Sunday ended on a real high as our first calf of the autumn was born! Although the birthing photos may seem a little disturbing to some, the mother was unrestrained, entirely calm and really only needing a little bit of help because of her age and arthritic condition.
A few days later, another calf arrived. We’re pleased to report both mums and babies are doing brilliantly and suckling well.
The lambs chosen for their weight and condition went into the organic market on Thursday evening – they were to have been collected mid-morning but it was nearer 9 in the evening when a far too large 6 wheeler lorry turned up and made its way gingerly to the barn. These lorry drivers are exceptionally skilled both in terms of manoeuvring and managing their vehicles as well as loading the animals.
Otherwise the week as far as Tim has been concerned was essentially given over to pulling ragwort. Field 4 which should have given us a spring oats crop has instead produced a forest of thistles, clover (good of course) and ragwort where none had been seen in the nine years we have been farming. In truth the field is a disaster and urgent action will be needed again in the spring.
Most of the eighteen month old cut timber is now in the yard but there is still one more trailer load to bring out.
Joaquin has spent most of his time gardening but has also enjoyed being involved with Tim on stock activities.
The change in the weather means autumn is nearly here, the damsons in the hedgerows will need to be picked next weekend and our apples soon after. The damsons Anne will use to make juice and cheese while the apples will go to Pershore to give us bottled juice.
Today, aside from calving, we sat down to work out our lambing program for next year. We are hoping to lamb some 230 ewes in the spring of which nearly one hundred will be ‘first timers’. These we will want to be able to support very closely so they will go to the tup first while the older ewes will be held back by around 3 weeks. We will borrow an ‘easy care’ ram for the ewe lambs while our newly bought pedigree ‘yearlings’ will go to one of our two registered pedigree Lleyns.
One thing is certain, even though ditches and ponds are carrying far less water than normal we do have plenty of grass on our pastures – a silver lining if you like to compensate for our failed oats crop!