SUDDENLY the days appear to be getting longer. The rather dull, damp start to the week gave way to long periods of sunshine, even though it still felt rather chilly in the shade.The temperature has been rather up and down, almost day by day, but at least there was very little rainfall.

I expect you have all heard about the 'super blue moon', a truly spectacular sight, which we were fortunate enough to see as we were driving back towards our home from Aberystwyth, having just taken our grandson Dominic to see the university. Dominic wants to study agriculture and Aberystwyth University is one of his choices.

On Chuggaton Farm, North Devon, Dominic's parents Steve and Adele have been persuaded to enter the North Devon Grassland Society silage competition. During the week they were visited by a group of eight judges, who examined their grass silage clamp in detail. The look of the silage face and aroma of the silage were assessed, as well as studying the cleanliness of the area and if there was any wastage. The judges also wanted to see how the silage was being fed. Prior to the judges visit a sample of the silage was taken for analysis. Steve and Adele now have to wait for the results.

They also had another visit during the last week. The visitor in this case was an unannounced inspector from the Food Standards Agency, who arrived to check the dairy hygiene of the farm and the welfare of the dairy herd and young stock. Whilst on the farm the inspector looked at all the cattle housed in their winter accommodation, checked food stores, records and general cleanliness. At the end of his visit he told Adele and Steve that he was very happy with what he had seen.

At the beginning of the week Richard and I were called by Kevin to ask if we were able to help move the remaining flock of 1,000 pregnant ewes, from Corsham Park, back to the barns at Stowell Farm. This involved crossing the ewes over the A4 at dawn on the Sunday. Kevin had enlisted the help of everyone he could muster, including two police officers to help control the traffic. First of all the sheep dogs helped gather the ewes and bring them to the crossing point. Once everything was in place and we had all been given instructions on where to stand, the gate was opened. The ewes came out of the park in an orderly fashion and were soon across the road, on their way to the farm. The collies brought up the rear, dashing off to redirect any sheep that strayed into the hedges on either side of the road. It was not long before all the ewes were safely in the barn. They were then left to settle down, leaving Richard and I to join Kevin and family for a delicious English breakfast – very tasty!

I was recently invited to attend the opening of the new Rural Enterprise Centre on The Royal Bath and West Showground. The building was originally opened as The Society Office in 1974 ,with the office now relocated in a nearby building. A silver food basket associated with the society, from 1800, was recently found in Canada and has since been brought home and renovated. Emma Corr, is the first innovation manager, who will oversee all that goes on in the building. It will provide some commercial, flexible work space, host meetings, has a development kitchen where small food businesses can gain more experience, provide information, such as environmental, as well as research and development and it is hoped there will be collaboration with Wiltshire College. Mary Prior, the current society president, opened the building, before the Thatchers Award was made to JEAM Super Mixes (who make organic bread mixes).

Recently I visited The Firs, near Royal Wootton Bassett, another of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's nature reserves. In this secluded 11.47 hectares of woodland Richard and I enjoyed a half-hour circular stroll. We could here lots of birdsong and saw a variety of fungi, mosses, lichens and ferns growing among the dead wood and trees, although it was rather wet underfoot.

By Denise Plummer