WHAT a peculiar week it has been, some cloudy, damp days but with a very warm sunny day midweek.

The total rainfall only amounted to 11.5 mm. Richard and I spent a few days as horse stewards at a championship horse show near Grantham, spending some of each evening searching for a weather forecast for the days ahead.

On the first day, which was the Wednesday, it was extremely hot. The second day cloudy and damp, the third day sunny and cloudy with a chilly breeze cloudy, finishing on the last cloudy day with a violent thunderstorm at 4 pm.

This was accompanied by a deluge of rain which fell for the best part of an hour. When we arrived home our rain gauge had collected a mere 0.25 mm.

Recently on Manor Farm Ian and Nathan have put up the individual calf pens, used to house our new heifer calves for the first five or six weeks after they are born.

This enables us to make sure each calf is drinking its milk, monitor how much weaner food it is eating and make sure that we spot any signs of illness at an early stage.

The first calves to be born were both heifers, which is good, rearing all these as replacements for our dairy herd. They will come into the milking herd when they are two years old, having given birth to their first calf.

Since these two calves were born quite a few more cows have calved, giving us six heifers and some bull calves , which Kevin will buy and rear on for beef.

A few weeks before the cows are due to calve they are brought into a barn where they are given a diet with extra nutrients and can easily be checked every four hours through the day and night .

Regarding our arable ground, ground able to be ploughed and grow crops, Nathan and James have been spreading manure which had been stored in heaps during the winter months.

Cultivating the manured fields has also been an ongoing task, preparing the ground for sowing in the autumn

On Stowell farm , Kevin has been unable to harvest his winter wheat , as the grain has never been quite dry enough . Hopefully he will soon be able to employ the combine harvester once more.

Just over a week ago I visited Langford Lakes, one of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's nature reserves. It is situated in the Wylye Valley, between Salisbury and Warminster.

There are four lakes on the reserve, formed following gravel excavation during the 1960s and 70s. The reserve began life as a commercial fishery but now provides a stopping off point and habitat for about 150 bird species with several bird hides overlooking the lakes.

While on the site the trustees were taken on a guided walk around the beautiful lakes. We saw many different species of birds , including sandpipers, swans, Canada geese, Lapwings and we even spotted a peregrine falcon.

Along the banks of the lakes were many colourful dragon and damsel flies.

We were also fortunate to come across the caterpillar of an eyed hawkmoth. It was green in colour with whitish stripes along its sides and a bluish coloured spike at the rear. It was the largest caterpillar I have seen, growing to about 8 cm in length. The adult moth, with a wingspan from 7 to 8 cm is well camouflaged but if threatened the moth lifts its front wings to reveal a pair of blue and black 'eyes' on a pinkish background, which frightens predators giving it time to escape.

The eyed hawkmoth overwinters as a shiny black/brown pupa.

Langford Lakes is definitely a place to visit. It has a calm atmosphere and a circular walkway which is easily accessible for spotting some great flora and fauna.