lucky, and have the right friends, you might get called to help out at roundups..

  5. So glad to hear that you are enjoying life in the border country. It all sounds idyllic. I bet Bro Duncan is loving every minute of the day now. Red Kites – well you have to come back here to see them! We were able to do some gardening today for the first time in ages.

  6. We do not have Red Kites in Western Canada, but we do have American Eagles, Osprey, hawks and several species of owls, including Great Horned. The latter have sometimes perched on our balcony railing, wing span 6 feet, so not a bird one opens the patio door to shoo away. We love to watch the eagle fly up and down the river, then swoop down for a meal of fish. They occasionally make off with small mammals and rodents. Here’s wishing you all a continued settling in, and may your new place feel like “home” very soon!

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