Sunny days, but in the breeze there’s a freshness in the air and the rustling leaves are signs that the vibrant autumn colours will soon be here. My ewes are rushing to check under the oak trees for fallen acorns. The evenings are drawing in fast. The seasons continue despite the demonstrations going on around the world today, ‘Global climate strike day’. Children skipping school, staging ‘die in’s’ – claiming that they are grieving for their future. Dramatic effect. Not sure how helpful this is or whether world leaders will take action. Climate change is not new. That said, I’m in favour of practical steps which mitigate the detrimental effects of human habitation. It needs to be a world wide effort.
No time for striking on our farm. I decided to set up the bird scarer in the shed because we had a load of doves trying to get at our corn. It was on a time switch and had the desired effect of clearing out the birds. Anyway I felt smug that my plan worked. Our next job, was clearing out gutters. Other half was in the tractor operating the height of the platform and I was high in the sky, absorbed in shifting dirt from the gutter. So when there was the most almighty bang, I leapt out of my skin, nearly falling off the platform. Thank goodness I wasn’t perched up a ladder. How stupid am I? I really must try not to be so forgetful.
The wedding celebrations were fun. No disasters, the wedding cake construction survived, despite having a strong resemblance to the leaning tower of Pisa. The flower arrangements had cheese incorporated into them. Our lambs roasted whole over ten hours, tasted sensational. Zero left over, but we did over cater on the salad. The cheese gifted by Trethowan and Neal’s Yard Dairy was delicious. Try eating cheese on ginger biscuits, great taste combination. Before the speeches took place we followed a Ukrainian tradition toasting with Vodka taken straight from the freezer. This seems like a good shout as it created a very merry atmosphere.
Talking of high spirits, Tilley my spaniel who is usually a bit of a grump, enjoyed the band’s rock and roll music, prancing around the dance floor and greeting everyone. Maybe it’s part of her get fit for the shooting season plan. Later in the evening she busied herself by looking for mice under every log that guests were sitting on, while warming themselves around the fire. Luckily they had no clue what her game was. Contrastingly her daughter Floss took one look and tail between her legs bolted for cover in the house.
Post wedding enthusiasm for clearing up was given a boost, when on returning empty beer barrels to Harvey’s, I had the unexpected pleasure of being given cash, return for a deposit. (Not made by me!) Bottles and cans recycled, bunting, and lights down and the grain has been transferred back to its rightful place.
The stubble turnips are growing but need the rain which forecasters promise. We’ve had to spray for flea beetle. I’ve had a couple of trips into market with finished lamb, but prices are nothing to get excited about. The talk in market is mostly regarding theories on ‘Brexit’ and ‘what the affects will be’. Despite the mix of differing views, everyone is in agreement that they are keen to move on. Supermarket shelves reveal New Zealand lamb for sale, its disappointing. Low prices for our produce gives a feeling of not being valued for what we do.
We’ve also had a couple of loads of finished cattle go to Anglo Beef Processors. It’s always a relief to get them safely onto the lorry. Getting extra for the Angus registered sire, makes a difference on returns. We also had a couple of cull cows booked to go. But typically one managed to go lame the day before, so we had to hold her back. Two days later she was right as rain again. Was that coincidence or did she plan it?
Another cow, when pregnant, developed a slight prolapse, at first this disappeared when she got up. It gradually got worse and sorting it was tedious. We dreaded her calving, but she surprised us by having a large calf with no problem. She was making a good job of rearing her calf, so it seemed harsh to cull her. On a sunny day a couple of months later she went missing. I found her laying in the lee of the hedge pushing with all her might. The prolapse had returned big time. I called in the menfolk. It looked to be an impossible task, but we wanted to avoid an out of hours vet bill. Nigel’s description was ‘it’s a bit like the enormous turnip in reverse!’ The cow obligingly stood up with her hindquarters facing up the bank. The combination of gravity, much effort and sheer determination we miraculously managed to rectify the situation and were rewarded by a shower, not water! I popped a couple of stitches in, ensuring it didn’t happen again. She’s perfectly happy now, but once the calf is weaned she’s got a one way ticket on a lorry.
We’ve had a bonus set of twin calves born. It’s lovely to see the bonding that takes place between mother and offspring. I love watching the swish of the tail as the calves suckle, and the cow lovingly lick them. When the calves try out their manoeuvring skills, running in the field with their tails held high its a great sight. It’s difficult to put into words the pleasure that can be derived from observing nature in action on a daily basis. Although it doesn’t pay the bills, it makes all the hard work seem worthwhile. What’s wrong with me? Sentimental as well as forgetful. Could it be the Vodka?