IN a strange way the restrictions we have in place at the entrance to the yard mirror those we had in the 2001 epidemic of foot and mouth disease.

Then we had disinfectant dips so that all vehicles entering had their tyres cleansed and I can vividly recall John spraying my car when I had been in infected areas of the country on family visits.

Given half the chance he would have sprayed me too, but luckily accepted my routine of an immediate shower and change of clothing.

I can’t recall all the details but I do recollect that we had allocated and timed journeys to the abattoir, and so memories have flooded back with recent journeys to take some of last year's lambs to be butchered.

Once more there are timed slots for arrival and although there is always the emphasis on power washing and disinfecting the trailer that stock has been transported in, now there are once more disinfectant sprays at our gate for hand cleansing and the routine again of changing immediately out of possibly contaminated clothing.

But these grim reminders are alleviated by the surging of life that is going on around us. Our swallows have returned and started nesting again.

The cuckoo is once more calling in the trees in the paddock and today I solved the mystery of why the coco fibre lining I had used in my wall manger planters was being shredded at the edges. Blue tits have decided it is the perfect material to line the bird boxes.

Sadly a scattering of broken egg shells in the borders at the front of our house indicate that a duck and a sneaky pheasant chose a less secure site to create a nest. Speculative crows watching from nearby trees must have spotted the activity in among the leaves and flown down to feast on the eggs.

Meanwhile, John has been feverishly making nuc boxes, essentially mini hives with frames, that can be transferred into a full size hive once the bees have started building and utilising the comb.

I must end on a sad note though. The little gosling we rehomed when it had either been rejected or lost by its parents has died. We tried valiantly to persuade another broody hen that she had miraculously bred a gosling. She was having none of it.

Back under its heat lamp and snuggled once more up to its soft toy, the gosling passed away in the night. RIP little one. We tried.