The meadow is alive with butterlies, dragonflies, damselflies and grasshoppers and crickets jumping about. The wildflowers are at their most beautiful and in the wildlife meadow we have over 30 orchids, including Northern Marsh Orchid and Common-spotted Orchid. It really is a delight to wander through the meadow appreciating nature.
The serious growing season for nature is drawing to an end which fortunately means less mowing and strimming is on the cards for us, a big relief as the weather gets hotter!
We recently had an ecologist from Norfolk Wildlife Trust do a survey of our wildlife meadow, which last year we discovered is a County Wildlife Site. It’s of importance for it’s wet meadow habitat and it was great the hear that the middle section of the meadow is a good example of this habitat. This however means that either end aren’t currently great for the invertebrates and orchids that thrive in this type of meadow and the recommendation is to have it grazed by Highland Cattle for a few months a year. Who knows, maybe in coming years we’ll be able to pursue this further and can create a beautiful wildlife reserve in the meadow but for the time being with everything else that is going on here we’re really grateful that without any management at all, for the 5 years we’ve been here and at least 4 years under previous owners, that the area is so full of wildlife and wildflowers.
Seasons on the Smallholding
We’re gradually coming out of the hungry gap in the vegetable garden and the fruits of Spring’s planting labour will soon be to harvest. The greenhouse is a true jungle of tomato plants with the odd red tomato coming along and many green tomatoes and flowers preparing to burst into sweet deliciousness. Broad beans and fresh peas have been enjoyed already, with Elliot and Dylan enjoying their seasonal role of podding them ready for dinner.
Our summer fruits are also just about ready. Our boys love picking raspberries, red currents and gooseberries ready for breakfast (although we’re never too sure how many make onto the table, as they are so hard to resist!). Fruit picking becomes a daily activity from now until late September with our autumn raspberries following closely behind the summer variety.
Whilst the sun is shining and the weather is glorious it can be hard to remember the fact that the days are now gradually getting shorter and that now is a good time to make some preparations with the harvest to prepare for the colder seasons that are to come. We try to preserve a lot of our harvests for enjoying throughout the year but jam making in the hot sun doesn’t sound too fun to us! So instead we tend to freeze any surplus fruit we have and then make time in the autumn for making jam. We also dehydrate lots of fruits and vegetables, including apples, tomatoes, elderberries (for syrup), marigold flowers (for calendula ointment) and anything else that takes our fancy. It’s such a great way to hold in lots of nutrients and extend their shelf-life.
If you haven’t got access to fresh berries and vegetables in your garden why not scope out a local pick-your-own farm or farmer’s market to enjoy the summer delights on offer.
Life on the Glampsite
Summer brings our busiest season at Round the Woods with school holidays just around the corner and lots of lovely families eagerly awaiting their opportunity to run free in the woodland and meadow and to spend quality time together relaxing.
We try to encourage our guests to spend at least one day of their time with us not going anywhere else. I’m definitely guilty of over-planning holidays and I have to admit it really can make things unnecessarily stressful: loading everyone in the car with everything you need for the day, the journey there (unless you’re just popping next door to Dinosaur Adventure), spending lots of money at a site where there are hundreds of other people. There can certainly be lots of fun to be had at big family attractions but I think it’s so helpful to balance these busier days with days full of proper relaxation for everyone.
When you’re staying somewhere like Round the Woods you’ve actually got more than just a hotel room, you have a full experience right there on your yurt doorstep and there really is no need to go anywhere else. I know that it can be hard to resist all the amazing attractions, both natural and man-made, that are available locally and if guests have several days in the area then they really are spoilt for choice but I honestly want to congratulate guests when they arrive and say they have nothing planned for their stay and will just take each day as it comes. This is a true sign of embracing the opportunity to relax and relish in this experience that we offer our guests. We are giving guests the invitation to do nothing, to be fully present with each other, to observe the wildlife on the site, to wander through the woods, to read their favourite book in the hammock, to swing from the rope swing, to climb trees together and to star gaze around the campfire.
Is there anything better in life than being able to focus on your true values and spend quality time with loved ones?