The owners added the sun room at a previous keeper's request. Another huge kindness on their part. Even the kennels are above standard: brick-built but lined inside. And heated.
Mike's incubator barn faces the kennel -
With under keeper and apprentice
It's conveniently right outside the house. Incubators in one room, then hatchers in the next, and the final room is where chicks are boxed and ready for transport, some to pens on this estate but most to other shoots in England. And the laying field is just across the lane -
The sheep will graze down the laying field when they arrive at the end of the week. We took Kitty up yesterday, a 3 hour ride in a horse trailer for her, but she's settling in fine.
The new place seems even more rural than our old place. A man in a horse and cart was the only vehicle that came down that lane all afternoon. The local shop sells milk, horse feed, and ammunition. And there's a working outhouse in the garden. That bit is quaint. The downside is our broadband speeds average 3 mb/s. The guy in the horse and cart could drive the data to my house faster than that. No fibre optics in Hereford.
The garden is enormous. I'm going to have to trade my push mower for a ride-on. There is a small orchard of perhaps a dozen fruit trees - with a crop of mistletoe in them! - at one end, and a neglected vegetable patch at the other. I won't be able to grow any vegetables this year, but the big house has a walled veg garden complete with gardener. I will offer my weeding services to him in trade for some produce this year. At least I know I won't be short of apples or mistletoe.
The extra month in Dorset was as busy as ever. Unable to move house, a two week visit from my sister turned into an unexpected holiday - if feeding sheep and walking dogs is your idea of a holiday. Lucky, it is for Kerry.
The weather was all rain and howling winds so when we weren't caring for bedraggled animals, Kerry was beating the pants off of me at Scrabble, sometimes by candlelight when storms knocked out our power. Her reward was wine and puppies.
Something that's never in short supply here.
The weather has turned dry but the work continues: lambs to ice camp, giving the odd hand to friends who are spring lambing, working on my own flock of sheep in preparation for tupping (mating). The Land Rover broke again, the fields are still waterlogged, and the government needed all my forms filed for this year's farm payments. And I've been packing.
Lord willing and the creek don't rise (anymore than it already is anyway!) I'll be a permanent resident in Hereford from Thursday.